Joneiqua Gary hit four three-pointers and scored 16 of her 18 points in the second half as Mount Olive rallied from a 15-point deficit to defeat Queens 58-55 in Conference Carolinas women's basketball Wednesday at Kornegay Arena. Jasmine McDonald pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds and hit two free throws with seven seconds left to help seal the win. Mount Olive's defense held Queens to five points over the final nine minutes of the game as the Trojans improved to 7-0 at home.
Mount Olive (9-2 overall, 5-2 Conference Carolinas) trailed by 13 at halftime and gave up a basket off a turnover on its first possession of the second half before McDonald's three-pointer – the Trojans' first three of the game – triggered a 10-0 run in a span of 68 seconds. Joneiqua Gary capped the run with a pair of three-pointers to pull Mount Olive within 35-30 with 18:15 left to play.
After Sarah Myatt's basket for Queens ended Mount Olive's scoring run, the Trojans came back with the unlikeliest of baskets. The Trojans still had the ball in the backcourt with five seconds left and Gary's shot at the buzzer was off target. But Alexander Silva found Gary at the top of the key for a three-pointer off the glass.
Shonice Pettaway's three-pointer helped Queens (6-4, 4-2) build the lead back to nine points, but Gary connected on back-to-back three-pointers as Mount Olive pulled within 44-43 with 12:11 remaining. Tamara Nesmith's layup with 10:28 left gave Mount Olive its first lead of the game at 47-46.
Queens broke a 48-48 tie on Pettaway's layup with 8:50 remaining, but the Royals would go scoreless for nearly seven minutes. Silva tied the game 50-50 with a pair of free throws with 7:55 left and Gary's backdoor layup on a dish by Nesmith put the Trojans on top for good with 6:24 remaining.
Mount Olive built the lead to as many as five points before Shatonya Hardy's three-pointer from the right corner with 2:02 remaining ended Queens' scoring drought and pulled the Royals within 55-53. After Nesmith hit 1-of-2 free throws for the Trojans, Thomas 15-foot baseline jumper from the left side with 19 seconds left made it a one-point game at 56-55.
Queens still had a foul to give, then put McDonald on the line after Mount Olive got the ball across midcourt. McDonald calmly sank both free throws and Queens' desperation three-pointer at the buzzer was no good.
In the opening half, Mount Olive fell behind by 11 points in the first five minutes of the game until McDonald's offensive rebound and layup off a blocked shot triggered a Trojan rally. Silva's steal set up Anamaria Zjacic's fastbreak layup to pull Mount Olive within 17-14 with 10:08 left in the first half as the Trojans scored eight unanswered points.
After the two teams exchanged baskets, Mount Olive had a chance to tie the game, but the Trojans turned the ball over. Mount Olive was held to four points in the final 7:47 of the first half.
Queens used an 11-0 run to break away from a 2-2 tie as Shonice Pettaway knocked down back-to-back three-pointers and Melissa Thomas capped the run with a three. After Mount Olive's rally, baskets by Dyonna Battle and Pettaway extended the Royals' lead to 23-16.
After McDonald's basket pulled Mount Olive within 25-20 with 4:50 left, Queens forced six Trojan turnovers to finish the half on an 8-0 run and take a 33-20 halftime lead. Mount Olive committed 13 turnovers in the first half.
Nesmith finished with 17 points, while McDonald added nine points and four assists. Silva shared game-high honors with five assists to go with five points and five rebounds. Gary hit 4-of-7 attempts beyond the arc, all but one attempt coming in the second half.
Pettaway led Queens with a game-high 19 points to go with eight rebounds. Battle added 14 points and five assists for the Royals.
Mount Olive returns to action Saturday as the Trojans travel to Converse for a Conference Carolinas rematch. Mount Olive defeated the Valkyries 87-34 November 17 at Kornegay Arena in the two teams' conference opener. Saturday's contest is the first of three consecutive road games for the Trojans. Tip-off is 2 p.m.