Joneiqua Gary scored 20 points and Tamara Nesmith came within one rebound and two assists of a triple-double as Mount Olive remained unbeaten with a 65-46 victory over Virginia Union in non-conference women's basketball Tuesday at Richmond, Va. The win improves the Trojans' best start since Mount Olive reclassified to NCAA Division II in 1995.
Mount Olive (6-0) spotted Virginia Union the first eight points of the game, but rallied to take a three-point halftime lead and led through the entire second half. Gary and Jasmine McDonald combined for three 3-pointers in the first four minutes of the second half built Mount Olive's lead to 38-25 and the margin never fell below double digits for the remainder of the game. Alexandra Silva's layup gave Mount Olive its biggest lead at 63-41 with 1:08 left in the game.
Virginia Union (3-4) jumped out to an 8-0 lead as Ashley Freeman hit a pair of three-pointers and a pair of free throws to account for all of the Panthers' first eight points. Ty Wallace's layup capped Mount Olive's own 8-0 run as the Trojans held Virginia Union scoreless for nearly seven minutes.
The two teams exchanged leads four times before Gary's three-pointer with 2:58 left in the half put Mount Olive on top for good at 20-18. The Trojans built the lead to as many as five before Freeman hit a pair of free throws with nine seconds left to pull Virginia Union within 25-22 at the half.
Kirksten Mitchell hit 7-of-8 free throws and finished with 13 points for Mount Olive. Nesmith tallied 12 points, nine rebounds and eight assists to narrowly miss recording the third triple-double in Trojan women's basketball history. Alyssa Luebs had eight rebounds and Ty Wallace pulled down six boards as Mount Olive outrebounded Virginia Union 44-29.
Freeman led all players with 23 points for Virginia Union. Paress Davis had a game-high four steals for the Panthers.
Mount Olive resumes Conference Carolinas action Saturday as the Trojans travel to Hartsville, S.C., to take on Coker. The contest is the Trojans' first conference game on the road this season. Tip-off is 2 p.m.