03/02/04 — Lady Trojans gear up for Pfeiffer

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Lady Trojans gear up for Pfeiffer

By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on March 2, 2004 1:56 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- The Mount Olive College women's basketball team's season has had its shares of ups and downs. But the Trojans did complete the regular season with their highest win total in eight years. And the Trojans do get to open conference tournament play tonight with homecourt advantage.

"March Madness" officially gets underway tonight as No. 8 seed Mount Olive plays host to No. 9 seed Pfeiffer in the first round of the Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference Women's Basketball Tournament. Tip-off is 7 p.m. at College Hall.

Mount Olive (10-17 overall, 6-14 CVAC) concluded its regular season Sunday with a 53-49 loss at home against Coker, which finished fourth in the CVAC regular season standings. Mount Olive trimmed a 12-point deficit down to one point in the final minute, but Coker hit 3-of-4 free throws in the final 13 seconds to seal the win. The loss was Mount Olive's fourth in conference play decided by four points or less. Ladora Charles led the Trojans with 13 points, while Latoria Harvey pulled down 12 rebounds and Tanika Hudgins added 10 rebounds.

Mount Olive appeared to be going into the CVAC Tournament with a head of steam after winning three of four games two weeks ago, but the Trojans concluded the regular season with four consecutive losses. The Trojans hope to get off to a quicker start in tonight's contest than they have in their last two games, where they've fallen behind by double digits in the first half and had to play catch-up the rest of the game. Mount Olive has shown an ability to come from behind, having erased double-digit deficits in three of its last five games, most notably a 17-point comeback in a win at Queens.

Pfeiffer (10-17, 6-14) put itself in contention to host a first-round game with a 79-69 win Friday against St. Andrews, but lost at home to Erskine 83-61 Saturday. The Falcons clinched the No. 9 seed after Queens lost at Anderson Sunday.

Mount Olive and Pfeiffer finished the regular season with identical records, both overall and in the CVAC. The Trojans won the tie-breaker by virtue of having won both meetings over Pfeiffer during the regular season.

Mount Olive opened conference play back on December 2 with a 78-69 win at Pfeiffer, which entered the game as the defending regular season CVAC champions. Charles led four players in double figures with 24 points and Teneal Boone recorded a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds. The Trojans led by as many as 31 points in the contest, then withstood a frantic Pfeiffer rally to cut the lead down to five.

The Trojans also won the rematch 72-62 February 9 at College Hall as Charles scored 18 points to once again lead four players in double figures and Boone recorded another double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Mount Olive played most of the game without Harvey, who suffered an ankle sprain less than minutes into the game. Harvey, who has made a full recovery, was 5-for-5 from the field with 10 points in only nine minutes played.

The winner of tonight's game heads to Wilson tomorrow to face No. 1 seed Barton. The first round of the tournament was scheduled to start Monday, but had to be pushed back a day due to last week's snowstorm causing make-up games to be played Sunday. The remainder of the tournament will remain on schedule, concluding with the semifinals and championship Friday and Saturday at Due West, S.C.

Including Mount Olive's contest, three first-round games are scheduled for tonight in the CVAC Women's Basketball Tournament, as well as three first-round games in the CVAC Men's Basketball Tournament. Game times are 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

CVAC Women's Basketball Tournament - First Round

No. 9 Pfeiffer at No. 8 Mount Olive

No. 10 Queens at No. 7 St. Andrews

No. 11 Limestone at No. 6 Lees-McRae (7:30 p.m.)

CVAC Men's Basketball Tournament - First Round

No. 9 Lees-McRae at No. 8 Limestone

No. 10 St. Andrews at No. 7 Erskine

No. 11 Coker at No. 6 Anderson