GREENEVILLE, TN (SPECIAL TO WLAF) – After watching seventh-ranked Tusculum tie the game at the buzzer at the end of regulation and lead most of the first overtime, No. 20 Carson-Newman mustered enough plays to beat the Pioneers 69-66 in double overtime at Pioneer Arena Wednesday night to rise to the top of the South Atlantic Conference standings.
Former Campbell Lady Cougar Skylar Boshears (above) hit a teardrop in the lane that gave the Lady Eagles the lead for good in the second overtime. Boshears played 39 minutes scoring 8 points to go with four rebounds, two assists and a steal.
“Now that we have won, I think it’s a game that can really make us grow,” Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. “We do have a lot of young kids. With four sophomores in the starting lineup, it’s a game that can really propel them through the future as we play this year and beyond.”
The Lady Eagles secure their first road win over a top 10 team since Dec. 8, 2008 earning its first victory over a top 10 club overall since Nov. 21, 2015 over No. 6 Columbus State, a span of 155 games and 1,890 days.
Mincey improves his personal record to 15-10 against ranked clubs as the program pulls even to .500, 4-4, all-time against top 10 units. Carson-Newman (6-0, 6-0) snaps a three-game skid to Tusculum (9-1, 9-1) ending the nation’s fifth-longest winning streak at 12 and the Pioneers 10-game home string.
The Lady Eagles led for nearly the entire game but scored just seven points in the fourth. The Orange and Blue were up one with under three seconds to play when Braelyn Wykle (Greeneville, Tenn.) was fouled. The sophomore made one of two. After a Tusculum timeout, Brianna Dixon caught the ball on the right block with 1.2 seconds to play and as she was falling down made a layup as the horn sounded to tie the game at 53 and push the game to overtime.
“When you get into a game like this there are certain plays that I remember and certain plays that are a blur,” Mincey said. “There are things as a coach that I wish I would have done differently. If she hadn’t have scored, I would have thought that was a great play. It was a great play call by them and great execution to get that bucket under those circumstances and go into overtime. I was concerned that they had a lot of momentum and a lot of excitement at that point. We told our kids that we had to go 0-0 at that point but we have a chance to play five more minutes.”
The Pioneers took a three-point lead on a three-point play from Dixon in the first overtime session before the Lady Eagles answered with five straight to go on top 58-56 with 2:07 to play. The team traded triples and Maddie Sutton tied the score at 61 with over a minute to play. Wykle held the last possession missing a runner in the lane leading to a second overtime period.
“I think it definitely is believing in each other and being poised,” Wykle said. “We took care of the ball fairly well. We did have some turnovers towards the end. I think we did well. We went inside and tried to get to the free-throw line. I think that’s what helps at the end of the game.”
After a bucket from Addison Byrd and two foul shots from Tusculum, the score was tied at 63 with 90 seconds to play in double overtime. Skylar Boshears (LaFollette, Tenn.) hit a teardrop in the lane that gave the Lady Eagles the lead for good. Wykle made all four foul shots down the stretch to secure the win.
The lead changed hands three times in the opening three minutes before a 6-0 sequence by C-N put the Lady Eagles on top 11-6 behind a pair of foul shots from Byrd. The clubs traded buckets over the remaining moments of the first with the visitors on top 17-13.
Four quick points in the second swelled the margin to eight with 7:17 to go in the half. The Lady Eagles made half of their shots in the stanza with Wykle scoring the final five of the half stretching the score to 36-26 at halftime.
Out of the break, C-N expanded the margin to 13 at 42-29 on a jumper from Wykle with 5:21 to play in the third period. Tusculum found its stroke scoring nine straight using a 14-4 close to third to pull within three, 46-43, entering the fourth frame.
Wykle finished the night with a game-high 30 points going 10-for-23 from the floor and 10-for-11 at the charity stripe. She added five boards, two assists and two steals.
Byrd collected her second career double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds in 45 minutes. Lindsey Taylor (Maryville, Tenn.) added a career-high 14 rebounds as C-N won the battle on the glass 55-45.
Sutton finished with a Tusculum program-record 25 rebounds, two shy of the league mark, adding 14 points. Dixon racked up 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Marta Rodrigues filled up the stat sheet with 10 points, seven assists and five rebounds.
The Lady Eagles return to Holt Fieldhouse on Saturday for their last home game of January playing host to Wingate at 2 p.m. Airtime on the Eagle Sports Network is 1:45 with “The Appalachian Electric Cooperative Countdown to Tip-Off” on The Mountain 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and cneagles.com/live. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 01/21/2021-6AM)