Ni'ya Styles hit three-pointers in a span of less than 90 seconds early in the second half to help University of Mount Olive cut a 16-point deficit down to five, but the rally came up short as the Trojans fell to nationally 15th-ranked Limestone 68-54 in Conference Carolinas women's basketball Tuesday at Kornegay Arena. Styles scored 12 of her 18 points in the second half and scored all of her points from beyond the arc.
Mount Olive (2-3 overall, 1-1 Conference Carolinas) trailed by 13 points at halftime before Styles answered a Limestone basket with a three-pointer 59 seconds into the second half. Styles added another three-pointer less than a minute later to bring the deficit down to single digits for the first time since midway through the first half.
Styles hit again from long range with 17:43 left in the contest to pull the Trojans within 39-33. Limestone (4-1, 2-0) pushed the lead back to nine before Shy'lia Buie halted the Saints' mini-run with a steal and layup. After a Rachel Fehl steal, Styles found Kiara Jones for a layup to pull Mount Olive within 44-39 with 14:08 remaining. But that's as close as the Trojans would get.
Ayshia McNeil scored six points during a 10-2 Limestone run as the Saints stretched the lead back to double digits at 54-41 with 10:51 remaining. Mount Olive never got any closer than nine points the rest of the way.
Free throws proved to be a difference in the game as Limestone outscored Mount Olive 16-5 from the free throw line. The Saints were 11-for-13 in the second half, compared to 1-for-1 and a lane violation for the Trojans.
In the first half, Jones' 10-foot jumper with 11:52 left pulled Mount Olive within 14-11 before the Trojans went on a four-minute scoreless drought. Three-pointers by Maurissa Lester and Morgan Brown highlighted an 11-0 run to extend Limestone's lead to 25-11.
The Trojans' scoring drought ended when Fehl made a steal from behind, drove and dished the ball to Jones, who finished with a layup with 7:35 left before halftime. Mount Olive got as close as 10, but Limestone built its biggest lead of the half at 32-16 with 2:50 remaining after Alicia Brookins converted on her third putback attempt of the possession.
Styles hit a three-pointer for Mount Olive with 1:35 left and the Trojans went on to close the gap to 35-22 at the break.
Arieal Johnson finished with 13 points and eight rebounds for Mount Olive, while Ty Wallace pulled down 10 boards for her fourth double-digit rebound total in five games this season. Shy'lia Buie dished out six assists.
Jasmine Kearse led Limestone with 14 points and seven assists, while McNeil added 13 points. Brookins flirted with a triple-double with 10 points, 11 rebounds and six steals.
Mount Olive is idle until December 3 when the Trojans play host to Erskine in Conference Carolinas action. Tip-off is 5:30 p.m. at Kornegay Arena.