01/23/09 — Trojan women take OT victory

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Trojan women take OT victory

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on January 23, 2009 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Wendy Lee has now watched her Mount Olive women's basketball team overcome second-half deficits to win in each of its past four games.

None was sweeter than Thursday night.

Tomeka Prichard scored 28 points, grabbed seven rebounds and had a career-high six blocks as the Trojans defeated archrival Barton 87-82 in overtime at Kornegay Arena. Mount Olive seized a first-place tie with the Bulldogs at 8-2 in Conference Carolinas play.

Prichard's layup with less than two minutes to play in overtime gave the Trojans a 79-76 advantage. The Trojans' Rashonda Speed drew a charge on Barton's ensuing offensive possession with just over a minute remaining.

Prichard grabbed a defensive rebound on the Bulldogs' next trip down the floor and was fouled. Her free throws with 30 seconds remaining stretched the lead to 81-78.

"I'm really in shock," said Prichard. "I had no idea I had 28 points and six blocks. I was just out there playing to win."

Barton made one last push and Destiny Hamlin's 3-pointer sliced the margin to 83-82 with 11 seconds to play. Brittney Robich and Speed each sank a pair of free throws in the final moments to ice the victory for the Trojans.

"We talked about wanting to beat Barton," said Lee. "We felt like they haven't given us a lot of respect and we've had to play tough games night in and night out. In the past few games we've had to fight and gut it out down the stretch.

"The experience of having to play close games gave us an advantage."

The Bulldogs led 39-33 at the half, but Prichard's jumper pulled the Trojans to within 51-49 with less than 11 minutes left in regulation. Barton answered with jumpers from Jamila Johnson and Anita Fenner.

After Prichard drained a 3-pointer, layups from Johnson and Esty Flores pushed the Bulldogs' cushion to 59-52 with less than eight minutes remaining to play in the second half.

Jasmine Whitby's 3-point play sparked a 13-2 Mount Olive run and Whitby's layup gave the Trojans a 65-61 lead with 4:31 left in regulation. Whitby, a junior transfer from Louisburg College, finished with 28 points and 14 rebounds.

"Jasmine has been playing like a senior all year and she's only been here for about five months," said Lee.

Barton regained the lead on Johnson's layup before Prichard sank a pair of free throws with just over 1 1/2 minutes to go. Prichard gave Mount Olive (12-3 overall) a brief lead with two free throws before Sara Fleming evened the score at 69-69 with two free throws of her own with 40 seconds to play.

The Bulldogs had an opportunity to win the game in the closing seconds of regulation, but Johnson's jumper was off the mark. Fleming fumbled the offensive rebound out of bounds.

Mount Olive visits Erskine at 2 p.m. on Saturday.