INDIANAPOLIS – For the ninth time in school history Carson-Newman is dancing as the NCAA released the Division II Women's Basketball Championships bracket Sunday evening. The Lady Eagles are the No. 4 seed set to tangle with fifth-seeded Lander Friday evening at 7:30 p.m.
After winning the Southeast Region in 2018 and going to the Elite Eight, the Lady Eagles are in the tournament for a second-straight season for the second time in program history joining the 2008-09 and 2009-10 teams. It is the third time in the tenure of coach Mike Mincey that the Lady Eagles are in the NCAA Tournament.
"It's been an interesting year with roster change," Mincey said. "I think to some degree we expected to be in the NCAA Tournament. We were hoping we were good enough to be able to host. Obviously that's not in the cards. Anytime you can make the NCAA Tournament it's very difficult to do when you are talking about 30-something teams going for eight spots. When you can do that back-to-back years which hadn't been done in a while. There are a few teams in our region that seem to get there every year. That's what we are striving to do. We didn't want to be a one-hit wonder."
Anderson, the top seed in the region, is the top seed and will host the tournament with quarterfinal games on Friday, the semifinals on Saturday with the championship tilt Monday evening.
In 14 postseason games since joining Division II, Carson-Newman is 6-8 having won the first round contest in 2005, 2010 and 2018. Three of the wins came last season and two came in 2005 when it was members of the South Atlantic Region losing the final to Shaw 67-53.
A school from the South Atlantic Conference has advanced to the Elite Eight on six occasions with Wingate going in 1995, 1996 and 2008. Mars Hill advanced to the national quarterfinals in 2002 and Tusculum made a trip in 2010. No program has won a game in the Elite Eight in those six outings.
With a 73-71 win over Tusculum on Feb. 20, Mincey's club secured a third-consecutive 20-win campaign. It is a feat that the program had 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 74-20 record and a 49-13 mark in league play.
"It's super exciting especially since it's my senior year," senior guard Haris Price said. "Us not advancing to Furman [for the SAC semifinals] sparked a fire in us so I think we are all excited to get there and play. It's just that time of year where you can't take any possessions off and I think watching film today that's something that we are regretting are the possessions we did take off."
Lander is Carson-Newman's opponent for the third time as the teams met in the Southeast Region semifinals a season ago with the Lady Eagles winning 96-85 behind 31 points and 10 rebounds from Kayla Marosites (Elizabethton, Tenn.). She went 12-for-16 from the field and six of seven from long range.
The other meeting came back on March 13, 2010 when the Bearcats handed the Lady Eagles their worst loss in tournament history, 94-67 in the region semifinal, and in the series history.
It should be a high octane scoring effort with the Bearcats sitting in seventh in the country with 82.8 points per game and C-N hanging out in eighth at 81.7 points per outing.
Since the Southeast Region came into existence, the top seed has won five of the 10 region championships including four of the last six. It has been boom or bust over that six-year stretch as the top seed has lost in the opening round in the two years that the No. 1 did not advance as Augusta and Armstrong State each went to the title game with each club losing to the No. 7 seed.
Overall in the 10 years of the Southeast Regional, seven seeds have won three titles, with third-seeded Clayton State in 2009 and fourth-seeded Lander in 2012 taking home the other two. Five titles have been won by the Peach Belt, three by Conference Carolinas and two by the SAC.
Courtesy of a 27-game winning streak, Anderson is the top seed getting a chance to host Barton in the opening round contest.
Second-seeded North Georgia, the Peach Belt regular-season and tournament winners, plays Conference Carolinas Tournament winner Emmanuel. Third-seeded Wingate faces sixth-seeded Clayton State.
The winner of the Southeast advances to the National Quarterfinals in Columbus, Ohio at Alumni Hall from March 26-29.
Friday, March 15, 2019 (Anderson, S.C.)
12 p.m. - #3 Wingate vs. #6 Clayton State
2:30 p.m. #2 North Georgia vs. #7 Emmanuel
5 p.m. #1 Anderson v. #8 Barton
7:30 p.m. - #4 Carson-Newman v. #5 Lander
Saturday, March 16, 2019 (Anderson, S.C.)
5 p.m. - WU-CSU winner vs. UNG-Emmanuel winner
7:30 p.m. - AU-Barton winner vs. C-N-Lander winner
Monday, March 18, 2019 (Anderson, S.C.)
7 p.m. - Southeast Region Championship Game
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