‘Splitters stun #3 Lady Eagles withstanding a furious fourth-quarter rally

VIDEO: Mike Mincey Interview

HARROGATE, Tenn. – Third-ranked Carson-Newman trailed by 18 points with 6:17 to play before mounting a massive rally that gave the Lady Eagles two possessions to tie or win the game with under 10 seconds to play as Lincoln Memorial dodged a bullet with an 89-87 upset in South Atlantic Conference play Wednesday night at Tex Turner Arena.

It was a 10-point deficit with 3:33 to go in the contest when the charge began to overwhelm the Railsplitters. Carson-Newman (25-2, 17-2) chipped away before Haris Price (Gatlinburg, Tenn.) hit a step-back three-pointer from the left point to make it a three-point game, 86-83, with 1:59 to play.

After a pair of Jordan Brigthwell foul shots, Price made a layup and Mika Wester (Newport, Tenn.) hit a jumper in the paint to cut the deficit to one at 88-87 with 13.7 to go.

After the two sides traded timeouts and Lincoln Memorial (16-10, 11-8) advanced the ball to the front court, Briana Smith (Nashville, Tenn.) intercepted a pass at midcourt and passed the ball to Katie Stubblefield (Alcoa, Tenn.). The redshirt-senior dribble several times to the right block and under duress missed a layup that dropped off the front half.

Cameryn Dubose cleared the carom and was fouled. She missed the first and made the second. Price took the inbound and lost control of her bounce on the right wing as C-N never got a shot off and the Railsplitters sealed the upset.

"It's amazing the difference in the speed that we played with once their backs were against the wall and they had no choice," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "The press was a lot more active. It's really puzzling to me why we played the way we did in the first half. We got pushed around and didn't get anything done and got stagnant offensively.

"They knew what was at stake. It was a rivalry game but I think we had opportunities early to get out to a lead and we didn't. We turned it over uncharacteristically."

The Lady Eagles went 10-for-16 from the field in the fourth quarter and 10-for-13 from the charity stripe.

It is the sixth straight loss for the program in Harrogate as the school has not won at Tex Turner Arena since Jan. 25, 2012.

The Lady Eagles had their lowest scoring opening quarter of the season shooting 31 percent from the field. After trailing 8-6 midway through the frame, LMU went on a 10-2 spurt to close the stanza and take a 16-10 lead after the opening 10 minutes.

Mincey's group came back to tie the score at 26 with 4:58 to play in the half after scoring five unanswered points. With the deficit at one with 58 seconds to play before the break, the Railsplitters scored the final four points to take a 39-34 lead at intermission.

It was the third time this year that C-N had trailed at halftime and first since trailing by two at Newberry on Dec. 2, 2017. The five-point margin was the biggest difference when trailing.

The run for the 'Splitter stretched into the second half as they scored the first four points to push the margin to nine points at 43-34. After the Lady Eagles pulled within four points at 49-45, LMU responded with seven straight to go on top by 11.

Overall the home group went 10-for-13 from the field in the third quarter and had a 63-54 lead entering the fourth. It was the first time this season that the Lady Eagles trailed entering the final 10 minutes.

Price scored 21 points in the fourth quarter and finished with a game-high 27 on the night going 10-for-18 from the field. Add her 317 points at Lee during her freshman year and this game put the junior over 1,000 career points to 1,002.

Kayla Marosites (Elizabethton, Tenn.) added 19 points, eight rebounds and five steals. Smith had 14 points, five boards and four pilfers while Wester finished with 18 points and hauling in six caroms.

Qua Hines led a group of six double-digit scorers for LMU with 20 points while Dubose racked up a double-double with 11 points and 15 rebounds.

Emily Griffith racked up nine assists and five steals while scoring 12 points. Brightwell and Shea Coker had 14 and Dasia Maxwell ended the night with 10.

Mincey's unit had trailed 77 minutes out of 1,000 entering the contest before being behind for 32:21 against Lincoln Memorial. The only other game where the Lady Eagles were behind for more than 15 minutes came at North Georgia on Nov. 17 when they were behind for 21:08.

Carson-Newman will try to seize the outright title Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. against No. 15/22 Wingate inside of Holt Fieldhouse. The Eagle Sports Network will have the radio call on 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) with video and audio streams on cneagles.com/live starting at 5:45 p.m.

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