ROME, GA. – A battle of birds puts a bow around the 2018 calendar year as the Eagles of Carson-Newman, winners of three straight games, take on the Hawks of Shorter Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. in the Peach State.
Senior guard Haris Price (Gatlinburg, Tenn.) takes aim at becoming the 22nd Lady Eagle to reach 1,000 career points as she sits on 996 entering Saturday's affair. The Lee transfer racked up 321 as a freshman and has 1,317 overall for her career. Price will join Briana Smith (Nashville, Tenn.) in the club as Smith tallied her 1,000th point on Dec. 5.
As a club, Carson-Newman (9-3) is the best free-throw shooting team in Division II making 84.0 percent of its attempts at the line. Across all three divisions on the men's and women's side, only LeMoyne's men's team has a better efficiency making 84.1 percent while Oregon's women are also converting exactly 84 percent of its attempts.
Saturday's matinee will mark the sixth all-time meeting with Shorter (1-9) as the two sides met in 2017 for the first time since 2002 with the Lady Eagles winning 109-53 to go on top 3-2 in the all-time series.
Last year's contest saw C-N open the game on a 22-0 scoring run as the Hawks missed their first seven shots from the field and failed to score for almost seven minutes. Mincey's crew made 17 three-pointers, a program record that would be broken weeks later at Mars Hill.
Five players scored in double figures for the Lady Eagles as Kayla Marosites (Elizabethton, Tenn.) led all players with 21 points going 9-for-16 from the field while racking up eight rebounds. The squad took a 58-13 lead into halftime as Shorter scored five points in the first quarter and eight in the second.
There have been two meetings in Rome, Ga. as the series started on Feb. 5, 1979 with an 80-78 Shorter victory. The last venture south for C-N came on Jan. 15, 2000 when the Lady Eagles won 59-55.
Under first-year coach Tyler Roden, the Hawks have continued their struggles riding a six-game losing streak since its only triumph on the season, a 65-64 win over Trevecca Nazerene on Nov. 24. Since a 20-8 season in 2015-16, the program is 16-47 over the last two-plus campaigns but holds an 11-17 mark in home outings.
While Carson-Newman's offense ranks ninth in the nation in points per game, Shorter is the lowest scoring team in the country posting 47 per night failing to crest 50 points in six games this season. The Hawks are shooting 33 percent from the floor, ninth-worst in the nation making better than 37 percent just twice on the year.
Unpacking the offense further, the team is making 25 percent of its shots from long distance and is the worst free-throw shooting team in America shooting it at a 55 percent clip. Take out a game where it shot 75 percent, 18-for-24, against Clayton State and the team has produced a pair of games where it made better than half of its attempts.
There are almost zero areas where the Hawks post solid numbers allowing 65 points per game based on pace of play as foes are shooting 44 percent. Six times a unit has made at least 40 percent with Lee registering the highest total of 59 in an 84-37 win on Dec. 1.
Raven Fair is the team's leading scorer with 13.6 points per game on the season while notching eight rebounds per evening. She has three double-doubles on the season but has failed to score double figures in three of the last five. Tatum Ragsdale is the other double-digit scorer at 11 points per game as she has made 19 of the team's 47 triples on the year.
Tune into the broadcast coverage starting at 1:45 p.m. on 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) in the Lakeway Region and across the map on cneagles.com/live with "The Appalachian Electric Cooperative Countdown to Tip-Off" on the Eagle Sports Network.
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