Joneiqua Gary's three-pointer early in the first half triggered a 22-5 run that put University of Mount Olive ahead to stay and the Trojans went on to defeat North Greenville University 73-47 in Conference Carolinas women's basketball Saturday at Kornegay Arena. Katie Paschal led the all players with 15 points and five assists as the Trojans celebrated the 31st Annual University of Mount Olive Basketball Church Night.
After falling behind 8-4, Mount Olive (12-7 overall, 7-4 Conference Carolinas) scored eight unanswered points as Gary hit a three on the Trojans' first possession after a 30-second time out. North Greenville rallied to tie the game, but Anamaria Zjacic's layup broke the tie and Kirksten Mitchell capped a 10-0 run with a three-pointer and a layup off her own steal to give the Trojans their first double-digit lead at 22-12 with 8:47 left in the first half.
The lead grew to 13 points before North Greenville (6-12, 2-8) used Emily Wampler's three-pointer and a pair of free throws by Alisha Hope to pull within 26-18 with 6:11 remaining. But the Crusaders got no closer as Kiara Jones connected on a pair of free throws with 3:38 left to push the margin to double figures at 30-20.
Shy'Lia Buie found Jones and Gary for open layups to give Mount Olive its biggest lead of the half at 38-23 with 39 seconds left. Aliyah Stokes went the length of the court for a layup at the buzzer to pull North Greenville within 38-25 at halftime.
In the second half, the margin never fell below 12 points and reached the 30-point mark at 66-36 on Gary's layup with 6:51 left to play.
Mitchell scored 14 points off the bench for Mount Olive, while Jasmine McDonald added 13 points and eight rebounds. Gary finished with 11 points and four assists.
Timisty Nelson led North Greenville with nine points and a game-high nine rebounds.
Mount Olive returns to action Wednesday as the Trojans take on Pfeiffer in a Conference Carolinas match-up at Misenheimer, N.C. The Trojans defeated the Falcons 59-36 December 4 at Kornegay Arena in a rematch of the championship game of last year's conference tournament, won by Mount Olive. Tip-off is 5:30 p.m.