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No. 4 Carson-Newman stays unbeaten with 90-67 win over Tusculum

No. 4 Carson-Newman stays unbeaten with 90-67 win over Tusculum

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Fourth-ranked Carson-Newman remained undefeated with a 90-67 win over Tusculum in South Atlantic Conference women's basketball action Wednesday night at Pioneer Arena.

The Eagles (16-0, 8-0 SAC) were led by 21 points from Briana Smith, while Mika Wester added 19 points and Kayla Marosites registered 12 points, a game-high 17 rebounds and six steals. Carson-Newman outscored Tusculum 43-20 in the second and third quarters to build a lead that reached as high as 29 points early in the fourth quarter.

Kasey Johnson paced the Pioneers (10-4, 5-3 SAC) with 16 points and six rebounds, while Kendrea Duke had 11 points and seven rebounds off the bench. However, the Pioneers shot a season-low 29.7 percent (19-for-64) from the field and tied a season high with 26 turnovers, which the Eagles converted into 28 points.

Jecca Simerly added nine points and six rebounds for Carson-Newman, with Katie Stubblefield contributing seven points and eight rebounds off the bench. The Eagles outrebounded the Pioneers 50-42 in the game and outscored Tusculum 48-18 in the paint. Haris Price had eight points, a game-high seven assists and four steals for the Eagles in the victory.

Sydney Wilson also reached double figures for the Pioneers with 10 points, with Lovely Locklear chipping in with nine points and four rebounds. Coming off a season-best 85.7 percent shooting performance at the foul line against Lenoir-Rhyne on Saturday, the Pioneers went 21-for-25 (84 percent) at the stripe against the Eagles but could not avoid their first home loss in eight games this season.

Tusculum took a quick 3-0 lead on a three-pointer from Wilson on the game's first possession, and neither team led by more than three points for the first seven minutes. A three-pointer from Marosites gave the Eagles a 19-15 lead, and back-to-back steals and layups from Price in the final minute helped Carson-Newman extend its lead to 23-18 at the end of one quarter.

Wester scored the first five points of the second quarter on two foul shots and a three-pointer to give the Eagles a 28-18 lead with 8:06 left in the first half. Meanwhile, Tusculum shot just 3-for-15 from the field (20 percent) in the second quarter and turned the ball over eight times as Carson-Newman took its largest lead of the half at 35-20 on a three-point play by Smith with 5:06 remaining.

Carson-Newman led 40-27 at halftime behind nine points from Smith and Wester, eight from Simerly and six by Price. Marosites had five points and seven rebounds in the first half for the Eagles, who shot 45.7 percent (16-for-35) from the field as a team. Tusculum was led by Johnson, who had 10 points and four rebounds, but shot just 24.1 percent (7-for-29) from the field and turned the ball over 14 times.

The Pioneers continued to struggle from the field in the third quarter, shooting just 2-for-16 as a team. A three-pointer by Johnson in the first minute of the quarter and a jumper by Callie Patterson midway through the frame were the only field goals for Tusculum in the period as Carson-Newman outscored the Pioneers 26-11 to take a 66-38 lead into the final quarter. Smith led the way for Carson-Newman with nine points in the third quarter, while Marosites had five points and six rebounds.

Tusculum bounced back in the fourth quarter, outscoring Carson-Newman 29-24 in the final period. Duke and Locklear each scored seven points for the Pioneers in the fourth, as Tusculum shot 52.6 percent (10-for-19) from the field and turned the ball over just three times.

Duke, playing in just her second game of the season, went 3-for-5 from the field and 5-for-5 at the foul line and blocked a pair of shots in 15 minutes of playing time for the Pioneers. Mia Long, the reigning SAC Player of the Week, had five points, six rebounds and three steals for Tusculum and Martoria Patton grabbed six rebounds in 23 minutes of action.

Carson-Newman finished the game at 46.7 percent (35-for-75) from the field, including seven three-pointers, and went 13-for-21 from the foul line (61.9 percent). The Eagles had 18 steals as a team and grabbed 14 offensive rebounds, which they turned into 13 points.

Tusculum will be back home on Saturday to host Newberry in a SAC matchup at Pioneer Arena, tipping off at 2 p.m.

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