Lady Eagles hang tough with Lady Vols on Rocky Top

VIDEO: Press Conference

VIDEO: Game Highlights

Box Score (PDF)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Carson-Newman outscored Tennessee in the third quarter and was outscored by just nine points in the final three stanzas in a 70-44 exhibition loss to the Lady Vols Tuesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.

"We only scored 13 points in the first half and something had to change," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "We just went into a more motion, dribble-drive type thing. A lot of times they had their big players on smaller guards. If we had a three, we had to shoot it.

"We are still in our preseason. It's competitive. I was really proud of them. I was proud of them getting back on D and trying to make a play and not just let Tennessee go and get easy layups. I've been on the other side of that where we just gave up on it and let Tennessee get an uncontested layup. We may not be able to win the game but we can win some fans over by our effort."

Playing for the 16th straight season, Mincey's crew yielded the fewest points by far having never allowed less than 90 prior to this evening. The 90-point total came in a 90-57 loss on Nov. 9, 2014. The 26-point differential was the closest meeting since a 74-73 loss on Feb. 28, 1975 when the schools met in the regular season.

Rookie Braelyn Wykle (Greeneville, Tenn.) was the only C-N player in double figures finishing the night with 12 points and five rebounds going 5-for-6 from the field.

"It was exciting," Wykle said. "I was a little nervous but honestly this part makes me more nervous than playing. I've played since I was little so I just told myself that it's the same game so I think that helped."

Against the tallest Tennessee team in the program's history, Sydney Pearce (Johnson City, Tenn.) racked up six rejections on the night as the entire Lady Vols roster produced just seven.

"A lot of times in our league there aren't girls that are as big as me," Pearce said. "It was different going up against them. My teammates did a really good job of guarding the penetrators so it made it a lot easier for me in there."

Carson-Newman turned the ball over just 19 times on the night after averaging nearly 25 in Mincey's eight previous meetings with UT. Only six of those giveaways came after the break.

The Lady Vols led by double figures almost the entirety of the night scoring the first 12 points of the evening over the opening 12 minutes of play. Wykle canned the first bucket of the night for the visitors with 5:16 to go in the first frame.

Tennessee led 26-9 after the first 10 minutes and outrebounded the Lady Eagles 23-4. Over the final 30 minutes, C-N was minus-five on the glass yielding 13 second-chance points down the stretch.

The second quarter netted 14 total points as the two clubs combined to go 6-for-27 from the field to give UT a 36-13 lead going into the locker room.

The Orange and Blue came out of the gates swinging going 8-for-16 from the field in the third quarter as all five starters scored a point. The Lady Eagles led in the points in the paint category 10-8 going plus-two on the scoreboard to close the gap to 52-31.

Mincey's crew forced seven turnovers in the fourth and saw its bench score 11 of the team's 13 points in the final 10 minutes. Abby Wilson (Kingston, Tenn.) drilled a couple three-pointers to lead the team in scoring the frame.

On the night, neither side shot above 35 percent. C-N never attempted a foul shot while Tennessee went 2-for-15 from long distance. All-American Rennia Davis led all players in scoring with 20 points going 9-for-14 with eight rebounds. Rae Burrell was the only other individual to post double figures with 15 points and nine rebounds.

To open its Division II regular season, Carson-Newman makes a journey to Greenwood, S.C. to face USC Aiken Friday night, Nov. 8, at 7:30 p.m. Fans can listen to the game on beginning 15 minutes before tip-off.

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