HARROGATE, Tenn. – In its first South Atlantic Conference game of the season, 11th-ranked Carson-Newman led by as many as 24 points and never trailed to take down Lincoln Memorial 91-80 Wednesday evening at Tex Turner Arena.
"I thought we played a pretty good first half, put up 50 on the board," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "They wanted to prove that they are [a high] caliber of basketball team. Instead of trying to uphold a top-five ranking. We are trying to get back there like we had to last year."
The victory for Carson-Newman (6-1, 1-0) snaps a six-game losing streak at Tex Turner Arena since its last win on Jan. 25, 2012. Mincey is now 6-2 in SAC lid-lifters in his tenure and the program is 19-11 since joining the league.
For the second straight game, Kayla Marosites (Elizabethton, Tenn.) and Mika Wester (Newport, Tenn.) each registered a double-double. Marosites went for 22 points and 16 rebounds and Wester notched 20 points and 12 boards as each made all six of their foul shots.
"I know that I hadn't been rebounding as well as I want to," Marosites said. "I've put a lot of emphasis on rebounding and going hard after it. [Strength coach] Thomas [Collins] said that you have to look at the first step which is boxing out. There are times when I watch film and I wasn't boxing out."
Lincoln Memorial (2-3, 0-1) had been 27-4 at home over its last three seasons as the unit drops back-to-back contests against the Lady Eagles since a string of seven straight losses from 2009 to 2013.
After trading the first two buckets of game, the Lady Eagles rattled off a 14-2 run holding LMU without a basket over a five-minute stretch before Sydney Duggins hit a right wing jumper with 3:13 to go initial 10 minutes making it a 16-6 contest. Two foul shots from Briana Smith (Nashville, Tenn.) gave C-N a 26-15 lead after the first.
It was still an 11-point margin at 34-23 with 5:51 to go before the break when the Lady Eagles were able to stretch the margin to a half-high 17 points on a triple from the right point by Haris Price (Gatlinburg, Tenn.) to cap an 8-2 spurt.
A stick back from Kayla Marosites with under two seconds to play made it a 50-36 contest at the half. Marosites finished the half with a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds as one of four players in double figures.
Out of the locker room, the Railsplitters scored the first seven points to cut the deficit to 50-43 with 8:08 to go in the third quarter on a triple by Kai Wesemann. C-N responded reeling off 13 straight points to go on top 65-47 with 4:19 to go in the quarter on Smith three-pointer from the right corner.
"I thought we came out of the break and didn't have the energy," Mincey said. "I thought LMU had all of the energy. They cut it to [seven]. We called timeout and got it back in gear and got some easy buckets. LMU missed some bunnies and we converted on our end."
Overall, the Lady Eagles outscored LMU 27-10 over the final eight minutes of the third quarter as a driving layup on the left block by Price pushed the margin to 77-53 entering the fourth.
To start the final period, the 'Splitters scored nine of the first 11 points as C-N went 1-for-8 from the field to begin the frame. Overall, LMU outscored the Lady Eagles 27-10 over the final 10 minutes.
Five Eagles scored in double figures with Price finishing the night with 19 points and five assists in 38 minutes. Smith and Addison Byrd (Nashville, Tenn.) each finished with 11 points.
A trio of Railsplitters finished the night in double digits with Rachel Griffith leading the unit with 16 points, six assists and six boards. Dasia Maxwell finished with 12 points and nine boards and Emily Griffith had 11 points and six boards.
Mincey's club hits the road again for a Saturday effort against Wingate from Cuddy Arena. The opening tap is slated for 2 p.m. from the Tar Heel State.
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