JEFFERSON CITY—Tori Griffin scored a career-high 20 points as Carson-Newman blasted Coker 98-65 for its eighth straight win over the Cobras on Saturday afternoon in South Atlantic Conference play at Holt Fieldhouse.
"This is the first two games that she has started in her career," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "She earned the start by how she played in the previous games. I went down at halftime and said that Tori is a bucket-getter right now. She is putting the ball in the basket. She has good size and does a good job on the press. When she is scoring it makes me feel like I made a good decision to put her in the starting lineup."
The Lady Eagles were opportunistic yet again scoring 24 points off of 16 Coker (5-18, 4-11) turnovers. Carson-Newman (18-5, 11-4) has now had at least 20 points off of giveaways in 13 consecutive contests, its longest streak as far as records go back.
"If we play with good effort the press can be effective," Mincey said. "At any point in time if one guy doesn't give good effort, you can potentially give up an open layup or an open jumper. At times I thought we had all five guys on the floor giving good effort. Not all the time we turned them over but we forced a quick shot and a one-and-done. I don't think we gave up an offensive rebound the whole first half."
Erin Houser scored the first six points of the game for the Cobras giving her team a 6-5 edge three minutes into the contest. The Lady Eagles capped the opening period on a 24-10 surge using a 7-0 in the middle to build to the bulge to 13 at 29-16 after the opening 10 minutes.
Coker made just three shots from the floor over the first six minutes in the second stanza using a 19-4 run to stretch it out to 48-24 on a layup from Kayla Marosites. The Lady Eagles made 57 percent of their shots in the period to go into the locker room on top 59-33.
C-N had 18 points off of turnovers at the half scoring nine apiece in each frame scoring its most points in any first half on the year and its second-most for any half behind the 60, second-half points against Clayton State on Nov. 20.
After missing its first two shots of the second half, Mincey's squad made seven of its next eight including each of the final six to expand the lead to 31 points at 82-51 at the end of the quarter. The team made 64 percent of its shots and all eight of its foul shots.
A modest 6-0 spurt cut the deficit to 28 with 5:55 to go in the game but C-N scored 10 of the final 16 including each of the last five to seal the final margin of 33.
Griffin's previous career high was 15 points as the junior went 6-for-12 from the field making three triples and going 5-for-6 at the line over 22 minutes of action.
Haris Price continued her string of scoring outbursts with a game-high 23 points making eight of 13 field-goal tires adding eight rebounds, five steals and three assists in 23 minutes. The senior moved up to ninth passing Stacie Dunn (2000-04) bringing her career tally to 1,263.
Kayla Marosites finished the day with her 15th double-double of the season with 11 points and 12 rebounds adding four steals. Briana Smith (Nashville, Tenn.) scored in double figures for the seventh time in her career against Coker with 15 making nine of 10 at the line and producing five assists.
Carson-Newman went 25-for-32 at the free-throw line, the second-most made foul shots on the year for the team. The 32 attempts marked the first time this year that the Lady Eagles tried at least 30 in a game.
Shay Jackson led the visiting club with 13 points and six rebounds going 5-for-11 from the field. Hayley Kropp also had 13 but went 4-for-15 from the field with Saquita Joyner adding 10.
The Lady Eagles hit the road Wednesday night at 6 p.m. to take on 20th-ranked and SAC-leading Anderson at the Abney Athletic Center. The Trojans have won 19 straight games, good for the fourth-longest mark in the country.