Junior Alexandra Silva scored 17 points in her first game for Mount Olive, leading a balanced attack as the Trojans held off a furious rally for a 61-57 season-opening, non-conference women's basketball win at St. Augustine's Friday night in Raleigh, N.C.
The Trojans led by 12 with less than three minutes remaining before a late rally by the Lady Falcons cut the lead to three with 7.5 seconds left. Nesmith made the second of two free throw attempts to put the game away.
A three-pointer by Regime McCombs put St. Augustine's up 35-34 with 14:24 remaining. A 25-12 run over the next 11 minutes nearly ended the drama. Mount Olive made its move on the strength of its rebounding, especially on the offensive end. Mount Olive grabbed 11 offensive rebounds after intermission.
Silva scored three consecutive baskets, then putbacks by Mitchell and McDonald made it 53-46 with four minutes remaining. After a blocked shot by Jasmine Cuffee, another second chance delivery, this time a three-pointer by Mitchell, put the Trojans ahead by 10.
Trailing 58-46 after two McDonald free throws, the Lady Falcons began their march back. Two Trojan turnovers and four missed free throws in the final two minutes gave St. Augustine's a chance. But the Lady Falcons' inability to hit free throws (10-30 in the contest) was their undoing.
The Trojans got big contributions from all of its newcomers. Mount Olive needed it thanks to a short bench due to injuries and early foul trouble. Freshmen Anamaria Zjacic and ShyLia Buie contributed to a defense that forced the Lady Falcons into 19 turnovers in the first half, and a 5-for-26 performance from three-point range.
Mount Olive returns to the court next Saturday as part of Pickle Classic Weekend. The Trojans will host Converse in the squad's Conference Carolinas opener beginning at noon.