01/16/07 — Robich's 3-pointer lifts Mount Olive

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Robich's 3-pointer lifts Mount Olive

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 16, 2007 2:33 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- When you're shooting 1 of 9 from the floor and it seems like nothing wants to drop in the basket, it's easy to pass the ball to a teammate.

But Brittney Robich never gave up.

Despite the unusual offensive slump, the sophomore from Rockingham ended up the heroine Monday evening against in-state rival Belmont Abbey. Robich drained the game-winning 3-pointer in the final 90 seconds and Mount Olive College turned back the Crusaders 58-56 at Kornegay Arena.

The Trojans (7-7 overall) matched their season-high win streak (three games) and defeated Belmont Abbey on their homecourt for the second consecutive year. Mount Olive climbed to 4-4 against Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference opposition and concludes a three-game homestand Thursday against archrival Barton College.

The Crusaders (6-8, 3-5 CVAC) remained winless in four conference road outings this season.

Trailing 56-55, Robich got open when three Belmont Abbey defenders swarmed 6-foot center Alisa Jones underneath the basket. Jones found Robich open for the three, and the 5-6 guard never flinched.

Robich's shot hit nothing but net.

"(The shot) was wide open and even though I was a little off tonight, I knew I had to shoot it," said Robich, the team's third-best 3-point shooter. "It felt perfect when it left my hands."

Mount Olive players and head coach Wendy Lee held their breath when Robich fired from behind the arc.

"That was an awesome kickout (from Jones) ... smart because we have forced that shot in the past," said Lee. "When it leaves Brittney's hand, it always looks like it's going in. She kept shooting through it and hit the big shot when we needed it."

The Trojans posted their second-lowest offensive output of the season and improved to 3-1 at home against CVAC foes. Lee picked up her second coaching win in 15 tries against Belmont Abbey.

Neither team found an offensive rhythm in the second half and their respective 2-3 zone defenses shut down any dribble penetration as each possession became critical down the stretch.

Mount Olive and Belmont Abbey combined for seven ties and six lead changes in the final 20 minutes of play. The two teams combined for five field goals, including four 3-pointers, in the last eight minutes of regulation. Robich's 3-pointer ended a three-minute scoring drought for the Trojans and provided the eighth lead change of the game overall.

"Amazing," said Robich.

Belmont Abbey had one last shot, but Courtney Naquin's 3-pointer from the right corner bounced off the front of the rim. The Trojans' Tomeka Prichard, the game's top scorer with 14 points, snared the rebound as time expired.

Second-year Crusaders coach Katie Pate opted to roll the dice instead of playing for overtime.

"It's a shot I'll have Courtney take every day," said Pate, who is 1-2 all-time against the Trojans. "She was just a little short on it."

Lee admitted her team showed signs of fatigue and lost its focus offensively as the second half wound down. Down 56-55, the Trojans misfired on four consecutive offensive possessions until Robich's game-clinching shot off Jones' assist.

Pate lamented her team's inability to put the ball on the floor and penetrate the gaps in Mount Olive's zone during the last four-plus minutes. The smaller Crusaders, who played without three post players due to injury, couldn't overcome the matchup problems presented by the taller Trojans inside.

Pate added Mount Olive is, by far, the most-superior rebounding team they've played this season. The Trojans controlled the boards 42-35 and got key defensive stops in the closing minutes, which helped get the one offensive possession they needed to prevent Belmont Abbey from pulling off the road win.

"They're so mobile and active, and Wendy has done a great job of filling some perimeter roles," said Pate. "That's something she's wanted to do for awhile and that's going to benefit them down the stretch of the season."

BELMONT ABBEY (6-8, 3-4)

Emma Camp 1 0 1-4 3, Hannah Lunt 2 0 1-4 5, Kelsey Daniel 1 0 3-5 4, Courtney Naquin 2 0 0-0 4, Jeannette Johansson 3 1 2-2 11, Sarah Reese 1 3 0-0 11, Lakesha Bell 2 0 1-2 5, Marie Marquez 0 0 0-0 0, Ebone Johnson 6 0 0-0 12. TOTALS - 18 4 8-17 56.

MOUNT OLIVE (7-7, 4-3)

Alisa Jones 5 0 0-2 10, Sierra Medeiros 4 0 0-1 8, Tomeka Prichard 1 4 0-1 14, Keona Corley 1 0 1-2 3, Brittney Robich 0 2 0-0 6, Samone Bland 0 0 0-0 0, Jill Oaks 1 0 0-0 2, Keshaun Mozee 2 0 0-0 4, Helen Moore 5 0 1-4 11. TOTALS - 19 6 2-10 58.

Halftime - Tied 35-35. Three-point goals - MOC 6-17, Belmont Abbey 4-20. Rebounds - MOC 42 (Jones 9), Belmont Abbey 35 (Johnson 10). Assists - MOC 19 (Corley 9), Belmont Abbey 17 (Daniel, Johansson 5). Turnovers - MOC 18, Belmont Abbey 13. Blocked shots - MOC 4 (Jones 2), Belmont Abbey 3 (Johnson 2). Steals - MOC 6 (Prichard 3), Belmont Abbey 10 (Camp, Daniel 3). Fouled out - Medeiros. Technical fouls - none. A - 207.