01/30/07 — Mount Olive College women fall

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Mount Olive College women fall

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 30, 2007 2:17 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Daily women's basketball practices at Mount Olive College have included a steady diet of free throw shooting.

The Trojans starved Monday evening.

An 8 of 24 shooting effort, coupled with 37 turnovers, proved crucial in an 81-75 loss against in-state rival Pfeiffer University at Kornegay Arena. The Falcons (15-2 overall) snapped the Trojans' two-game win streak and exited 10-2 in Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference play.

Mount Olive (9-10 overall) fell to 5-7 in league play.

The 33-percent performance at the free throw line was the Trojans' worst since a 2-for-10 outing two weeks ago against Belmont Abbey. Mount Olive, in its last three games, has converted just 21 of 51 free throws -- well below its season average of 50.2 percent.

"There is nothing you can say," said MOC head coach Wendy Lee about the free throw woes.

Pfeiffer guard Lauren Brittingham pumped in 22 of her game-high 29 points in the second half. The 5-foot-5 sophomore from Washington, D.C., converted six consecutive free throws in the final 25 seconds to prevent the Trojans from collecting their fourth win over an in-state opponent this season.

The Falcons shot 22 of 28 at the free throw line.

"She (Brittingham) is a good player and they've got several Division I players playing Division II ball," said Lee. "You're going to see some good shooters and one-on-one players. I thought we played well as a team, but we just didn't hit free throws down the stretch.

"We lost a game I felt like we should have won."

Mount Olive boosted its halftime advantage to 39-31 early in the second half on back-to-back baskets by Sierra Medeiros and Helen Moore. Moore, a red-shirt freshman from Kenly, finished with a career-high 25 points.

Pfeiffer answered with a 16-2 run and took its first lead, 42-41, on Brittingham's 3-pointer off Ashelle Athill's assist. Brittingham added another 3-pointer to make it 45-41. The teams combined for five lead changes and five ties, the last coming at 63-63 on Moore's free with 8:01 left in regulation.

The Trojans lost point guard Keona Corley three minutes later and yielded a 9-2 run to the Falcons. Three turnovers and a missed front end of a one-and-one situation proved critical during that stretch for Mount Olive.

"Lack of execution, not handling their pressure as effectively as we needed to down the stretch hurt us," said Lee. "I thought we did a better job tonight of drawing the foul, but we didn't finish it off at the line."

Mount Olive whittled the deficit to 75-74 behind Moore, who collected a field goal and two free throws, with 28 seconds to go in regulation. But Brittingham shut the door with her superb free throw shooting.

Moore added 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals in 37 minutes. Alisa Jones contributed 17 points and seven rebounds, while Tomeka Prichard provided 16 points on 6 of 7 shooting from the floor.

Overall, the Trojans shot an efficient 66 percent (31 of 47) from the floor as a team.