Kirksten Mitchell scored 22 points and Tamara Nesmith added 21 points as No. 5 seed Mount Olive defeated fourth-seeded Coker 84-64 in the quarterfinal round of the 2013 Conference Carolinas Women's Basketball Tournament Tuesday at Hartsville, S.C. The Trojans led by 15 at halftime and the margin stayed in double figures throughout the second half.
With the win, the Trojans advance to the semifinal round Friday against top-seeded and nationally eighth-ranked Limestone.
Mount Olive (16-11) built a 54-34 lead after Jasmine McDonald's basket with 14:27 left in the game. Coker (18-11) scored the next eight points and Amber Lau's three-pointer with 9:35 remaining pulled the Cobras within 57-47.
Joneiqua Gary sank a pair of free throws on Mount Olive's next possession and Mitchell followed with a layup to slow down Coker's run and help extend the Trojans' lead to 62-47 with 8:51 left.
Coker got as close as 11 points, but Mitchell hit a basket and converted a three-point play on consecutive possessions to give the Trojans a 72-56 lead with 3:31 remaining. After Angie Lawrence hit a three-pointer for Coker, Nesmith's three-point play triggered a 12-2 run to put the game away.
The first 10 minutes of the game saw three ties and three lead changes before Mitchell's three-pointer and three-point play during a 13-2 run gave Mount Olive its first double-digit lead at 31-20 with 6:20 left in the first half. Lawrence answered with a three-pointer on Coker's next possession, but Mount Olive would hold the Cobras to just three points over the final six minutes of the half.
Alyssa Luebs' layup put the margin back to double figures, and Mitchell and Gary added three-pointers for the Trojans. Mount Olive's lead grew to 16 points after Nesmith's basket with 58 seconds left and the Trojans went into the locker room with a 41-26 halftime advantage.
Coker pulled within 11 points early in the second half, but Kirstin Mobley scored five straight points for Mount Olive with a layup and a three-point play to spark an 11-2 run and give the Trojans their first 20-point lead.
Gary finished with 10 points for the Trojans, while McDonald added nine points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Mount Olive was 15-for-27 (55.6 percent) from the floor in the second half and shot 50.8 percent for the game.
Lau and Lawrence led Coker with 16 points apiece.
Mount Olive lost both of this year's regular season meetings and Tuesday's win brought back memories of the 2002-03 season. The Trojans lost both regular season meetings that year, but defeated Coker in the first round of the conference tournament.
Limestone advanced with a narrow 67-61 win over No. 8 seed King. Friday's semifinal game tips off at 7 p.m. at Gaffney, S.C. The winner advances to the championship game Sunday afternoon.