Battered Lady Trojans lose to Barton
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 3, 2004 2:00 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Playing on Monday evening hasn't brought much luck to the Mount Olive College women's team. And when you've got an injured starter on the bench and another playing less than 100 percent, that unwelcomed statistic becomes a little more personified.
Trojan point guard LeAnn Simms, who sustained a knee injury in Saturday's overtime loss against Anderson, watched from the sidelines. Teneal Boone battled with a torn rotator cuff in her left shoulder and nearly snared a double-double.
Those injuries, key offensive lapses and Barton College's post play all took their toll.
Mount Olive fell to 1-4 in Monday night games with an 87-72 loss against the regionally-ranked Bulldogs at College Hall. The Trojan women slipped to 7-11 overall and 3-7 against NCAA Division II Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference competition.
"I think we lost to a good team and a very physical team that's good in all five spots when they're out there," Mount Olive coach Wendy Lawrence said. "They've got good depth; can put some rotation in and give their players breaks.
"We're suffering with a lack of depth. We've had four games in the past six days, so I think we were a little bit tired and a little bit winded."
Simms' absence was notable. Senior guard Ladora Charles experienced flashbacks of last season as she either brought the ball upcourt at times against the Bulldogs' press, or took the point to set up the offense. Not having Simms also created some depth and experience problems for the Trojans' backcourt.
Charles tallied her first basket, a 3-pointer, with 3:56 left in the opening half. The Jacksonville native finished with 18 points, which included a season-best 7-of-7 effort from the free-throw line.
Boone grimaced nearly every time she banged bodies underneath with Barton players. The injury didn't bother her too much as she shot 56 percent (5-of-9) from the floor and finished with 10 points. The 6-foot-1 sophomore forward snagged six rebounds, including four in the second half.
Barton's frontcourt tandem of Kelly Lamotta and Keauna Vinson gave the Trojans fits all night. Each constantly got open for easy looks underneath the basket either in transition or in the Bulldogs' halfcourt set.
Lamotta, who has averaged nearly 30 points in her last three outings, pumped in a game-high 25 on 11-of-18 shooting. Vinson, a Division I transfer from High Point University, added 21 points on a sterling 9-of-13 performance.
"Both of them played well," Barton coach Wendee Saintsing said. "They didn't rebound as well as I would have liked for them to, but offensively they're getting to where they're comfortable with each other. They're working well together."
Lamotta and Vinson combined for 16 rebounds, one blocked shot and five steals. Lamotta played 38-plus minutes, while Vinson recorded 36 minutes.
"Their post really hurt us," Lawrence said. "It helps when you've got a Division I transfer, because not many teams are going to have the luxury."
Lamotta and Vinson established their post presence early. The two had several key baskets as the Bulldogs put together runs of 9-0 and 17-10 during the first half. Barton shot a blistering 80 percent (9-of-10) in the first five minutes and averaged nearly 67 percent at the 10-minute mark.
When Lawrence gave Boone a breather, fellow frontcourt mate Latoria Harvey had difficulty defending the post. Her teammates left her alone in two-on-one situations by not getting around screens and communicating with each other when the switch took place.
At one point Harvey slammed the ball to the floor and screamed "I need some help."
Barton (14-3, 10-1 CVAC) led 44-34 at halftime. The visitors maintained a double-digit lead until Tanika Hudgins' 3-pointer, off a Harvey assist, closed the Bulldogs' advantage to 65-57 with less than eight minutes to go in the game.
Lawrence burned a timeout and it turned out to be the game's turning point.
The Bulldogs scored nine of the next 10 points for a commanding 74-58 lead at the 4:30 mark. Vinson and Lamotta combined for six points during the run.
"We got a little careless with the ball right there at that point and they took advantage of it," Lawrence said. "They got some easy layups. We didn't take care of the ball like we really needed to."
The Bulldogs beat the Trojans for the third time in their last four meetings. They protected their No. 4 ranking in the latest East Region poll.
"We're always happy to win at Mount Olive because we know it's always going to be a war when we come here," Saintsing said. "To get a win going home, we couldn't be more happier than that."
Mount Olive is 0-7 in games when it trails at halftime and is now 4-6 at home this season.
Kelly Lamotta 11 0 3-4 25, Keauna Vinson 9 0 3-5 21, KeeKee Gorham 4 0 0-0 8, Trisha Vann 4 0 0-0 8, Lisa Halttunen 0 4 4-8 16, Shannon Finis 2 1 0-0 7, Jo Denevan 1 0 0-0 2, Jennifer DeWitt 0 0 0-0 0.
MOUNT OLIVE (72)
Latoria Harvey 4 0 2-2 10, Teneal Boone 5 0 0-0 10, Shenetta Moye 0 0 0-0 0, Tanika Hudgins 0 1 5-5 8, Brandy Smith 9 0 0-0 18, Ladora Charles 4 1 7-7 18, Darlisha Stanfield 1 0 0-0 2, Melanie Cobb 3 0 0-0 6, Tilah Worthy 0 0 0-0 0.
Halftime -- Barton 44-34. Three-point baskets -- Mount Olive 2-16 (Moye 0-1, Hudgins 1-4, Smith 0-7, Charles 1-3, Cobb 0-1); Barton 5-10 (Vann 0-1, Halttunen 4-7, Finis 1-2). Rebounds -- Mount Olive 35 (Hudgins 11), Barton 36 (Lamotta 10). Assists -- Mount Olive 13 (Charles 4), Barton 19 (Gorham 9). Turnovers -- Mount Olive 21, Barton 19. Blocked shots -- Mount Olive 2, Barton 1. Steals -- Mount Olive 11 (Harvey 4), Barton 11 (Vinson 4).
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