Mount Olive outscored Pfeiffer 18-1 over the final 14 minutes of the first half to break away from a tie game as the Trojans went on to defeat the Falcons 59-36 in Conference Carolinas women's basketball Wednesday at Kornegay Arena. Katie Paschal led all players with 23 points for the Trojans, while Jasmine McDonald narrowly missed her first triple-double with 10 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists. The win was Mount Olive's third in a row.
The contest was the conference opener for both teams and was a rematch of the championship game of last year's Conference Carolinas Women's Basketball Tournament, won by the Trojans 79-74 in overtime.
Joniequa Gary's jumper with 14:07 left in the first half broke a 12-12 tie and Mount Olive (4-2 overall, 1-0 Conference Carolinas) led for the remainder of the game. Gary and Paschal combined for all of the Trojans' first 14 points with seven points apiece.
Mount Olive built the lead to 20-12 before Alexis Stallard's free throw with 6:43 left in the half ended a more than eight-minute scoring drought for Pfeiffer (1-7, 0-1). The Falcons would not score again in the first half.
McDonald's jumper with 5:15 left extended Mount Olive's lead to 22-13, but the margin would not reach double digits until the final two minutes of the half. A Paschal layup with 1:55 remaining gave Mount Olive an 11-point lead and Paschal and Gary both connected on three-pointers in the final 55 seconds as the Trojans went into the locker room with a 30-13 halftime advantage.
Mount Olive continued its scoring run early in the second half as baskets by McDonald and Kirksten Mitchell extended the Trojans' lead past the 20-point mark. Stallard hit a layup with 18:21 remaining for Pfeiffer's first field goal since her tying three-pointer with 15:02 left in the first half.
The Trojans led by as many as 26 points in the second half and the margin never fell below 19 points.
Paschal was 10-for-16 from the field as she reached her season high for the second consecutive game. McDonald also had four steals and a blocked shot to go with her near triple-double figures. McDonald had already registered in every statistical category before scoring her first points of the game.
Gary, who is tied for fifth in the nation in three-point field goals per game, matched her average with four 3's and finished with 16 points to go with six rebounds. Anamaria Zjacic pulled down a season-high seven rebounds and Ty Wallace added six boards as the Trojans outrebounded the Falcons 51-23.
Stallard and Vivian Doerr led Pfeiffer with eight points apiece. Carlisha Holivay pulled down seven rebounds, while Lauren White recorded three blocked shots.
Mount Olive returns to action Sunday as the Trojans play host to Virginia Union in a non-conference match-up. Tip-off is 3 p.m. at Kornegay Arena.