JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Looking for its first season sweep in seven years, Carson-Newman looks to get a winning streak started Wednesday night at Holt Fieldhouse when Lincoln Memorial arrives to Mossy Creek for a 6 p.m. opening tip in a battle for third place in the South Atlantic Conference standings.
In five losses this season, Carson-Newman (14-5, 7-4) has lost by a total of 21 points with each contest being tied or within a possession in the final five minutes. Three-point shooting has been a part of the problem as the team is shooting 10 percentage points, 25 percent, lower in setbacks than in victories. Take out the 10 made triples against Wingate on Saturday and the team hit 20 in the first four losses.
"A lot of high expectations coming in," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "We aren't playing with the same roster that we started with. A lot of the games especially the games that have gone south where we have to put an "L" down, we aren't playing with a healthy roster or the complete roster. You can call that excuses but it's not excuses it's called reality. We aren't the same team that started the year but we are trying to get there."
One of the troubles with the Lady Eagles on the year has been the bench as the group is posting just 15 points per game off of the bench. It is maximized in losses as that unit it shooting 30 percent (21-for-70) while starters are just shy of 40 percent in those games.
Wednesday night will be the 83rd all-time battle on the hardwood as C-N holds a commanding 49-33 lead including a 30-13 mark inside of Holt Fieldhouse. However, the Lady Eagles have not swept the regular-season series since the 2011-12 season. It was also the last time that the program won three consecutive games over Lincoln Memorial (12-6, 8-3) when it won seven in-a-row from 2009-13.
The two programs met in Harrogate on Nov. 28 as C-N never trailed and led by as many as 24 to win 91-80, its first win at LMU since Jan. 25, 2012 snapping a six-game losing streak on the road in the series.
Kayla Marosites (Elizabethton, Tenn.), 22 points and 16 rebounds, and Mika Wester (Newport, Tenn.), 20 points and 12 boards, each registered a double-double for a second straight contest. C-N went to the line 29 times making 26, good for a 90-percent clip at the stripe.
Of the teams in the region, only Anderson's 15-game winning streak is longer than Lincoln Memorial's six straight victories. The last loss for the team came on Jan. 5 when Newberry won at Tex Turner Arena, 95-88. Outside of a one-point over Tusculum a week ago and six-point triumph at Mars Hill, the Railsplitters have won four games by double figures in that span.
While holding a 7-2 record at home, coach Krystal Evans has seen her team go 4-4 on the road. Despite shooting 42 percent from the field on the road, the team is averaging seven fewer points because it is turning the ball over on average 20 times per game.
The Railsplitters lead the SAC in two categories, total free-throw attempts and offensive rebounds per game. The latter is the 10th-best total in America at 17 per game. They have double-digit totals in every game this season including six games with at least 20. Overall, they are 13th in the country in rebounds per game at 44.1 with a plus-6.4 rebounding margin on the season.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, LMU commits the seventh-most fouls of any team in the country at over 22 per game. There have been 13 games this year with at least 20 but three of the last six contests have seen fewer than 18.
Twins lead the roster in scoring as Emily Griffith is posting 16 points per game and Rachel Griffith is at 14.4 to rank fifth and 10th in the SAC. No one else on the roster is scoring more than 8.7 per outing. Emily is posting 13 points per game on the road compared to 19 at home producing 15 double-digit scoring efforts. Rachel is averaging exactly 14 points per game on the road and at home and had nine-game double figure scoring streak snapped on Saturday.
The game will be broadcast on Mountain Country 106.3 WPFT-FM beginning 15 minutes prior to tip-off with "The Appalachian Electric Cooperative Countdown to Tip-Off" on the Eagle Sports Network and on cneagles.com/live.
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