SALISBURY, N.C. – Riding its longest winning streak in the history of the series, Carson-Newman hits the road Saturday at 2 p.m. to take on South Atlantic Conference opponent Catawba trying to put a loss to 18th-ranked Anderson in the rear-view mirror.
"We have to work on staying in the top four in our league," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "We need to get that quarterfinal game at home. If you go back to Furman you probably have to see [Anderson] again if you want to have the chance of winning another tournament title. We have to regroup and head over to Catawba. We still know that we have a good basketball team. We have four regular season games left and look forward to seeing our team go compete again at Catawba on Saturday."
With two road games remaining on the docket, Carson-Newman (18-6, 11-5) can match the highest road win total under Mincey with 11 on the season while joining the 2009-10 club for the most road victories this decade and produce the second-highest winning percentage.
Rebounding continues to be the biggest indicator of success for this year's group. The Lady Eagles are 6-5 in contests where the opponent snatches down more boards versus 12-1 when winning the battle on the glass. There have been five occasions where the team has been minus-10 or worse but outscored its opponent in second-chance points twice in that span.
In the 68th all-time meeting with Catawba (12-10, 7-8), Mincey's squad looks to continue its five-game winning, the longest for the school in the history of the series. The Indians lead 37-30 and are looking to avoid a season sweep for the second-straight year. C-N is 10-22 at Goodman Gym but has won two consecutive for the second time in the series having never won three in-a-row.
During the five-game string, the Lady Eagles have scored at least 80 points in each game winning the last three by an average of 24 after taking the first two by four points apiece.
When the two clubs squared off at Holt Fieldhouse on Jan. 5, Haris Price (Gatlinburg, Tenn.) shredded the Indians for 39 points going 16-for-20 from the field leading the team's efficient effort where it shot a season-high 55 percent. C-N shot at least 50 percent in each of the four quarters racking up 48 points in the paint.
Entering Saturday's affair, Catawba finds itself in a three-way tie for sixth in the league standings with Newberry and Lenoir-Rhyne. Each of those teams have five games remaining but the Indians have to play three of the top four teams and host the Bears.
Coach Terrence Baxter's group has won back-to-back games by 21 at Mars Hill and 19 at Coker. Despite being 7-3 at home on the year, Catawba has lost two straight and three of its last four contests inside of Goodman Gym. Unpacking the numbers, there is not a huge uptick, just a few percentage points in shooting home versus road.
Six of the 10 losses this season have come by double figures but the Indians have not seen a losing decision of fewer than eight points since the second game of the season, an 86-80 loss to Erskine on Nov. 10.
Only winless Mars Hill is a worse shooting team than Catawba as the team is converting 37.6 percent of its attempts from the field this season. It has 16 games this year shooting below 40 percent with a 6-2 record when posting a clip of better than 40 with losses at Carson-Newman and in overtime at Tusculum.
Defensively, Tusculum is the other unit forcing more turnovers per game than Catawba's 21. However, no team yields a higher three-point percentage than its 35 with teams shooting 41 from the field overall, good for eighth in the SAC.
Two players are scoring in double figures on a nightly basis led by Taisha DeShazo's 13.5 points per game. She has seven single-digit games on the year with four of those coming in the last eight. In the first meeting, she was limited to 3-for-13 shooting including two of nine from deep and nine points over 34 minutes.
Elizabeth Webb was the team's leader in scoring on Jan. 5 as she scored a season-high 19 points. It is one of the five double-digit scoring efforts on the year for Webb but she has not had one since, a streak of 10 contests.
The Eagle Sports Network has the broadcast of the contest locally on 106.3 WPFT-FM with an audio stream available for free on cneagles.com/live starting 15 minutes before tip-off with "The AEC Countdown to Tip-Off".
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