01/03/08 — Vikings' Trahan too much for MOC women

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Vikings' Trahan too much for MOC women

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on January 3, 2008 3:33 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Maybe it was the mid-week afternoon start time.

Or the two-week layoff.

Or the continued lack of team chemistry.

Whatever the problem, the Mount Olive College women's basketball team couldn't find a suitable remedy Wednesday afternoon. The Trojans lost a double-digit, first-half advantage and fell to Elizabeth City State 75-69 at Kornegay Arena.

After trailing by 10 points twice in the first half, the Vikings needed less than two minutes of the second half to take the lead. ECSU used an 11-1 run, capped by Celeste Trahan's layup, to turn a five-point deficit into a 41-36 lead.

The Trojans (5-5 overall) responded. Lakeisha Monroe scored five straight points as Mount Olive moved back in front 54-49. The lead changed hands on five occasions from that point.

Mount Olive struggled to control the boards and find an answer for Trahan. ECSU owned a 25-12 edge in rebounds during the second half and Trahan collected 25 of her game-high 36 points after intermission. The senior was 11 of 15 from the free throw line.

Helen Moore sank one of two free throws with less than two minutes to play, which gave the Trojans their final lead at 65-64. The Vikings scored six unanswered points, while Moore and Brittany Miller both missed point-blank layups at critical moments.

"I felt like we missed some opportunities late with some easy baskets," Lee said. "Our shooting percentage (37.2 percent) was pretty low, so I know we didn't shoot the ball well. We've just got to use this one as a learning experience we've got another big game on Saturday."

ECSU knocked down 11 of 12 free throws over the final 2 1/2 minutes to escape with the win. The Vikings got to the free throw line 38 times, compared to 15 attempts for Mount Olive.

"We created 29 turnovers so I felt like we can cause some things with our defensive intensity, but maybe we just got some bad calls," Lee said. "We didn't play clean defense at times and some different breaks didn't go our way for us."

The Trojans used stingy defense and aggressive rebounding to race out to an early 12-2 lead. Mount Olive forced 17 first-half turnovers and held a 26-20 edge in rebounding, including a 14-7 margin on the offensive boards.

Jill Oaks' layup with less than 20 seconds remaining in the half pushed the margin to 35-27 before the Vikings closed the period with a bit of controversy.

April Whitaker's 3-pointer at the buzzer appeared to have been released after the red light behind the backboard came on.

After a brief discussion by the officials, it was ruled that due to an inoperative horn that usually sounds simultaneously as the light comes on, it was impossible to determine whether Whitaker's shot came after the light was on. Whitaker was awarded the basket and the lead was trimmed to 35-30 at the half.

Monroe finished with a team-high 24 points for the Trojans and Brittney Robich added 10.

With four different post players having already missed time this season, Lee is faced with the task of finding playing time for each of them, while helping her team adapt to the addition of familiar faces.

"I think a lot of our problems are due to a lack of chemistry right now," Lee said. "We've had four post players that have been out of the rotation and they're just now all back. I'm hoping we'll start to gel together the more games we have."

Mount Olive resumes Conference Carolinas play this weekend when it travels to Anderson (S.C.).