Mount Olive Downs Hawks of Chowan 63-57 in midweek Conference Match-up

Hope Toliver against SWU. (Photos by Willis Brown)
Hope Toliver against SWU. (Photos by Willis Brown)

MURFREESBORO, North Carolina - The University of Mount Olive women's basketball team battled back to defeat the Hawks of Chowan University 63-57 in Conference Carolinas action on Tuesday evening in Murfreesboro, NC. Mount Olive improves to 4-1, 2-0, while the Hawks fall to 1-4 and 1-1.

The contest is the second consecutive win for the Trojans after coming off a close loss in the scrimmage at UNC Wilmington last week. UMO is 2-0 in conference action.

UMO got on the scoreboard first with a layup from Hope Toliver just 12 seconds into the game. The Trojans put the first 10 points of the game on the board before the Hawks of Chowan scored their first basket at 4:22 on the clock. Mount Olive went on a 7-2 run capped by a three-pointer from Makayla Nichols at 2:17 remaining in the opening quarter to put UMO up 17-4. A free-throw by the Hawks put the score at 17-5 heading into the second quarter of the game. 

Chowan chipped away at Mount Olive's 13-point lead throughout the second quarter and claimed their first lead of the contest, 25-24, following a three-pointer by Mariah Coker with 1:30 before the halftime horn. Another three from Coker gave the Hawks a four-point, 28-24, lead heading into the break.

The Trojans scored back-to-back baskets tying the score at 28 all 30 seconds into the third quarter. The teams traded baskets over the next few minutes with the Trojans reclaiming the lead, 35-33, following a three-pointer from Ivanda Hudjakova with 4:32 remaining in the quarter. Chowan went on a 7-4 run to close the third and lead 40-39 heading into the final ten minutes of action.

Hudjakova scored five quick points to open the fourth giving UMO a 44-40 lead. Over the next four minutes, the Trojans opened up an eight-point lead, 53-45, after an Azariah Fields jumper with 5:54 on the clock. Mount Olive held on to their lead and increased their lead to 12 points, 61-49, with less than two minutes to play. Chowan scored eight points to try and come back but the Trojans held off the rallying Hawks to win 63-57.

The Trojans were led by senior Hope Toliver with 17 points while shooting 8-11 from the field. Azariah Fields and Ivanda Hudjakova joined Toliver in double digits with 12 and 11 points respectively. Kelly Post tallied a team-high seven rebounds with Fields adding six and Jada Bacchus and Hudjakova each recording five. Bacchus, Post, and Fields each made three steals.

The Hawks were led by Mariah Coker with 19 points and Demetria Bland who tallied 14 points. Jahkeria Bagby recorded a team-high five rebounds while Coker and Monique Jones led with three assists.

The critical moment of the game came in the opening five minutes of the fourth quarter when UMO took an eight-point lead that they managed to hold on to and win against the Hawks.

Mount Olive is back in action this Saturday, Nov. 30, when they return to Kornegay Arena to host regional opponent Francis Marion. Game time is set for 2 PM in Mount Olive, NC.