JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – After a week off, 25th-ranked Carson-Newman returns to action Saturday at 2 p.m. inside of Holt Fieldhouse looking to topple South Atlantic Conference foe Wingate at home for a second straight season.
"Obviously, they beat us down there and you never want to get swept in the same year from a conference foe," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "You can put too much importance on it but I think our guys know and I think Wingate knows as well. This is a really important game when you look at conference seeding."
Mincey's crew is back in the top 25 of the D2SIDA poll marking the 50th week in school history that the program has been ranked. In his eight-year tenure, the Lady Eagles are 35-7 as a ranked team but three of those losses have come this season. The team was last ranked in the Dec. 4 rendition.
C-N has shot less than 40 percent in each of its last three games. To find the last time the team had a streak of that length you have to go back to Feb. 10-20, 2016 when the program dropped three of four contests.
Saturday afternoon is the 76th all-time meeting between the two programs with Wingate (13-4, 8-2) leading Carson-Newman (14-4, 7-3) 42-33 in the series and holding a 17-16 edge in games played at Mossy Creek.
The Lady Eagles played without two of their starters, Haris Price (Gatlinburg, Tenn.) and Addison Byrd (Nashville, Tenn.), falling 67-58 after tying the game at 50 with 5:50 to play. C-N shot 26 percent in the game, its worst shooting effort since Jan. 29, 2014.
The Bulldogs controlled the glass hauling in 55 rebounds, 21 on the offensive end leading to 22 second-chance points. Of those caroms, 19 came in the first and fourth quarters and 20 of the points came during those periods.
Wingate shot just 34 percent from the field as Averette led her club with 16 points, nine of which came in the fourth. Teliyah Jeter posted a double-double with 12 points and 15 boards going 5-for-6 from the floor.
Coach Ann Hancock's club has won five consecutive games since a 67-65 overtime loss to Anderson on Jan. 2. The Bulldogs have won three straight on the road since falling in the Volunteer State, 75-67, at Lincoln Memorial on Dec. 15.
During the winning streak, the Bulldogs have failed to shoot better than 40 percent three times but have made 21 triples producing their two best percentage nights from deep in that stretch.
Despite averaging nearly identical point totals, Wingate is shooting the ball at a 46 percent clip on the road versus a 40 percent mark inside of Cuddy Arena. With 13 assists per game on the road, it is lower than the 18 produced at home.
Turnovers have been an issue as the unit is giving the ball away 19 times per night to rank ninth in the league and 239th in the nation. There have been eight games with at least 20 giveaways but the Bulldogs are 7-1 in those affairs.
Wingate shoots the fewest three-pointers in the SAC this season making the 11th-fewest of any team in America at 3.5 per game. There have been two occasions with a season-high seven and no games of at least 20 attempts in a game on the year but they are shooting 40 percent from long range this month.
Where the team excels is on the glass sporting the second-best rebounding margin of any team at the Division II level this year at plus-13. In seven of the last eight games, the Bulldogs have hauled in at least 40 boards doing so in 13 of the 17 games.
The Bulldogs also produced the league's best scoring defense at 57 points per game this season, good for 23rd in the nation. Only five teams have scored at least 65 in a game on the year and only two have racked up at least 70 as Lincoln Memorial scored 75 in its win last month. Foes are shooting 35 percent against the stingy defense good for 16th nationally.
Averette leads her team in scoring during her senior season posting 15.6 points per game this season, good for sixth in the conference. She has scored in double figures in all but one game on the year while shooting better than 50 percent nine times. Averette leads the league in free-throw shooting at 90 percent, a figure that is 10th in the country.
Tune into the broadcast on the Eagle Sports Network starting at 1:45 for "The Appalachian Electric Cooperative Countdown to Tip-Off" on 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) with audio and video streams available on cneagles.com/live free of charge.
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