JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Playing three tough road affairs in less than a week, 11th-ranked Carson-Newman continues South Atlantic Conference play Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. against Wingate, one of the three teams that beat the Lady Eagles a year ago.
"They are very tough, defensive minded, going to pound it inside and rebound well," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "All of those things that Wingate is known for. They return four starters and have experience as well. They have guards that can score – two in double figures. Depending on what we do with our lineup it's going to be a challenge to guard them on the block more like it was against North Georgia. We have to get people in that paint to take away easy buckets because they can seal and post up very well."
Saturday marks the 75th all-time meeting between Carson-Newman (6-1, 1-0) and Wingate (5-2, 1-0) as the Bulldogs lead 41-33 overall but the Lady Eagles have won the last two, a winner-take-all regular season finale and the 2018 SAC Tournament final. A triumph would mark the first three-game winning streak for C-N since rattling off six in-a-row from 2009 to 2011.
Last year's affair in the Tar Heel State saw C-N enter the game 16-0 and hold a 12-point lead with 9:48 to go in the game. Wingate outscored C-N 33-10 over the final 10 minutes of action making eight of its first 10 points and going 11-for-16 overall and a flawless 9-for-9 at the line to seal a 68-54 win. It was by far the lowest scoring output of the season with the next closest coming in the postseason of 70 against Anderson and Union.
None of the four all-conference picks scored in double figures in each of the three games in 2017-18 but Haris Price (Gatlinburg, Tenn.) and Mika Wester (Newport, Tenn.) went off in the last two games of the year. Price posted 28 and 24 points respectively going 19-for-21 from the charity stripe. Wester notched 21 and 27 over the final two meetings going 18-for-19 from the field and 4-for-5 from long range. Kayla Marosites (Elizabethton, Tenn.) ripped down a total of 35 rebounds Briana Smith (Nashville, Tenn.) lived at the line going 16-for-21.
The Bulldogs have won five straight games against C-N inside of Cuddy Arena since the Lady Eagles won 49-46 on Feb. 2, 2013. Mincey's unit led for the final 8:47 of the game with Courdne Miles and Takyah Gilmore leading the team with 10 points each.
The Bulldogs were one-game behind the Eagles in the table and was second in the region a year ago but will have to replace SAC Co-Player of the Year Marta Miscenko. Ann Hancock does return a pair of preseason first-team All-SAC performers in Caroline Averette and Danasia Witherspoon.
After going undefeated at home in 2017-18, the Bulldogs opened the building with a 61-54 loss to Francis Marion on Nov. 13. Despite that loss, Hancock's club has won 18 consecutive home games against SAC foes since Anderson left with a 62-61victory on Jan. 14, 2017. In fact each of its last four losses to SAC schools at home have come by one possession since Newberry won 67-50 on Dec. 8, 2015.
Wingate has won four straight games since dropping back-to-back outings against Clayton State and Francis Marion. The team has posted a shooting percentage of at least 45 in each of those contests including 50-plus in the last two.
Controlling the boards has been a big strength posting a plus-13 rebound margin on the season, good for 10th in the country. Wingate has recorded at least 10 offensive rebounds in all but one game and has won the battle on the glass in every matchup in 2018.
Each club has taken 153 foul shots this season, tied for the conference's lead in the category. It fits in with the style of play for Wingate as the team is making less than three triples per game this year, the seventh-fewest in the nation.
Averette is one of three players registering at least 10 points per game this year with a team-high 14.3 points per game making 50 percent of her shots and 92 percent at the line. She has scored in double figures in 10 straight games dating back to last season. A year ago, the guard averaged 19.7 points per game making 50 percent of her shots in outings against C-N including a 23-point effort, 18 of which came in the fourth quarter, at Cuddy Arena on Jan. 13.
Air time is 1:45 p.m. with "The AEC Countdown to Tip-Off" on 106.3 (WPFT-FM) and cneagles.com/live as the Eagle Sports Network provides the audio coverage.
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