University of Mount Olive cut a 24-point second-half deficit to single digits, but the Trojans suffered the first conference loss of the season, falling to Limestone 74-60 in Conference Carolinas women's basketball Saturday at Kornegay Arena. Jasmine McDonald scored 14 of her team-high 16 points in the second half, including 10 points in a span of less than three minutes to spark the Trojans' comeback.
Mount Olive (7-4 overall, 2-1 Conference Carolinas) trailed 61-37 with 10:47 left in the contest before the Trojans started chipping away at the lead. After a pair of free throws by Ty Wallace and a short jumper by Kiara Jones, McDonald converted three-point plays on back-to-back Trojan possessions. Mount Olive held Limestone scoreless for more than six minutes and a steal by Jones led to a pair of free throws by McDonald to pull the Trojans within 63-51 with 3:21 left to play.
After a Trojan free throw and a Limestone turnover, Andrea Jones' layup with 2:46 remaining cut the margin to single digits at 63-54. But that was as close as Mount Olive would get. Celestra Warren hit a pair of baskets for Limestone (8-3, 3-0) and the lead never fell below 10 points the rest of the way.
In the first half, four straight points by Wallace pulled Mount Olive within 18-12 with 10:13 left before halftime. Warren hit a pair of free throws to give Limestone a 26-16 lead with 7:46 remaining and the margin stayed at double figures for the remaining of the half. Warren scored the first eight points of a 16-2 run as the Saints' lead ballooned to 44-20. Katie Paschal hit a pair of free throws for Mount Olive with 26 seconds left and the Trojans went into the locker room trailing 44-22.
Wallace finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and a career-high five blocked shots for Mount Olive. Gary added 12 points and five steals. The Trojans missed on their first 19 3-point attempts before Gary connected with 22 seconds left in the contest.
Warren led all players with 21 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for Limestone. Alicia Brookins finished with 18 points and eight rebounds for the Saints, while Ayshia McNeil added 17 points off the bench.
Mount Olive completes its three-game homestand Wednesday as the Trojans play host to King in a Conference Carolinas match-up. Tip-off is 5:30 p.m. at Kornegay Arena.