GREENWOOD, S.C. – The Carson-Newman women's basketball team defeated no. 21 Lander 76-69 at Finis Horne Arena to wrap up the SAC-PBC Challenge in Greenwood, South Carolina.
Carson Newman (2-0, 0-0 South Atlantic Conference) was led by junior guard Addison Byrd (Nashville, Tenn.) who scored 21 points on 9-14 shooting from the field.
This came a night after freshman Braelyn Wykle (Greenville, Tenn.) had a team-high 20 points in the team's season-opening 80-66 win over USC Aiken. Wykle posted just eight points but sunk two clutch free throws in the fourth quarter to keep the Bearcats (1-1, 0-0 Peach Belt Conference) at bay.
"I think that's a sign of a team that's growing and can be a good basketball team when any given night it's somebody else," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "I didn't think Byrd and Tank played particularly well last night. These are the games where your best players need to step up, your leaders on the team, I thought they did that."
Senior guard Kayla Marosites (Elizabethton, TN) scored 17 points and secured 15 rebounds in her first double-double of the season after setting the C-N school record for double-doubles last season with 21.
"I just came out here, I just wanted to play aggressive and play hard," Marosites said. "I just wanted to get my teammates involved. I didn't care what the outcome was except that we got the win."
The Lady Eagles took a 38-28 lead into the halftime break but held just a six-point advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
Lander was able to tie the game at 66 mid-way through the fourth, but the Lady Eagles closed the game out on an 11-3 run the rest of the way.
"We definitely have fight and we're gonna keep fighting through the whole game," Marosites said. "Yeah, they started to come back but then we just were like 'we need to stay focused, we got this.'"
Freshman Harli Smith (Jamestown, TN) was the third and final Eagle in double-figures with 12 points. She went 5-10 from the field and also took down five boards.
"Late in the game, you know, we got two freshmen on the floor," Mincey said. "We're relying on some underclassmen and you know obviously that makes you excited as a coach that the future is bright for the program."
Lander lost just one home game all of last year and had lost just eight total games on their home floor going back to 2015. The Lady Eagles also avenged an 82-79 loss to the Bearcats in the Southeast Regional quarterfinal of last year's NCAA tournament
"Over my tenure at Carson-Newman we've had some big wins," Mincey said. "But to win at Lander, they lost one game at home last year. Kevin [Pederson] runs a fantastic program. So for us to win a game like this on the road, second game of the year when I wasn't real sure what kind of identity we had, very proud of the kids."
C-N will now return to Mossy Creek to host King University for their home opener on Nov. 13th at 5:30 p.m. A live broadcast of the game will be provided by the Eagle Sports Network and can be found on cneagles.com. Follow @CNathletics on Twitter for live updates of the game.
Be sure to keep up with the Lady Eagles all season long on all of C-N's social media platforms and on cneagles.com.
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