JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Looking to avoid three consecutive losses, Carson-Newman opens South Atlantic Conference play Tuesday night at Holt Fieldhouse against in-state rival Lincoln Memorial at 5:30 p.m.
"Coming off of two losses this past weekend, I think the players are eager to get back in Holt Fieldhouse," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "We have only had one of our first six games at home. The one game we played here we shot it really well and beat King. Being on the road so much, I think we are tired of that."
Carson-Newman (4-2) is 19-11 all-time in SAC openers with a 6-2 record under Mincey. Both of those losses have come to Lincoln Memorial (1-2, 1-0) coming in back-to-back seasons. The Railsplitters won 56-54 at home on Nov. 24, 2015 and won at Mossy Creek, 102-99 in overtime on Nov. 22, 2016.
Mincey's team is coming off of two straight losses third time in the last three-plus years. The program has not dropped three contests in a row since Feb. 13-20, 2016 when the Lady Eagles lost to Lenoir-Rhyne, Tusculum and Wingate.
One area that the Lady Eagles will look to improve upon is turnovers. C-N is posting 16 on average but is giving up an average of 18 points off of turnovers per night. With the exception of USC Aiken in the opener, every team has posted at least 16 including 20 or more points off of giveaways by each of the last four opponents.
Tuesday's outing will be the 85th all-time in the history of the rivalry with C-N holding a 50-34 lead. The Lady Eagles had won three straight games before the Railsplitters upended them in the 2019 SAC Quarterfinals winning 80-77 at Holt Fieldhouse, the seventh overtime game in the series history.
Neither team led by more than four points during the contest snapping a streak of 10-straight wins for Carson-Newman in home quarterfinal matchups dating back to Feb. 26, 2002. Overall, the game featured 16 ties and 15 lead changes.
Of the six combined players to score in double figures, only one, C-N's Kayla Marosites (Elizabethton, Tenn.) is back on the court for either team. Two individuals are on the benches as coaches, LMU's Dasia Maxwell, and C-N's Haris Price.
Lincoln Memorial is under the guidance of first-year mentor Eric Brewton Jr. who is without the services of the departed Griffith twins. The sisters combined for over 30 points per night with Emily finishing fourth in scoring. The duo registered 32 points in the upset win in the conference quarterfinals.
The Railsplitters have scored no more than 62 points in any game this season ranking 258th in the country in scoring average with 59 per evening. Ranking 30th from the bottom, LMU is converting 35 percent of its shot attempts on the year and making a total of five three-pointers per game.
Each game this year has seen Brewton's bunch shot less than 40 percent from the field. LMU is the only team in the league with a SAC win doing so at Wingate on Saturday where it made 26 foul shots winning by eight despite shooting 35 percent from the field.
"They have only played three games," Mincey said. "The win at Wingate was very uplifting for them after starting off 0-2. They are athletic. They are taking care of the ball. They aren't getting sped up. They appear to be playing a lot in the half court trying to get a high percentage shot. That's one of the things where we had to do that at North Georgia. It was a game in the 60s. That might be where the game is tomorrow night I have no idea."
Overall the team is towards the bottom of the SAC in most statistical categories. LMU averages 36 rebounds per game and is minus-six on the glass. Opponents are shooting 40 percent from the field against its defense.
There are a few positive areas as the team has turned the ball over 14 times per game, the second-fewest in the league and shooting 73 percent from the free-throw line, good for fourth in the conference.
Lauren Flowers, a freshman from Murfressboro, is the team's leading scorer putting up 16 points per game, good for sixth in the league. However she only posted six points on 3-for-12 shooting in a loss to King in the second game of the year. Sixteen of her 49 points on the year have come at the charity stripe where she is an 84 percent shooter.
Thirteen different players have scored a point on the year but Flowers in the only player in double figures as she nearly doubles up her next closest teammate, Shermeria Quarles. Quarles is adding nine rebounds per evening putting her inside of the top 10 in the SAC.
Broadcast coverage for Wednesday evening's affair starts at 5:15 p.m. with "The AEC Countdown to Tip-Off" on the Eagle Sports Network's flagship station, 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville), and online with video and audio links on cneagles.com/live.
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