Arieal Johnson recorded the third 20-rebound game in school history, but it wasn't enough as University of Mount Olive fell to North Greenville 85-78 in overtime in Conference Carolinas women's basketball Monday at Tigerville, S.C. Johnson finished with 20 rebounds to tie for the second highest single-game rebound total in Trojan women's basketball history.
Mount Olive (6-11 Overall, 4-7 Conference Carolinas) surrendered the first points of the contest and allowed North Greenville (6-11, 5-6) to jump out to a 9-2 lead with 16:38 left in the first period. The Crusaders pushed their margin to 11 after a made jumper by Johnson and took the game's largest lead of the first period at 15-4 with 14:15 left before the break.
The Trojans were helped by an eight point run that was finished off by an Anamaria Zjacic steal and layup that tied the game at 17 with eight minutes to play in the opening half. The game was tied once more before Mount Olive completed the first half comeback with 5:19 left in the first period. A three-pointer by Rachel Fehl gave the Trojans their first lead 22-21.
North Greenville fought to try and keep the Trojan lead under five and the game went back-and-forth for the remainder of the half with the score staying between three and five points for the Trojans. Ty Wallace hit a final second jumper to keep Mount Olive up five going into the half 34-29.
In the second half Mount Olive did not let up as Ni'Ya Styles used two threes to extend the lead to nine for the Trojans with 17:19 left in the game. The Trojans went on to use an 8-0 run at the 13:43 mark capped off by a three-pointer by Shy'lia Buie to put them up 49-38, the largest lead Mount Olive had in the game.
The Crusaders began to claw their way back with fewer than thirteen and half to play. A jumper by Cortney Williams started a 7-2 run by North Greenville that brought the margin under 11, 51-45 with 12:25 left in the game.
North Greenville then had another big run as the Crusaders put up 10 unanswered points and the Mount Olive lead was cut to 55-54 with 6:34 left in the game. The Crusaders took back the lead 58-57 with 5:04 remaining on Alisha Hope's jumper.
Leah Graham scored 3-of-5 points in a run that pushed Mount Olive up four with just over three minutes to play. North Greenville then scored four straight points to tie the ballgame up at 63 with :28 left in regulation. The Trojans had a chance for the last second shot but the clock expired and overtime was needed.
In overtime North Greenville had the early momentum as an 8-0 run quickly put the Crusaders up 71-63 with 2:17 left. Johnson stopped the run with a two-point basket and Mount Olive counter attacked with a 5-2 run to bring the Crusader lead to 73-68.
North Greenville took the lead up to nine after a layup and two free throws with :44 left in the game. Mount Olive was able to get the deficit to five but was unable to complete the comeback as the Trojans fell in overtime 83-78.
Wendy Lee talked about the team's performance in the overtime loss.
"I cannot fault our efforts but North Greenville hit the big shots when then needed them both in the second half and in the overtime period and I believe that was the key to the game. We did not play as hard defensively in overtime."
Lee added "Not being up in the face of the shooters led to them hitting big time shots when they needed them and that was the difference in a very close game."
Johnson finished with 11 points to go along with her 20 rebounds. Wallace finished with 22 points and 12 boards. Buie topped out the Mount Olive players in double figures with 10 points and four assists.
Hope led for the Crusaders with 20 points. Four other North Greenville players scored in double figures.
Mount Olive will return home this Friday to host King University in the Blackout game sponsored by Piggly Wiggly. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m.