Fourth quarter surge leads Lady Eagles through Tornado

Fourth quarter surge leads Lady Eagles through Tornado

VIDEO: Mike Mincey interview

VIDEO: Tatum Burstrom Interview

BRISTOL, Tenn. – The Carson-Newman women's basketball team used a 15-4 start to the fourth quarter to race past King (Tenn.) 75-66 Wednesday night at the Student Center Complex. The Lady Eagles (3-0) outscored the Tornado (1-2) 22-14 in the final stanza.

"I think they eventually decided they needed to play a lot more physical and harder," Carson-Newman women's basketball coach Mike Mincey said. "King, I felt like for three quarters it was a frustrating game. They wanted to beat us very badly. You could see it in their eyes and the way they were playing. It did feel like they kind of tired out a little bit. I was really proud. I didn't think we played very well at all. Like the old saying goes it's great to get a win on a night that you feel like you're not playing at your best."

King scored six of the first seven points in the game and was ahead 8-3 when a 9-2 run for Carson-Newman gave it its first lead of the night at 12-10 with 4:40 remaining in the first quarter. The Tornado chipped away to take a 23-21 lead after the initial frame.

Junior guard Kailyn Brooks (Lafayette, Tenn.) and senior guard Tatum Burstrom (Maryville, Tenn.) buried back-to-back triples in a span of a minute between the five- and four-minute marks to give the Lady Eagles a 38-33 advantage after 20 minutes of play.

The first half featured seven ties and six lead changes but the two teams went ice cold from the floor to end the first 20 minutes. Carson-Newman did not record a field goal in the final 4:47 of the half while King failed to make a shot from the floor in the final 6:21.

The Lady Eagles converted just 38 percent of their shots in the third quarter while the Tornado made 54 percent in the quarter using a 9-2 run to start the quarter to take a lead at 46-45. The Lady Eagles were able to get a 53-52 lead with 10 minutes left.

Carson-Newman began the fourth quarter on a 15-4 run stretching to the 3:09 mark of the final frame to pad the lead to 68-56. King committed 13 turnovers in the second half.

Burstrom led all scorers with 16 points in the game going 6-for-13 from the floor on the night coupled with three steals. Senior forward Taylor Peterson (Mount Juliet, Tenn.) tallied 13 points and seven rebounds while redshirt-freshman guard Kayla Newman (Alcoa, Tenn.) notched 13 points and three rebounds.

"We just talk in the huddle about defense," Burstrom said. "It's defense first and then our offense will come. We reiterate that all the time in our huddle. We are a 40-minute basketball team. That's what we try to be. That's our goal. If you are going to beat us then you have to play 40 minutes."

Carson-Newman had a glaring advantage in points off of turnovers finishing with a 31-15 advantage on 10 pilfers and 21 turnovers forced. The Lady Eagles also had a 40-34 edge in points in the paint on the night.

Overall the Lady Eagles shot 44 percent from the floor, 30-for-69, and made just 6 of 21 from three-point range, 6-for-21. Carson-Newman went 9-for-16 from the free-throw line while King went 13-for-24, 54 percent, at the stripe.

Sophomore forward Jecca Simerly (Talbott, Tenn.) had nine points and seven rebounds after being limited to 19 minutes with foul trouble.

Ashley Albertson led King with 16 points and 10 rebounds but committed six turnovers on the night. Brittany Stringer was the only other Tornado to finish in double figures with 10 points.

Carson-Newman will play its first home game of the year against nationally-ranked Columbus State at 3 p.m. when the Cougars come to Holt Fieldhouse. The game will be broadcast on the Eagle Sports Network's flagship station Mountain Country 106.3 WPFT-FM and in high definition on 15 minutes prior to the opening tip-off.

- CN -