JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – One of the hottest teams in the country walks into Holt Fieldhouse Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. as league-leading and 24th-ranked Anderson visits Carson-Newman for a heavyweight South Atlantic Conference bout.
"We have to continue to play better defense that what we have played," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "We are a really good scoring team and I think it will be an exciting matchup with the league leader right now in Anderson. They have won 10 in-a-row. They have a lot of firepower as well but they just don't play as fast typically. It's going to be a battle. This league is really setting up for a good run in January and February with a lot of parity between all of us so it's going to be some exciting games going forward."
Wednesday evening's affair is the 22nd all-time meeting for the two programs with Carson-Newman (11-3, 4-2) holding a 13-8 edge thanks to winning six of the last seven since the start of 2016. The Lady Eagles have won three straight in the series for the third time (2011-12 and 2016-17) looking to establish a new long over the Trojans.
Anderson (12-2, 6-0) is ranked for the third time in a contest against C-N with the Lady Eagles winning each of the first two tries. The Trojans were 11th on Jan. 21, 2016 when Mincey's unit won 54-51 on the road before taking an 81-79 overtime triumph at home on Feb. 10, 2016 at home against No. 17 Anderson.
In Mincey's eight years, the squad is 10-5 against nationally-ranked competition including a 13-point win at No. 14 North Georgia on Nov. 17 of this season. The Lady Eagles are 6-0 at Holt Fieldhouse against ranked club in his tenure and have won seven straight overall since a 67-64 loss to fifth-ranked Glenville State on Jan. 3, 2004. C-N is 5-1 over the last two years against ranked clubs.
Last season, the Orange and Blue won by 16 on the road and 38 at home, the largest spread in the history of the series before picking up a 70-62 win in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on March 9. C-N led by 13 at halftime but the Trojans were plus-seven in the third quarter to get back in the game.
The Lady Eagles trailed by one with 2:45 to go but scored the final nine points of the game to advance in championship play to win their first NCAA game since 2010. Katie Stubblefield led the charge with a season-high 15 points and five boards.
Anderson needed to replace the SAC's Defensive Player of the Year in Alexis Dillard after finishing third in the league a year ago. Preseason second-team pick Alexy Mollenhauer leads the returning group.
The Trojans enter Wednesday's festivities on a 10-game winning streak, the longest in the region doubling up the five-game marks of Carson-Newman and Tusculum. Eleven teams have won more consecutive contests as Jefferson's 14-game string is the current longest.
Coach Jonathon Barbaree's squad dropped its season opener in the final seconds by one at Clayton State and most recently at Claflin on Nov. 17, 77-71. Six of the 10 games during the streak have been by double figures while last week they needed overtime to take down Wingate, 67-65, on the road.
Staying with recent tradition, Anderson is one of the best defensive clubs in the nation ranking second in rebounds per game (47.4), 11th in field-goal percentage defense (34.3) and 17th in fouls per game (14.7). They only force 13 turnovers per game, the 17th-fewest in America.
At the other end of the floor, Anderson leads the league in triples made with 106 on the season as Mollenhauer has 36 to rank second in the league while shooting a league-best 40 percent from deep.
Mollenhauer teams with Ace Easter as the only players posting double digits on a nightly basis with 18 and 17 apiece as two of the top five scorers the SAC has to offer. The former has eight double-doubles, one behind Kayla Marosites (Elizabethton, Tenn.) for the league lead.
The action will air on the Eagle Sports Network's flagship station 106.3 (WPFT-FM) and online with video and audio streams for free by visiting cneagles.com/live.
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