Arieal Johnson and Kiara Jones both posted double-doubles and University of Mount Olive set a school record for fewest points allowed in a game as the second-seeded Trojans defeated No. 7 seed Pfeiffer University 55-25 in the quarterfinal round of the 2016 Conference Carolinas Women's Basketball Tournament Monday at Kornegay Arena. Johnson finished with game highs of 22 points and 18 rebounds, while Jones added 15 points and 13 rebounds for Mount Olive, which extended its winning streak to nine.
With the win, Mount Olive (19-10) advances to the semifinal round to face third-seeded King University, a 77-56 winner over North Greenville University. Top-seeded Limestone College will play host to the "final four" Thursday and Friday evening.
Jones scored six of her points in the first five minutes of the contest as Mount Olive jumped out to an 8-0 lead. Pfeiffer (8-19) was held scoreless until Meg Pritchard hit a pair of free throws with 5:07 left in the first quarter. Grayson Harris's putback with 2:05 remaining was the first field goal allowed by the Trojans.
A pair of free throws by Johnson with two seconds left in the first quarter gave Mount Olive a 16-6 lead and the margin never fell below eight points the remainder of the contest. Pfeiffer's Shontai Totten one-handed a halfcourt shot off the glass just after the buzzer.
Ni'ya Styles' diagonal pass from above the left wing found Felicity Havens for an uncontested layup as Mount Olive extended its lead to 22-10 with 3:01 left before halftime. Havens put back a missed shot with 30 seconds left and Johnson blocked a shot with 10 seconds remaining as the Trojans went into the half with a 26-12 advantage. Johnson herself outscored the Falcons 14-12 in the first half.
After Mount Olive built the lead to 18 points midway through the third quarter, Pfeiffer pulled within 34-20 with 3:50 remaining after a three-pointer by Pritchard and a basket by Kayla Whitworth. But the Falcons went scoreless on their next nine possessions and Jones' layup with 8:40 left in the contest off a dish from the top of the key by Rachel Fehl extended Mount Olive's lead to 40-20.
The margin reached the 30-point mark when Julie Gonzalez-Rodriguez stole the ball and drove the length of the court for a layup with 31 seconds remaining.
Monday's game marked the second time in UMO women's basketball history the Trojans held a team below 30 points. Mount Olive defeated Erskine 81-29 during the 2006-07 season for the previous record for fewest points allowed.
Styles dished out a game-high six assists, while Fehl added five assists. Havens and Daria Simmons each pulled down eight boards as the Trojans outrebounded the Falcons 64-31. Jada Bacchus finished with six rebounds and four steals.
Pritchard led Pfeiffer with 11 points and a pair of three-pointers, the only successful three-point field goals for either team in the game. Ariana Tillman led all players with five steals.
Mount Olive and King split their two games during the regular season, each winning on the other's home court. The Tornado won 64-61 January 19 at Kornegay Arena, while the Trojans won 70-67 February 6 at Bristol, Tenn. The two teams are meeting in the tournament for the second year in a row. Mount Olive won 72-69 at King last year as a No. 7 seed.
In Monday's other quarterfinals, Limestone defeated No. 8 seed Belmont Abbey College 91-51, while No. 4 seed Erskine College pulled away from fifth-seeded Barton College 87-71. Limestone will face Erskine in the other semifinal round.
The semifinals take place Thursday at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. It has not yet been announced if Mount Olive will play in the early game or late game, although the host school typically plays in the late game. The winners advance to the semifinals Friday at 7 p.m.
Mount Olive is seeking its fourth consecutive appearance in the Championship Game and its seventh appearance in the last nine years. The Trojans won conference titles in 2008 and 2013. The tournament champion earns an automatic bid to the 2016 NCAA Division II Southeast Regional.