01/20/09 — MOC women hold of Queens University

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MOC women hold of Queens University

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 20, 2009 1:47 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Stay focused.

Don't ever give up.

Mount Olive College head coach Wendy Lee urged her team to forget about the scoreboard and play possession by possession against Conference Carolinas rival Queens University.

"You have plenty of time," said Lee.

Tomeka Prichard listened to the message.

It took awhile to sink in.

Trailing by 13 points with nine-plus minutes to play, Prichard and her teammates staged another thrilling comeback. The Trojans closed out the contest with a 29-10 run and flushed the Royals 75-70 at Kornegay Arena.

"From the 10-minute mark to the seven-minute mark, we were still really frazzled," said Prichard about the second half. "I think we all realized there is still time on the clock to win this. We just pulled together as a team and went to work."

Mount Olive (11-3 overall, 7-2 CC) seized its fifth consecutive victory of the season and fifth straight in the series against Queens. The Trojans prevailed for the seventh time in their last 10 meetings against the Royals and evened the series at 10-10 since 1999.

Prichard, a senior forward, tied her career high with 24 points and played a season-high 40 minutes. Jasmine Whitby supplied 23 points, including 19 in the second half.

The short-handed Trojans continue to miss Alisa Jones, Helen Moore, LaPorsha Davis and LaTara Wade to injuries. Moore had knee surgery late last week and is hoping to return in mid-February.

"We didn't get to substitute freely tonight," said Lee. "From last year's conference championship team, we have one starter on the floor and that's Tomeka. They're still finding a way (to win) and different ones are stepping up (each game)."

Marissa Hudley's free throws gave Queens its biggest lead, 60-46, with 9:39 left in the game. The Royals' offense stalled and managed just one field goal over the next five minutes as the Trojans started their comeback.

Mount Olive tightened its defensive pressure and adjusted to Queens' dribble penetration, which kept the Royals off the free throw line. Those changes put the Trojans back in synch on defense and helped fuel their offense.

Whitby, Prichard and Shequanta McGee combined for 12 points -- including 10 from the free throw line -- as Mount Olive climbed within 64-62. After two Queens free throws, Whitby drained two more shots with the clock stopped and the Trojans down 66-65 at the 2:48 mark.

"Whitby hit some huge free throws," said Lee. "That allowed us to reset our defense instead of being in transition and scrambling to find our man."

Prichard gave Mount Olive its first lead, 69-68, on a layup underneath off Whitby's assist. Whitby finished with four of the Trojans' 17 team assists on 25 made field goals.

"Amazing," said Prichard of the go-ahead basket. "I was all bubbly inside."

After two more lead changes, Brittney Robich drilled a 3-pointer off Brittany Miller's assist and followed with an off-balanced bank shot in the lane to make it 74-70. McGee (13 points) added a single free throw to cap the Trojans' third straight second-half rally.

"We simply didn't execute down the stretch," said Queens coach Trudi Lacey, who played for Kay Yow at N.C. State. "They upped their defensive intensity and that's what they're supposed to do. We didn't respond and got back on our heels.

"We stopped attacking the rim and that was really the difference in the game."