Jasmine McDonald and Kirksten Mitchell combine for 30 points as the University of Mount Olive advances to the Women's Basketball Championship Final in the 2014 Conference Carolinas Women's Basketball Tournament Powered By OrthoCarolina Wednesday afternoon at Cabarrus Arena and Events Center in Concord, N.C.
Katie Paschal got the Trojans going with the first points in the first half and Mount Olive went on an opening 6-0 run.
Tiffany Webster stopped the Trojan run with a free throw and Barton was on the board. The Bulldogs scored five unanswered points and tied the game up with 15:49 left in the first half.
McDonald broke the tie with a three-pointer and Mount Olive regained the lead for the remainder of the game as the lead grew to as large 12 in the first half.
Barton used the three-ball to get the lead down to eight twice as Ashley Thornton and Tiffany Webster knocked down their shots.
Paschal's layup fell and the lead went back up to double digits for the Trojans. Mount Olive took a nine point lead 36-27 into the break after a made free throw from Thornton.
In the second half Mount Olive continued to extend their lead as it grew to as large as 17 and never fell below five.
A jumper by Shatisha Dukes and a three-pointer by Thornton drew the Bulldogs to within five with 15:27 in the game.
The two teams kept the game close as it bounced back and forth between a six and nine point game for the next ten minutes. Barton did however get the Mount Olive lead that regrew to 12 down to eight in that time frame.
With under five minutes left in the game the Trojans made one final big run to seal the deal. McDonald got her layup to fall with 4:33 left in the game to start the 10-0 run. Mitchell scored eight of her 16 points in the run. Mitchell only played 21 minutes but tallied 16 points in the short span.
For the Trojans Mitchell and Joneiqua Gary both finished tied for the team high with 16 points. McDonald added 10 rebounds to go along with her 14 points for a double-double. Paschal also had 14 points. Ty Wallace contributed 14 rebounds and six points.
Barton's leading scorer was Thornton with 18 points. Tiffany Webster followed her with 11.
This is the first time in women's basketball history that Mount Olive has gone 3-0 versus the Barton College Bulldogs in a single season.
Head Coach Wendy Lee talked about what it meant to play a rival like Barton in the tournament:
"People like to talk about rivalries and what they mean in games but to us we just try to prepare for each game, I don't really think about that. We want to prepare for one game at a time."
Lee Continued to talk about the team:
"I am also really proud of the leadership of the seniors on this team; it is what's pushing us through".
Both McDonald and Mitchell in a postgame interview talked about the experience of playing in the Conference Carolinas tournament and the atmosphere now that it is being held at the Cabarrus Arena and Events Center.
McDonald said: "It took me back to last year when we made it to the NCAA tournament and how it was like there. I like it because you don't have to worry about a team bringing their home crowd it's a step up".
"I agree with Jmac, I like it, at first it when it wasn't held at a big arena it didn't make it feel like it was as important as all the other Division I & II conferences but now it feels like we're up there with all the bigger conferences. I am really glad that they moved it to a neutral site because you don't have to fight a home crowd you can just go out there and play" said Mitchell.
Mount Olive is the Championship game for the fifth time in the last seven. The Trojans are two time champions going back to last year and 2008.
Mount Olive will play in the 2014 Conference Carolinas Women's Basketball Tournament Championship Final versus Limestone College Powered By OrthoCarolina Thursday night at Cabarrus Arena and Events Center in Concord, N.C. The last meeting with Limestone in the conference tournament was last year in the semifinal round when Mount Olive won in overtime 79-66. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m. tomorrow.