Carson-Newman hosts rival Tusculum Saturday night
Jan. 16, 2009
JEFFERSON CITY – The Carson-Newman basketball teams will return to the friendly confines of Holt Fieldhouse Saturday night to host in-state rival Tusculum.
The women's contest will begin at 6 p.m., followed by the men's at 8 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on WMTN 1300 AM, with the webcast being available at the following link: Audio Webcast Live statistics will also be available, by clicking: Live Stats
Tusculum will bring the fifth-ranked team in NCAA Division II to the women's game. This will be the second time this season that Carson-Newman has played a top-five team. The Lady Eagles dropped a 67-51 decision to No. 1 Northern Kentucky just over a month ago.
Carson-Newman head coach Dean Walsh says this game against the Lady Pioneers will be no easier.
"There isn't a weakness in their starting five, or with their bench," said Walsh. "I guess that is why they are as good as they are."
The matchup pits the top two scoring teams in the SAC against each other, as Tusculum is averaging 86.3 points per game, followed by the Lady Eagles at 83.7.
Statiscally, the Lady Pioneers are doing much better on the defensive end of the court this year, holding their opponents to almost 14 points less per game than Carson-Newman (61.5 to 75.1).
Both teams are led on offense by solid guard play. Junior Ashley Kyle is averaging 15.1 points per game for the Lady Eagles, and was named the most recent South Atlantic Conference Player of the Week. Tusculum is led by Jasmine Gunn, a 5-foot-0 guard from Antioch, who is posting 14.1 ppg.
Both schools are getting point production for a number of players, however. Carson-Newman has two other players averaging double figures: forward Shari Buford and guard Mandy Mendenhall are both averaging 12.5 ppg. Tusculum has three double-digit performers on the year: Stephany Neptune (12.0), Ashli Oliver (11.9) and Nikki Van Dine (10.3).
"It's going to be a track meet," Walsh said, referring to the fast-paced type of offense that both teams like to play. "It should be fun for the fans and stressful on the coach."
Tusculum won both meetings against the Lady Eagles last season.
The men's contest Saturday night will feature two teams looking to get back on the winning track in SAC play. Carson-Newman (5-10, 2-2 SAC) suffered an 87-74 loss to Wingate this past Wednesday. Tusculum was a 79-72 winner over Urbana Tuesday, but the Pioneers have dropped their last three SAC games.
Carson-Newman is led by junior transfer Joey Cameron's 15.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Tusculum's Kyle Moore currently is the top scorer in the SAC at 19.9 ppg.
The Eagles and Tusculum split their two meetings last season, with the road team winning both games.