JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – With a chance to gain a two-game lead for third place in the South Atlantic Conference standings and collect its 20th win of the season, Carson-Newman hosts Tusculum Wednesday night at Holt Fieldhouse for a 6 p.m. tip-off.
With a win on Wednesday night, coach Mike Mincey's club would secure a third-consecutive 20-win campaign. It is a feat that the program has not accomplished since a string of seven in-a-row from 1983-84 through 1989-90, a sequence of 29 years. Over the last three campaigns, Mincey has led his group to a 71-19 record and a 46-13 mark in league play.
The Lady Eagles have won three straight outings at Holt Fieldhouse having won five of the last seven times inside of the friendly confines. The two losses in that span have come by a combined four points. C-N is averaging 96 points per game over the last three home games winning by double figures in each.
The second month of 2019 has been favorable for Carson-Newman (19-6, 12-5) from a statistical standpoint with season highs for a month in three-point percentage (36.7), rebounds per game (45.8), assists per game (19.4) and turnovers per game (11.6).
For the 73rd time on the hardwood, Tusculum (18-6, 10-6) will be C-N's foe as the Lady Eagles have a commanding 55-17 lead in the all-time series having won each of the last five and 10 of the last 11. The lone triumph for the Pioneers in that stretch came on Feb. 17, 2016 at Holt Fieldhouse, 64-55.
Carson-Newman's average margin of victory during the five-game spurt has been 14 points with four being by double figures with the lone exception coming on Jan. 16 at Pioneer Arena when Mincey's crew left Greeneville with a 75-70 win. In fact over the last 10 wins for the Lady Eagles, eight have been by at least 10 points with a nine-point, 88-79, differential on Nov. 19, 2014 at Tusculum being the other outlier.
The first affair featured 16 lead changes and seven ties as the Pioneers captured a 53-51 lead 30 seconds into the fourth quarter only to see C-N rattle off eight unanswered points to go ahead by six. Tusculum pulled within a single possession twice down the stretch but the Lady Eagles had the answer each time.
Overall on the night, C-N went 12-for-26 from long range while making just 12 of 44 attempts inside the arc with Kayla Marosites (Elizabethton, Tenn.) leading the way with 22 points and 13 rebounds. She is now averaging 16 rebounds with 20 offensive boards through three contests against the Pioneers.
The Pioneers enter Wednesday's outing as the second-hottest team in the SAC having won five-straight games since losing 55-46 at home to Anderson, winners of 21 in-a-row. The squad is winning by an average of 26 points per game with all but one game being by double digits.
Coach Devan Carter's group ranks in the top five in the country in four categories. The team is third in three-point defense (25.2), fourth in turnovers forced (24.5), fourth in total steals (323) and fifth in steals per game (14.0).
Tusculum has failed to record double-digit steals three times this year losing two of those games including the first matchup with the Lady Eagles when it had nine. Mia Long is the nation's leader in steals with 92 on the season as she has 15 games with at least four pilfers.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Pioneers are ninth in the league in rebounding (37.7) and rebound margin (minus-4). As a team, the club shoots foul shots at a 62 percent clip to tally the 17th-lowest margin in the country.
Long is the team's leader in scoring ranking 15th in the league but is one of four players scoring at least 10 per night on the season. Despite attempting the second-most foul shots in the SAC, she is shooting 52 percent at the line.
The Eagle Sports Network has the call for Wednesday's Tennessee tussle with coverage starting at 5:45 p.m. with "The AEC Countdown to Tip-Off" on 106.3 WPFT-FM with video and audio streams available on cneagles.com/live.
- CN -