Barton ends season for Lady Trojans
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on March 4, 2004 1:56 PM
WILSON -- There is something about playing the best -- and an archival -- in the postseason that often brings out the best in a team.
Mount Olive's women's basketball team went to top-seeded Barton College in the semifinals of the Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference tournament on Wednesday as a hungry, determined team.
Unfortunately for the eighth-seeded Lady Trojans, they fell just short of pulling off the upset after a 79-75 loss at the Wilson Gymnasium.
Mount Olive senior and leading scorer Ladora Charles drained a three-pointer with five seconds left, cutting the lead back down to 77-75. Following a Trojan timeout, Barton successfully inbounded the ball and Lisa Halttunen knocked down two-of-two at the free-throw line to secure the win.
Barton hit 14 of their 16 free-throw attempts on the game as the Bulldogs move on to face fourth-seeded Coker in the CVAC semifinals at Erskine College (Due West, SC) at 2 p.m. on Friday.
The Trojans concluded their season at 11-18 overall after smashing Pfeiffer in the first round at College Hall. Wednesday's game was Mount Olive's fourth in five days.
"Our girls gave it everything they had tonight. We've had four games in five days, and they've had a couple of days off, so they may be a little more rested," Mount Olive coach Wendy Lawrence said. "You couldn't tell it from our effort, because we played just as hard as they did."
Mount Olive out-rebounded the Lady Bulldogs 43-29 and executed well in its half-court offensive sets through the game by getting its post players involved. But, 32 turnovers obviously hindered the Trojans. With 20 seconds left and following two makes at the line by Barton, Mount Olive committed their final costly miscue -- trailing 75-72.
Early in the first half, Mount Olive committed three-straight turnovers off of inbounds passes against full-court pressure and four-straight slips overall, leading to a 13-0 Barton run that pushed its lead up to 23-14 at the 11:15 mark of the first half.
"I think their pressure caused a little bit of anxiety for us, and I think those turnovers got us out of the solid mindset we had," Lawrence. "Still, I thought we played hard toward the end and really scrapped."
Still, like most of the game, Mount Olive stuck close and countered that run. Tanika Hudgins' put-back capped a 5-0 Trojan run to answer and closed the gap to 23-19.
Sophomore's Hudgins and Teneal Boone, along with junior Latoria Harvey all proved instrumental to Mount Olive's ability to hang tight. The trio practically owned the glass and often beat one-on-one defense with attacking post moves and dribble penetration.
Hudgins had 18 points and eight rebounds, while Harvey tallied 17 points and 11 boards. Boone added 11 points and nine rebounds.
Mount Olive finished with 24 second-chance points on the game.
"Tonight they really wanted it. It came from our three, four and five positions, and we took it to the basket pretty hard," Lawrence said. "Our second chances really kept us in the game. We out-rebounded them 43-29, and it's hard to believe we lost with those kind of stats."
In a game where both team's inside production flourished, the Bulldogs countered with the tandem of Keauuna Vinson and Kelly Lamotta, who scored 25 and 22 points, respectively down low. Barton guards Halttunen (nine assists) and Trisha Vann (seven assists) did a solid job of finding the duo with crisp passes down low.
The Trojans held the lead for a brief moment inside the five-minute mark of the second half, when Charles, who finished with 14 points, dropped in a lay-up to put her team ahead 66-65. On its next possession, Barton reclaimed the lead with a three-pointer by Vann.
Charles, a senior who averaged nearly 15 points per game, may elect to use her final year of eligibility and come back for another season at Mount Olive. Goldsboro graduate Brandy Smith played in her final game for the Lady Trojans, averaging almost seven points per game.
Lawrence believes the team has specific needs that have to be met in the offseason.
"We are going to have to have a solid point guard and a back-up point guard. We need to add some size to our inside game and add a really good outside shooter," Lawrence said.
2004 NCAA Division II
Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference
(at Barton College, Wilson)
MOUNT OLIVE (75)
Ladora Charles 5 3 1-2 14, Latoria Harvey 8 0 1-1 17, Shenetta Moye 1 1 4-4 7, Melanie Cobb 1 0 0-0 2, Anita Rogers 0 0 1-4 1, Tanika Hudgins 7 1 3-3 18, Brandy Smith 2 1 0-0 5, Teneal Boone 5 0 1-3 11.
BARTON COLLEGE (79)
Kelly Lamotta 10 0 2-3 22, Keauna Vinson 10 0 5-6 25, KeeKee Gorham 0 0 2-2 2, Trisha Vann 6 2 0-0 14, Lisa Halttunen 2 1 5-5 10, Jamie McFadden 0 0 0-0 0, Shannon Finnis 2 0 0-0 4, Jennifer DeWitt 0 0 0-0 0, Jo Denevan 1 0 0-0 2.
Halftime -- Barton 39, Mount Olive 35. Three-point baskets -- Mount Olive 6-16 (Charles 3-3, Moye 1-2, Hudgins 1-9, Smith 1-2); Barton 3-11 (Vann 2-5, Halttunen 1-6). Rebounds -- Mount Olive 43 (Harvey 11, Boone 9, Hudgins 8); Barton 29 (Lamotta 9, Vinson 8). Assists -- Mount Olive 10 (Hudgins 4); Barton 27 (Halttunen 9, Vann 7). Turnovers -- Mount Olive 32; Barton 16. Blocked shots -- Mount Olive 5 (Boone 2); Barton 2 (Vinson 2). Steals -- Mount Olive 6 (Harvey 2); Barton 16 (Vinson 5, Gorham 4).
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