Ni'ya Styles led the University of Mount Olive with 20 points as the Trojans defeated the Lees-McRae College Bobcats 69-65 Tuesday night in Banner Elk, N.C. in Conference Carolinas women's basketball. Styles scored the final nine points to hold off a Bobcat rally in the fourth quarter.
Mount Olive (1-3 overall, 1-0 Conference Carolinas) was able to survive an 8-to-2 run by Lees-McRae (0-5, 0-1) in the final two minutes of regulation to take a four point victory and its' first in conference play. The game was also the Conference Carolinas opener for both squads.
The Trojans looked to take the game in full control after an Arieal Johnson layup sparked a 10-0 run with 4:15 remaining in the fourth quarter. However, Tayler Collins of Lees-McRae stopped the run and put up five unanswered points by herself to make it a three point game at 65-62. The Bobcats began to foul and after three fouls the Trojans were put on the free-throw line. Styles hit her free-throws with 14 seconds to go. Another three-pointer by the Bobcats made it just a one possession game with six seconds remaining.
Styles went to the line again and made both of her free-throw attempts and put Mount Olive ahead to what became the final score at 69-65. The Bobcats, did however attempt a last second three-pointer but it was off the mark and the Trojans walked away with the win.
Mount Olive started the game off with an interesting set of circumstances. Due to a backboard light technical issue at Lees-McRae, the Bobcats were assessed a technical foul before the game's official tip-off. This led to Shy'Lia Buie heading to the free-throw line where she gave the Trojans the lead and Mount Olive was also given possession to start-off the game. Jada Bacchus' layup three seconds in put Mount Olive a head by three.
The Trojans, however could not hold onto the lead as the Bobcats took a 17-16 score into the second quarter. In the final seconds of the second quarter Mount Olive took the last three points and went into the half down 34-30.
Despite trailing coming into the third quarter, Mount Olive started hot. The Trojans after surrendering a layup, went on an 9-to-2 run and gave themselves the lead for the first time in over 13 minutes. The lead did exchange hands, however Mount Olive was able to stay on top heading into the final quarter; up 51-48.
The final quarter saw a much closer game as Mount Olive outscored Lees-McRae by a single point.
Styles added three assists to her point total for the night and Johnson picked up her third double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 boards. Buie added 10 points to round out the Trojans in double figures. Kiara Jones coming off a career high point game against Virginia Union this past Saturday finished the game with 13 boards and five points.
Tayler Collins led the Bobcats with 15 points as three player finished with double figures.
Mount Olive is off until after the Thanksgiving holiday when the Trojans head to Pembroke, N.C. to take on the UNC Pembroke Brave November 28 at 2 p.m.