02/29/08 — Trojan women seek regular-season sweep

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Trojan women seek regular-season sweep

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 29, 2008 3:45 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- There's plenty at stake tonight when Mount Olive and Barton College hook up for their regular-season finale at Wilson Gymnasium.

The archrivals enter with identical 15-4 Conference Carolinas ledgers and the winner receives the No. 2 seed for next week's league tournament. The consolation prize is a possible second-round meeting against national power Anderson (S.C.), which won the regular-season title.

Barton is seeking to avenge a road loss.

Mount Olive (17-9 overall) seeks its first-ever regular-season series sweep of the Dogs. Barton has won 18 of 22 meetings since 1988-89 and all four Trojan victories have occurred with coach Wendy Lee on the sidelines.

The Trojans have set single-season records for wins overall and in conference play this year since moving to Division II in 1995-96. It will be the program's first-ever top-three finish with Lee as coach.

An eight-year veteran, Lee attributes the team's success to its intensity and chemistry that's finally developed during the past six weeks. Mount Olive has won 12 of its last 14 games overall, and carries a five-game win streak into tonight's contest.

"The last couple of weeks, we've had good team chemistry and haven't depended on just one person on the floor," said Lee. "That's an indicator things are coming together. Right now, everybody wants to play hard and play with a lot of intensity."

Senior guard Lakeisha Monroe, a two-time Conference Carolinas player of the week this season, is the league's top scorer at 16.7 points per game. Sophomore forward Helen Moore is close behind at 14.3 points an outing.

The Trojans average 72 points a game and allow 63.7, which is fourth-best in the league.

Meanwhile, Barton is led by sophomore Esty Flores, who knocks down 14.9 points a game. Junior Sara Fleming averages 11.4 points. As a team, the Bulldogs score 73.2 points and give up 64.4 points.

Barton has won eight straight games.

"They're playing their best basketball right now," said Lee. "We have to be able to stop penetration because their perimeter players are good at putting it on the floor. Inside presence will be a factor, too.

"We have to defend the post and keep them off the boards. Those will be the biggest things in containing them, I think."

Mount Olive has played just one game in the last seven days, while Barton is coming off a win against St. Andrews on Monday. Lee feels the break should be beneficial and might have created some "wear and tear" on the Bulldogs.

"Playing helps keep you in rhythm, too," said Lee. "We've been really talking about our intensity and not wanting to lose it. I don't think we'll get complacent.

"We've just been working on the things we need to improve on, which is the same approach we take with all games. We're not looking at this one in any different manner."