GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – Kayla Marosites racked up her fifth double-double of the season with 12 points and 17 rebounds as fourth-ranked Carson-Newman smacked Tusculum 90-67 Wednesday evening at Pioneer Arena to hand the Pioneers their first home loss in eight tries.
With the victory, Carson-Newman (16-0, 8-0) matched its best overall start to a season with the 2009-10 team and best open to SAC play with the 1991-92 group. It is the 10th straight win against a conference opponent to equalize the school record set in the final two games of 1990-91 and the first eight of 1991-92.
“It’s a rivalry game,” Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. “They wanted to go and beat their rival. There was not a lot of thought about that other stuff. It’s great to have all those records but it’s created a monster. We leave out of here not feeling as good about ourselves because of that fourth quarter.”
The Lady Eagles record their fifth consecutive win at Tusculum (10-4, 5-3) tying their longest road winning streak in the series from 1985-89.
Tusculum held an early edge with an 8-6 margin with 6:57 to go in the opening quarter. C-N rattled off six straight to take a 12-10 lead following a driving layup from Haris Price (Gatlinburg, Tenn.).
The Pioneers closed the gap to one point after two foul shots from Maddie Sutton at 16-15 with 3:21 to play in the first frame. An offensive burst from the fourth-ranked team in the land over the next 8:15 of game action saw C-N go on a 19-5 spurt. Briana Smith (Nashville, Tenn.) capped the scoring run with an old fashioned three-point play.
Neither team scored in the final 2:23 of the opening half as the Lady Eagles took a 40-27 advantage into the locker room. Tusculum made two of its first three shots of the game but ended the half shooting 7-for-29 from the field, 24 percent. The Pioneers scored nine points in the second quarter, their second-fewest in any quarter on the year.
In the third stanza, Tusculum went 2-for-16 from the field as Carson-Newman outscored the Pioneers 26-11. C-N started the quarter by outscoring TC 22-4 to start the stanza. At 44-32 with 7:34 to go in the game, the visitors ripped off 11 straight points to push the lead to 23 points at 55-32. It was a 66-38 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Tusculum went 10-for-19 from the field in the fourth quarter and outscored Carson-Newman 29-24. The Pioneers used a pair of 8-2 sequences but could not pull any closer than 19 before the Lady Eagles closed up shop on the victory.
Marosites added six steals and three assists in the game as the 17 boards were the most by a C-N player since Zoriah Williams collected 18 against Lincoln Memorial on Feb. 22, 2012.
“I was upset that I only had four [Saturday against Catwaba],” Marosites stated. “I wanted to come out tonight and make up for it. We came out confident and we knew that if we performed how we wanted we could come out with the win. It could have been better but I thought my team battled.”
Briana Smith (Nashville, Tenn.) led all scorers with 21 points, her third 20-point effort of the season, going 8-for-13 from the field in the game.
Mika Wester (Newport, Tenn.) finished with 19 points in the game to round out a trio of double-digit scorers.
Kasey Johnson led Tusculum’s offensive attack with 16 points and six boards. Kendrea Duke had 11 points and seven rebounds and Sydney Wilson had 10 points but went 3-for-19 from the field.
Tusculum was held to its lowest field-goal percentage of the season going 19-for-64 from the field, 29.7 percent, but went 21-for-25 from the free-throw line, 84 percent.
“I thought from an effort standpoint we did a really good job,” Mincey assessed. “We did a really good job on the glass. Fifty rebounds against an athletic team that has killed just about everybody that they have played on the boards. I think rebounding was a huge key. We were able to steals out of the press and turned them over. I just don’t like that we turned it over 21 times as well.”
Overall, Carson-Newman outscored Tusculum 48-18 in the paint, 28-15 off of turnovers and had a 27-17 lead in fast break points.
Mincey’s club will attempt to establish new records at Wingate on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.