A late Mount Olive scoring drought and Pfeiffer free throws down the stretch were the difference as the Trojans fell 62-58 in Conference Carolinas women's basketball Tuesday at Kornegay Arena. Tamara Nesmith led all players with 18 points for Mount Olive, while Jasmine McDonald pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds.
After trailing by as many as eight points in the first half, Mount Olive (15-10 overall, 11-10 Conference Carolinas) built a six-point lead early in the second half after Joneiqua Gary's three-pointer gave the Trojans a 39-33 advantage with 15:57 left in the contest. Pfeiffer (21-5, 16-5) used back-to-back three-pointers by Jodie Lemons and Bridget Rothert to tie the game and Rothert capped an 8-0 with a pair of free throws to put the Falcons back on top.
Neither team led by more than four points as the lead changed hands seven times over the next 10 minutes. Alyssa Luebs' 14-foot jumper in the paint put Mount Olive on top 55-54 with 4:08 remaining. But those would be the Trojans' last points until the final seconds.
Pfeiffer took the lead for good as Lemons' layup with 2:48 left put the Falcons back on top 56-55. Kellie Rhoney scored the game's next six points in a span of a half minute with a layup and 4-of-4 free throws to give Pfeiffer a 62-55 lead with 21 seconds remaining.
Gary ended Mount Olive's scoring drought and knocked down her third three-pointer of the night with 14 seconds left. But the Trojans were unable to capitalize on Pfeiffer's first missed free throw attempt of the game.
Mount Olive fell behind 23-15 in the first half as Pfeiffer hit three of its first four attempts from beyond the arc. McDonald triggered a Trojan comeback with three steals in five minutes, while Gary hit a three-pointer and Alexandra Silva sliced through three defenders for a layup to cap a 10-0 run and give Mount Olive a 26-23 lead with 3:21 left in the first half.
Pfeiffer regained the lead, but Gary's basket with 36 seconds left put Mount Olive back on top and Tamara Nesmith blocked a layup attempt just before the buzzer as the Trojans went into the locker room with a 30-29 halftime lead. McDonald had all of her four steals in the first half.
Gary finished with 13 points for Mount Olive, while Nesmith came within one rebound of her 11th double-double of the season. Making her first start of the year, Mobley pulled down a season-high five boards. The Trojans outrebounded Pfeiffer 43-34.
Christina Harvey led Pfeiffer with 16 points and eight rebounds, while Lemons added 15 points and seven rebounds.
Tuesday's loss knocks Mount Olive out of contention of hosting a first round game in next week's Conference Carolinas Tournament. The Trojans will be the No. 5, 6 or 7 seed and will play its first round game at Barton, Coker or Pfeiffer.
Mount Olive concludes regular season play Friday as the Trojans travel to Wilson, N.C., to take on Barton in Conference Carolinas action. Mount Olive lost the first meeting 54-50 January 31 at Kornegay Arena. Tip-off is 5:30 p.m., followed by Trojan men's basketball at Barton.