Belmont women top Mount Olive
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 20, 2004 2:00 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- The desire and hunger to put wins on the board is obvious when watching the Mount Olive College women's basketball team. But the youth and inexperience has taken its toll this season, which has led to some disappointing losses.
The one glaring factor is the Trojans' inability to consistently finish plays -- on offense one game and on defense in another.
Problems surfaced on both ends of the court Monday evening against Belmont Abbey. The Trojan women failed to communicate in their man-to-man defense and struggled offensively against Belmont Abbey's matchup zone in a 74-67 defeat at College Hall.
Mount Olive (6-6) endured its third setback in its last four outings and slipped to 3-3 against NCAA Division II Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference opposition.
Belmont Abbey, the reigning CVAC champion, seized its third straight road win. The Crusaders (7-6) leap-frogged over the Trojans into third place in the league at 4-2.
"We had a good game against Erskine where I thought we played very well on defense," Trojans coach Wendy Lawrence said. "We wanted to bring that same game plan into tonight's game."
Mount Olive defended the 3-point line well and held Belmont Abbey to 12.5 percent shooting (1 of 8).
However, the Trojans' off-the-dribble and ball defense was not every effective. The Crusaders methodically worked their offense against Mount Olive's man-to-man strategy and attacked at certain spots. Lawrence's team did not call out screens and did not take away the baseline, which led to numerous uncontested layups in each half.
"I think we were working hard on defense and putting good pressure on the ball," Lawrence said. "I think they set some good screens on the baseline. We didn't talk to help the person get through the screen, or we didn't switch when we were supposed to."
The Trojans bolted to a 12-5 lead on the strength of their transition game and the Crusaders' inability to deny dribble penetration.
Belmont Abbey coach Missy Tiber switched to a 2-3 matchup zone, and that proved to be a formidable equalizer. The Crusaders slightly extended their zone to prevent the guards from unloading 3-pointers on the perimeter. The scheme also allowed Belmont Abbey's guards, especially Jervorah Whitfield (five steals), to deflect passes for steals or force the Trojans to reverse the ball and use more time on the shot clock.
The Crusaders yielded one field goal and one free throw during an eight-minute stretch as they erupted for 20-3 run.
"I decided we're going to make them beat us from the outside before we lose to them," Tiber said. "It was good to us the whole first half. We matched up well and knew where 11 (Ladora Charles) was all night. We weren't going to let her make threes from the outside and beat us.
"She's a great player, so we didn't want to let her loose."
Charles had one 3-pointer in the opening half, but went 0-for-3 behind the arc in the second half.
Mount Olive fought back and closed the gap to 36-33 on Tanika Hudgins' short jumper. Belmont Abbey closed the half with a 7-2 run that included Yvette Battle's uncontested shot in the final five seconds.
Charles hit her first two shots in the second half off dribble penetration. Hudgins drained a 3-pointer and Latoria Harvey converted an offensive putback which whittled the Crusaders' advantage to 45-44 at the 15:20 mark.
Tiber made some subtle substitutions and the zone defense immediately tightened. Mount Olive fell out of its attack mode and didn't make a field for five minutes. Belmont took advantage of the drought and rebuilt its lead to 56-46.
"For some reason, a mental block when we see a zone, we change our tempo and our attack," Lawrence said. "We're obviously a lot better off when we're moving the ball and attacking."
Teneal Boone's short jumper in the lane pulled the Trojans within 64-59 with 5:15 to go. Belmont Abbey scored the next eight points for yet another double-digit lead and pulled away for its third straight win against Mount Olive.
The Trojans lost for the first time in five games when they have four players to score in double figures. Charles finished with 20, while Hudgins knocked down 16 on 7 of 15 shooting from the floor. Boone added 11, while Harvey notched her ninth double-double -- 11 points, 10 rebounds -- of the season.
Whitfield paced the Crusaders with a season-best 20 points.
MOUNT OLIVE (67)
Latoria Harvey 3 0 5-6 11, Teneal Boone 5 0 1-2 11, Shenetta Moye 0 1 0-0 3, Tanika Hudgins 5 2 0-0 16, Brandy Smith 2 0 0-0 4, Ladora Charles 5 1 7-8 20, LeAnn Simms 1 0 0-0 2, Darlisha Stanfield 0 0 0-0 0, Melanie Cobb 0 0 0-0 0, Tilah Worthy 0 0 0-0 0, Amber Hill 0 0 0-0 0.
BELMONT ABBEY (74)
Nicole Woods 6 0 1-2 13, Nola Grant 5 0 4-7 14, Yvette Battle 5 0 5-11 15, Whitney Robinson 1 0 0-0 2, Valorie Bennett 0 1 1-2 4, Jeannette Johansson 0 0 0-0 0, Jervorah Whitfield 8 0 4-6 20, Meredith Martin 0 0 0-0 0, Heather Schleupner 1 0 2-2 4, Valerie Zarse 1 0 0-0 2.
Halftime -- Belmont Abbey 43, Mount Olive 35. Three-point baskets -- Mount Olive 4-21 (Moye 1-2; Hudgins 2-6; Smith 0-3; Charles 1-7; Simms 0-2; Stanfield 0-1); Belmont Abbey 1-8 (Battle 0-1, Robinson 0-1, Bennett 1-5, Schleupner 0-1). Rebounds -- Mount Olive 37 (Harvey 10), Belmont Abbey 34 (Grant 7). Assists -- Mount Olive 9, Belmont Abbey 16 (Bennett 6). Turnovers -- Mount Olive 18, Belmont Abbey 19. Blocked shots -- Mount Olive 2 (Boone), Belmont Abbey 5 (Grant 4). Steals -- Mount Olive 11 (Boone 4), Belmont Abbey 11 (Whitfield 5). Fouled out -- Hudgins. Technical fouls -- none.
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