Scorching first half, late run seals C-N’s win over LMU

Scorching first half, late run seals C-N’s win over LMU

VIDEO: Game Highlights

VIDEO: Mike Mincey Interview

VIDEO: Sydney Pearce Interview

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – For the first time in seven seasons Carson-Newman secured a season sweep of Lincoln Memorial behind 64 percent shooting in the first half and a 7-0 fourth-quarter run to win 81-71 Wednesday evening at Holt Fieldhouse to move into third place in the South Atlantic Conference standings.

"We needed this victory," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "It would have been back-to-back at home which hadn't been done in a long time. I thought the kids did a really good job in the first half. The shot selection was a lot better. We worked it inside and got kick outs. We shot really well in that first half.

"I told them a 16-point lead can be gone in a heartbeat. We came down the first few possessions and turned it over. It almost cost us. It gave LMU momentum. The twins can really play – they are really good. Overall, it's a good win. It gets us where we need to be."

Haris Price (Gatlinburg, Tenn.) produced her first-career collegiate double-double with a game-high 19 points, a career-high 10 rebounds, six steals and four assists.

On the night, Carson-Newman (15-5, 8-4) scored its second-best shooting night of the season making 54 percent of its shots from the floor including a 53-percent mark from long range at 10-for-19.

Lincoln Memorial (12-7, 8-4) had won six straight games entering the night and loses for a third-straight effort in the series. The Lady Eagles pick up a regular-season sweep of the 'Splitters for the first time since 2011-12, Mincey's first year at the the helm.

Leading 7-5 in the opening moments, the 'Splitters sandwiched 6-0 bursts around a Carson-Newman 11-0 jaunt making it an 18-17 with 49 seconds left in the opening period. Ashton Wykle (Greeneville, Tenn.) buried a right-elbow jumper and Sydney Pearce (Johnson City, Tenn.) left-handed hook shot made it 22-17 after one stanza.

LMU scored the first five of the second period to tie the game at 22 just under 90 seconds into the quarter. C-N started to feel it making its next nine shots from the floor using a 21-2 spurt, the last 17 of which were unanswered to take a 43-24 lead with 4:17 to play before the half.

The Lady Eagles matched their season high for points in a second quarter with 28 shooting 71 percent from the floor to take a 50-34 advantage into the locker room. Mincey's crew forced 11 turnovers in the second quarter and scored 19 points off of those giveaways as all eight players to enter the game scored.

Coming out of the locker room ice cold, C-N made five of its 14 shot attempts in the third period. LMU took advantage scoring 11 in-a-row to turn a 16-point deficit into a six-point game at 60-54 with under a minute to go in the third. It was an eight-point game at 62-54 going into the fourth.

Spanning the break, the Railsplitters used an 18-4 scoring sequence to pull within a deuce at 64-62 with seven minutes to go. The teams traded buckets and with the score 69-66 with 3:58 to go, C-N scored seven straight capped by a right-point triple from Kayla Marosites (Elizabethton, Tenn.) to secure a winning bulge.

Kayla Marosites finished the game with 17 points and five boards while Pearce finished with a second-straight game piling up 10 points and a career-high five blocks. She becomes the first C-N player with at least five rejections in 104 games and 1,098 days when Kaitlyn Cupples had five against Queens on Jan. 30, 2016.

"Coach Mincey and my teammates have talked about how they need me to score," Pearce said. "We are transitioning to an inside-out game. Our three-point average has been down so we have been working on getting it inside and passing it out.

"Our team plays really hard on defense and sometimes they get ahead of themselves. I am trying to be there to help out because I know how hard they are playing. I'm trying to have their back if they get beat."

Emily Griffith led the visitors with 18 points, five rebounds and five assists while her sister Rachel had 14 points. Lindsay Profitt ended the night with 17 points making all four of her three-point attempts and Cameryn DuBose registered eight points collecting 11 caroms.

The Lady Eagles begin the month of February with a road trip to Hickory looking to avenge a December loss to Lenoir-Rhyne taking on the Bears at 2 p.m.

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