Lady Trojans drop fourth straight
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on March 1, 2004 1:56 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- The Mount Olive women's basketball team answered their last four-game losing streak by winning three of their next four during a crucial Carolinas/Virginia Athletic Conference stretch.
After dropping their fourth straight on Sunday in a tough, 53-49 loss to Coker College, the Lady Trojans now must bounce back quickly and when it matters most heading into the conference tournament.
Mount Olive will open CVAC tournament play as the number-eight seed at home on Wednesday against ninth-seeded Pfeiffer at 7 p.m.
Following Sunday's home tilt where Mount Olive posted a season-low for points against the Lady Cobras' two-three zone defense, it was obvious to coach Wendy Lawrence where the emphasis will be in today's practice.
"You've got to hit shots to beat zones and you have to move it in and out. I didn't think we did either one of those things well," Lawrence said. "We've got to go back and get in the gym and hit shots and get our confidence back."
"I think the team that plays with the most confidence and energy will make the difference on Tuesday."
Despite shooting just 25 percent from the floor, including a chilly three-of-20 from behind the three-point line, Mount Olive's defense and ability to out-rebound the top rebounding team in the CVAC put the Lady Trojans in a position to win late in the fourth period.
Coker's Selena Davis made one of two with 13.3 seconds left to give her team a 51-49 lead as Mount Olive's Melanie Cobb pulled down the board and immediately called a timeout. Following another timeout by Coker coach Katie Pate, the Lady Trojans' beat the Cobra pressure but suffered their 18th and final turnover of the game as Davis, who finished with a game-high15 points, made two more free throws to ice the game.
Mount Olive's inability to finish strong was secondary to a disappointing first half to Lawrence. The Lady Trojans trailed just 24-17 going into intermission, but it was a half that saw Mount Olive make only one-of-11 three's, rarely attacking the zone and settling for the first shot.
"We've been able to rely on our defense to give us a chance down the stretch, but your defense can't carry you all the way without hitting shots to complement it," Lawrence said. "That turnover at the end of the game was important, but the first half really got us out of it mentally and got us in a hole.
"We were just too quick to shoot the three."
The Lady Trojans managed just three points and trailed 14-3 at the 8:27 mark of the first half. In a game where their own offense never really got on track against a primarily man-to-man defense by the Lady Trojans, Coker went up 35-25 on a basket by Leanne Chandler. Mount Olive cut the lead down to within two possessions several times as its defense yielded a seven-minute scoreless stretch during the late stages of the second half.
Ladora Charles, who along with Goldsboro graduate Brandy Smith, were honored on Senior Day, dropped in two-of-two at the line to pull the Lady Trojans' to within four at 46-45 at the end of that stretch. Charles finished with a team-high 13 points.
A three-point play by Davis silenced the run and put the Cobras back up 49-45.
"They (Mount Olive) are so good at holding on. If they are with you at the end of the game, you are in trouble. They just flat-out dominated on us on the glass," Coker coach Katie Pate said. "Take away a few mistakes they made, and that game could have gone either way.
"It was an ugly game and we are just happy to get out of here."
MOUNT OLIVE (49)
Latoria Harvey 2 0 2-2 6, Teneal Boone 2 0 0-0 4, Ladora Charles 4 0 5-6 13, Tanika Hudgins 3 2 0-1 8, Brandy Smith 0 0 0-0 0, Shenetta Moye 1 0 2-2 4, Melanie Cobb 2 0 5-6 9, Tilah Worthy 0 0 0-0 0, Anita Rogers 2 1 0-0 5, Amber Hill 0 0 0-0 0.
Selena Davis 4 1 6-9 15, Michelle Glover 1 0 0-0 2, Shamae Hemingway 2 0 5-6 9, Justina Dakins 1 0 1-2 3, Tara Nelson 3 0 2-3 8, Rnesha Baldwin 1 0 0-0 2, Leanne Chandler 3 0 1-5 7, Sara Steffen 1 1 0-0 3, Frederica McClary 2 0 0-0 4.
Halftime - Coker 24, Mount Olive 17. Three-point baskets - Mount Olive 3-20 (Charles 0-8, Hudgins 2-6, Smith 0-3, Moye 0-2, Rogers 1-1), Coker 2-4 (Davis 1-2, Steffen 1-2). Rebounds - Mount Olive 50 ( Harvey 12, Hudgins 10), Coker 38 (Hemingway, McClary 6). Assists - Mount Olive 10 (Charles 3, Moye 3), Coker 13 (Dakins 4). Turnovers - Mount Olive 18, Coker 17. Blocked shots - Mount Olive 4 (Hudgins 4), Coker 1. Steals - Mount Olive 7 (Charles, Rogers 2), Coker 7 (Davis, Glover 2).
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