Joneiqua Gary and Jasmine McDonald scored 14 points apiece and University of Mount Olive held off a late charge as the Trojans extended their winning streak to seven with a 60-48 victory over Erskine in Conference Carolinas women's basketball Saturday at Kornegay Arena. The Trojans held Erskine to only six points through the first 16-plus minutes of the first half.
After spotting Erskine the first basket of the game, Mount Olive (15-7 overall, 10-4 Conference Carolinas) came back with eight unanswered points as Jasmine McDonald's jumper put the Trojans on top to stay. Tara Potter hit a layup for Erskine with 15:48 left in the half, but the Flying Fleet would go more than 12 minutes before their next field goal.
Katie Paschal's basket with 10:18 left put Mount Olive's lead at double figures for the remainder of the game. Andrea Jones and Joneiqua Gary followed with three pointers and McDonald sank a pair of free throws to extend the Trojans' lead to 28-6 with 4:55 remaining before halftime.
Erskine's field goal drought and seven-minute scoring drought ended when Raygon Hendrix hit a layup with 3:25 remaining, but Mount Olive connected on six consecutive free throws to stretch the lead to as many as 24 points. Naomi Stuger converted a three-point play with 48 seconds left for Erskine and Mount Olive went into halftime with a 35-13 lead.
Ty Wallace forced a turnover and drew a charge on Erskine's first two possessions of the second half as Mount Olive built the lead to as many as 27 points. Paschal hit a layup off a steal and Kirksten Mitchell hit a pair of free throws with 10:02 left to give the Trojans a 46-19 lead.
Erskine (12-10, 7-7) chipped away at the lead as the Flying Fleet got a spark from Andrienne Bannerman's layup off of Haleigh Spaulding's pass from the backcourt over the top of the Trojan defense. Erskine brought the margin under 20 points with less than four minutes left on another layup by Bannerman after a steal by Spaulding. Bannerman added a three-pointer and Potter hit a pair of free throws with 1:47 left to pull the Flying Fleet within 57-44.
Andrea Jones dashed Erskine's comeback hopes with a three-pointer on Mount Olive's next possession to preserve the win.
Saturday's contest was in direct contrast of the first meeting between the two teams this season, a game that saw the lead change hands 20 times before Erskine scored the winning basket with 12 seconds left.
McDonald was a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line as the Trojans hit 17 of their last 20 free throw attempts to overcome a 1-for-5 start. McDonald added four assists and seven rebounds, while Anamaria Zjacic led the Trojans on the boards with nine rebounds. Jones added 10 points for Mount Olive.
Potter had game highs of 16 points and 16 rebounds for Erskine, despite having to sit out the latter part of the first half with three fouls and playing much of the second half with four fouls. Bannerman added 14 points off the bench, while Spaulding dished out a game-high six assists.
Mount Olive returns to action Monday as the Trojans travel to Belmont, N.C., to take on Belmont Abbey in a Conference Carolinas match-up. The game was originally scheduled to have been played this past week, but was postponed twice due to snow. Tip-off is 5:30 p.m.