College basketball: Lady Trojans nipped by Saint Aug's
By Steve Roush
Published in Sports on December 31, 2006 2:09 AM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Tomeka Prichard and Keona Corley rallied Mount Olive from an early double-digit deficit, but LaConya Polk's free throw with 1.4 seconds left snapped the home team's three-game winning streak as Saint Augustine's nipped the Trojans 65-64 on Friday night.
Prichard finished with team highs of 17 points and seven rebounds for the Trojans (4-4), and Corley recorded a double-double with 12 points and 12 assists for Mount Olive, which was playing its first game since beating Saint Aug's 68-60 in Raleigh back on Dec. 16.
The nearly two-week layoff showed as the Lady Trojans (4-4) shot a chilly 28.6 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes and trailed the Lady Falcons (3-7) by as many as 11 points late in the first half.
"It's really difficult to find one reason why we started out so flat on offense," Mount Olive coach Wendy Lee said. "Always the first game back from the holidays you're going to have a little rust, but I don't know that we were in sync tonight offensively the entire game. Getting off to the slow start kind of set the tempo a little bit ... we never got in the groove the entire game."
After scoring just five points in the first half on 2-of-9 shooting, Prichard scored the Trojans' first seven points of the second half as Mount Olive took a 39-38 lead with 11:25 left in the contest.
"After coming off Christmas vacation, I'm not sure if we were mentally ready to play at the beginning of the game," said Prichard, who has hit at least one three-pointer in 24 of her last 25 games. "We knew we had to pick it up in the second half if we wanted a chance to win."
The Trojans extended their advantage seven before Valicia Brown sparked a Saint Augustine's rally, scoring the first 12 points in an 18-2 run to give the Falcons a 58-52 lead with 3:55 left in the game. Brown connected on three trifectas in a span of less than two minutes.
Brown scored 18 of her game-high 20 points in the second half for Saint Augustine's.
"A heck of a ballgame, wasn't it?" Saint Aug's coach Antonio A. Davis said. "Wendy Lee is a tremendous coach and her kids play very hard, so we knew this was going to be a tough ballgame."
Corley hit a runner to pull the Trojans within three, but Brown answered with her fourth three-pointer of the second half to give Saint Aug's a 62-56 lead with two minutes remaining. Corley, who scored just two points in the first half, hit a pair of free throws with 1:27 left in the game. After a defensive stop, Corley hit a driving layup to pull the Trojans within 62-60 with a minute left in regulation.
"I guess they wanted me to shoot," Corley said. "Last time we played them, our three-point shooters killed them, so they tried to take them away and leave it up to me."
Prichard forced a turnover at midcourt on Saint Augustine's next possession and Corley found Helen Moore for a short basket to tie the game at 62 with 25 seconds remaining.
Kenyada Wade put Saint Augustine's back on top with a pair of free throws with 21 seconds left, but Mount Olive tied the contest on Alisa Jones' basket with 10 seconds remaining. Jones finished with 14 points and Moore added 10 points. Corley also had five steals and four rebounds.
"Different players are stepping up for us," Lee said. "Keona and Tomeka are developing into consistent players for us, and we need a few more players to have some really solid games and to really become consistent. We're going to have to do it as a group, we need the entire team to step up, there's not going to be one person we're going to be able to rely on night in and night out."
After the Falcons used their last timeout, Polk drove the left baseline and drew a foul. She missed the first free throw, but nailed the second to give the Falcons a one-point lead. The Trojans were unable to get a shot off before time expired.
"This was a tough loss, but we'll get focused and bounce back from this," Corley said.
Saint Augustine's was 17-for-29 from the free throw line, compared to 7-for-10 for Mount Olive.
"We certainly needed this win on the road because we've been struggling this year, which shouldn't be happening actually, because we've got a senior team that won 17 ballgames last year," Davis said. "So we thought we'd be in a little better position than we are right now, but this was a big win for us as far as getting some momentum going into conference play."
NOTES: Mount Olive will be back in action this Wednesday as the Trojans play host to Shaw in a non-conference game. Tipoff will be at 7 p.m. at Kornegay Arena. Saint Augustine's will host Cheyney on Wednesday at 6 p.m. ... Mount Olive sophomore guard Meaghan Vanderhorst, who scored a career-high 28 points earlier in the season against UNC Pembroke, will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. "We're going to get back after it," Lee said after Friday's game. "We're still trying to regroup and find combinations since Meaghan went out. We're scrambling for a consistent starting five, and chemistry takes time to develop." ... Wade added 12 points for Saint Aug's and Renata Spinks recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
SAINT AUGUSTINE'S (3-7)
Rakenya Haynes 1 0 0-0 2; Crystal Taylor 2 0 1-2 5; Kenyada Wade 2 1 5-6 12; Dorothy Vernoy 0 1 0-0 3; Kelley Bural 2 0 0-0 4; Terrica Morris 1 0 4-6 6; LaConya Polk 1 0 1-2 3; Renata Spinks 0 2 4-6 10; Valicia Brown 2 4 4-7 20. TOTALS -- 11 8 19-29 65.
MOUNT OLIVE (4-4)
Helen Moore 5 0 0-0 10; Alisa Jones 5 4-6 14; Tomeka Prichard 4 3 0-0 17; Keona Corley 5 0 2-2 12; Tilah Worthy 1 0 0-0 2; Jill Oaks 0 0 0-0 0; Keshaun Mozee 0 0 0-0 0; Brittney Robich 1 0 0-0 2; Sierra Medeiros 3 0 1-2 7. TOTALS -- 24 3 7-10 64.
Halftime -- Saint Aug's 29-22. 3-point goals -- Saint Aug's 8-19 (Brown 4-8, Spinks 2-5, Vernoy 1-1, Wade 1-2), Mount Olive 3-19 (Prichard 3-11). Fouled out -- none. Rebounds -- Saint Aug's 44 (Spinks 10), Mount Olive (Prichard 7, Jones 6, Medeiros 6). Assists -- Saint Aug's 13 (Wade 4), Mount Olive 17 (Corley 12). Total Fouls -- Saint Aug's 11, Mount Olive 22. A -- 103.
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