HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Carson-Newman, one of the top teams in the region, takes to the road on Saturday for a 2 p.m. tip-off against cellar-dwelling Coker in a South Atlantic Conference tussle as the Lady Eagles look to get back to .500 in league action.
At 1-2 in SAC play, Carson-Newman (7-3, 1-2) is off to its worst start in conference play since opening the 2012-13 campaign, Mincey's second season, 1-2 before wrapping up that year with a 9-9 mark. The program has not been 1-3 since 2010-11 when the year ignited 1-4 in Dean Walsh's last year at the helm.
Fortunately for C-N, the team gets to take on a school where the all-time series is heavily slanted in its favor with the Lady Eagles holding a 9-2 lead including wins in each of the last six by an average of 30 points per game. Five of those outings have seen a margin of at least 24 points with the lone outlier coming on Feb. 27, 2016 when the Lady Eagles downed Coker (1-9, 0-2) 76-69.
Mincey's unit shredded the Coker defense putting up 114 and 102 points between the two meetings. In the game in Hartsville, C-N racked up a triple-digit scoring effort for the second-straight road game for the first time in school history.
The beginning to the Jan. 27 meeting was quite ominous as the Lady Eagles started the game 3-for-22 from the floor and it was a 10-10 game with 1:12 to go in the first quarter. C-N finished the half 15-for-25 from the field outscoring its foe 39-17 to coast to a 102-63 win.
After seven players finished in double figures in the first meeting, six players reached that mark in the second affair. Briana Smith (Nashville, Tenn.) led all players with 23 points adding six rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Since joining the SAC for the 2013-14 season, the Cobras have not finished higher than eighth in the league standings going a combined 35-73 in conference action over that span.
Sledding has been tough inside of the friendly confines as Coker has lost nine consecutive games at the DeLoach Center since a 60-49 triumph over Newberry on Jan. 3. It is the sixth-longest active skid in Division II.
The only victory for coach Shannon Johnson's team came on Nov. 12 taking down Erskine 77-63. The Cobras have lost six in-a-row since that win, good for the 11th-longest drought in the country. Coker has lost by an average of eight points per game this year with five of those decided by double figures. Three outings have been finished with five-point differentials or less including a two-point overtime loss at Fayetteville State.
Efficiency is not a strong suit for Johnson's squad as the team is ninth in the league in field-goal percentage, third-worst in the nation in three-point percentage at 20 and ninth in the SAC in free-throw percentage. Two of the better shooting nights of the season have come over their last two games making 45 percent from the field.
It doesn't get much better at the other end of the floor where the Cobras are committing over 23 fouls per game, to rank 288th out of 301 teams in the nation. The only areas where the team ranks in the top 100 nationally are total rebounding categories.
Erin Houser is the team's leading scorer racking up just under 14 points per game to rank 16th in the league. It has been feast or famine for the forward as she has three 20-point efforts and five single-digit days.
The game will air on the Eagle Sports Network's flagship station 106.3 (WPFT-FM) and online at cneagles.com/live starting at 1:45 p.m. with "The AEC Countdown to Tip-Off".
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