Round 2 hasn't been kind to Lady Trojans
Published in Sports on March 1, 2006 2:34 PM
For the fourth year in a row, Mount Olive posted a decisive victory in the first round of the Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference Women's Basketball Tournament. The quarterfinal round, however, hasn't been as kind to Mount Olive. The Trojans hope they can change their fortune tonight.
Mount Olive heads to Due West, S.C., tonight as the sixth-seeded Trojans take on No. 3 Erskine in the quarterfinal round of the 2006 CVAC Women's Basketball Tournament. Tipoff is 7 p.m.
The winner advances to the "Final Four" Friday and Saturday at Kornegay Arena as Mount Olive hosts the semifinals and championship game. The tournament champion earns an automatic bid to the East Regional of the NCAA II Women's Basketball Championship.
Mount Olive (16-12 overall, 10-10 CVAC) advanced to the quarterfinals with a 104-57 victory Monday over No. 11 seed Lees-McRae in the first round of the tournament. The Trojans were never threatened in the game, scoring the first 12 points of the game and building a 33-5 lead 12 minutes into the game before allowing Lees-McRae its first field goal.
The Trojans, which had scored 66 points two days earlier in their 66-60 come-from-behind win at Lees-McRae, led 62-25 at halftime Monday.
Mount Olive head coach Wendy Lee says Saturday's second-half comeback helped set the tone for Monday's win.
"We had fallen behind, but the players started picking each other up and put us back in the lead," said Lee, whose team rallied from an 11-point deficit Saturday. "We were able to carry the energy from that game into Monday's game and hopefully, we can do that again Wednesday."
Lee hopes senior forward Teneal Boone can pick up where she left off Monday. Boone notched her 16th double-double of the season Monday, scoring a career-high 27 points to go with 14 rebounds.
Boone acknowledged prior to the start of the season that she would be expected to shoulder more of the scoring and rebounding load. She has done just that, averaging a double-double with 15.8 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.
While Boone is the only Trojan currently averaging in double figures, several players have had breakout games this season. Along with Boone, five other players -- including three freshmen -- have had at least one 20-point game.
Freshman guard Tomeka Prichard has hit at least one three-pointer in 16 consecutive games as she extended her streak Monday. Prichard is averaging nearly 12 points per game during the streak.
Freshman guard Meaghan Vanderhorst and forward Alisa Jones have provided a spark off the bench for the Trojans. Both players had a 20-point game and Jones has had two double-doubles.
"I think we're a different team this year," said Lee. "Our younger players are developing and maturing at the right time."
Mount Olive and Erskine (16-11, 13-7) split their two regular season games, each team winning on the other's home floor. In the first meeting at Kornegay Arena, the Trojans erased a 17-point second-half deficit, but Erskine held on for a 62-60. Mount Olive won the rematch 77-64 at Erskine 11 days ago as sophomore forward had her best collegiate game with 22 points and 13 rebounds.
Lee hopes the win on Erskine's homecourt gives the Trojans added confidence in tonight's game.
"It helps alleviate some anxiety, knowing we've won on their floor," said Lee. "You can use all kinds of factors for motivation, but it comes down simply to having to play well."
The Trojans seem to be playing well at the right time, having won six of their last seven games. Lee attributes the team's success to their attitude.
"The team has taken an attitude of 'Let's go out there and have some fun,'" said Lee. "The players have loosened up and are more relaxed. They're playing with confidence and having fun. Hopefully, that will continue to translate into success on the court."
By DAVID SHULIMSON
MOC Sports Information
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