Suffocating defense gives Lady Eagles 61-48 win over Tornado

Suffocating defense gives Lady Eagles 61-48 win over Tornado

VIDEO: Mike Mincey Interview

VIDEO: Jai Jai McLaughlin Interview

VIDEO: Highlights

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – The sixth-ranked Carson-Newman Lady Eagles (9-0) forced 22 turnovers and held the King Tornado (4-4) to 32 percent shooting in a 61-48 victory Monday night at Holt Fieldhouse.

"Our press was pretty good obviously," head coach Mike Mincey said. "We got some good traps and forced some walks. Our press was okay in the first half. Spearheaded by Jai Jai [McLaughlin] our effort was a lot better in the second half. I just wish we could have scored the ball better. I think we're really good at being an offensive team, but tonight we were a good defensive team."

King shot just 29 percent in the first half on 9 of 31 shooting from the floor and turned the basketball over 12 times in the opening stanza. The Lady Eagles converted those 12 miscues into 10 points.

Carson-Newman closed the first half on a 7-3 run to raise its lead to a game-high seven points. Senior forward Whitney Kyle (Jefferson City, Tenn.) stuffed the stat sheet as she had four points, five rebounds and three steals.

The Tornado went 9:24 of game action without a field goal as they had eight turnovers during that sequence that allowed the Lady Eagles use a 15-0 run to extend the lead from 26-21 to 41-21 with 11:39 to play in the game.

"There was a little spurt there where Jai Jai was crashing the boards, Tatum flew in there even though she didn't get one," Mincey said. "We got a lot of effort. When we play with that effort, I think we can be really good. We're not the type of team that can just play 80 percent and win."

Junior guard Jai Jai McLaughlin (Knoxville, Tenn.) had 12 points and eight rebounds to lead the home group in both categories as she made both three-point attempts and all four foul shots in the game.

"I think it was very important for me to have a good game today," McLaughlin said. "We couldn't get a lot of points inside so we had to pick it up somewhere else. Just hustling and trying to make something happen really worked out well for us."

Junior guard Tatum Burstrom (Maryville, Tenn.) chipped in 11 points, five rebounds and two steals as the only other Lady Eagle to score in double figures.

Chelsea Bowling was the lone Tornado to score in double figures as she finished with 14 points on 4-for-8 shooting.

The Lady Eagles close the 2014 calendar year of action with a trip to Owensboro, Ky. To take on Trevecca Nazerene and Kentucky Wesleyan in the Fairfield Inn Christmas Classic Friday and Saturday.

- CN -