Joneiqua Gary scored 16 points and Mount Olive built a double-digit lead in the first half, but North Greenville rallied to stun the Trojans 63-59 in Conference Carolinas women's basketball Saturday at Tigerville, S.C. Alyssa Luebs recorded her second double-double of the season - both against North Greenville, with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Mount Olive (12-6 overall, 8-6 Conference Carolinas) held North Greenville scoreless for more than eight minutes during the first half as the Trojans built a 19-7 lead. The Trojans trailed by four early before Tamara Nesmith's jumper broke a 7-7 tie and Jasmine McDonald's jumper with 8:33 left in the first half capped a 16-0 run and gave Mount Olive its biggest lead of the game.
North Greenville (6-11, 4-9) ended its drought on Jaquazhna Barrino's basket with 8:17 left, the Crusaders' first points since Ashleigh Edwards' three-pointer just over three minutes into the contest. North Greenville then held Mount Olive without a field goal for the next four minutes to pull within 21-17.
McDonald's jumper with 2:35 left helped Mount Olive build the lead back up to eight points before setting for a 29-25 advantage at the half.
After North Greenville pulled within a point early in the second half, Alexandra Silva's three-pointer and Nesmith's basket gave Mount Olive a 36-30 lead with 15:14 left in the game. North Greenville then used three 3-pointers in less than two minutes by Tyler Powers during a 13-0 run to give the Crusaders their biggest lead of the contest at 43-36 with 11:36 remaining.
Gary's three-pointer highlighted a 10-2 Trojan run as Mount Olive regained the lead with 7:07 left to play. The lead changed hands six times over the next three-plus minutes before another three by Powers put North Greenville ahead to stay 54-52 with 3:39 remaining.
The final outcome appeared to be determined when a pair of free throws by Powers gave the Crusaders a 61-56 lead with 12 seconds left. But Silva was fouled on a three-point attempt with four seconds remaining and hit all three free throws. North Greenville sealed the win on a pair of free throws by Alisha Hope with less than a second left.
Apart from North Greenville's scoring total, Saturday's game was in direct contrast to the two teams' first meeting in November at Kornegay Arena. Mount Olive reached the century mark in that game for a 100-63 victory. Four of Mount Olive's six losses have been on the road, all in conference play.
Nesmith finished with 10 points, six rebounds and five assists for Mount Olive, while McDonald added eight points, eight rebounds and five steals. The loss was the third in a row for the Trojans, which went only seven deep for the third straight game due to injuries.
Powers hit five 3-pointers and scored a game-high 20 points to go with five assists. Barrino added 10 points off the bench and Edwards also dished out five assists.
Mount Olive returns to action Wednesday as the Trojans travel to Charlotte, N.C., to take on Queens in a Conference Carolinas match-up. Mount Olive rallied from a 15-point second-half deficit for a 58-55 win over the Royals January 9 at Kornegay Arena. Tip-off is 5:30 p.m.