02/01/09 — Mount Olive women hold off surging Saints

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Mount Olive women hold off surging Saints

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on February 1, 2009 2:00 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- After a long first half, in which Mount Olive pulled out to a double-digit advantage, Limestone could have just gone through the motions against Conference Carolinas' first-place team.

The Saints were not interested in a moral victory.

Limestone battled back to tie the game in the final three minutes, only to see its comeback attempt fall short in a 71-63 loss to the Trojans.

The victory was the ninth in a row for Mount Olive.

"We are trying to focus on just playing the next game right now," MOC head coach Wendy Lee said. "We aren't thinking about how many in a row we have won, but I am really proud of these girls for the way they have played recently."

The Saints came out of the locker room after halftime and promptly erased a 10-point Trojan advantage.

Powerful center Addie Graves led the Saints attack on the offensive glass. Graves pulled down six boards in the second half and turned that effort into 13 points.

With three minutes to play and her team trailing by three, Limestone's Brittney Miller came to the rescue. The take charge guard buried a game-tying three pointer and knotted the contest 59-59.

Tomeka Pritchard stole the momentum back for Mount Olive one possession later with a short jump shot. Shequanta McGee followed with a layup and made it a two-possession game.

A failed offensive possession that spanned 32 seconds sealed the Saints' fate.

Poor free throw shooting that plagued the Trojans in the first half disappeared in the final minute as McGee and Brittney Robich sank critical foul shots. As a team, the Trojans went 7-8 from the charity stripe over the final 46 seconds.

"We are playing without four players right now, and that has forced our other girls to play a lot of minutes," Lee said. "I feel like I am coaching a different team now than I was a month ago... But we just have to focus on what we're good at and execute."

In the first half the Trojans bombed away from beyond the three-point arc.

Mount Olive sank six shots from long distance as they opened a 41-31 lead in the first 20 minutes. Robich led the onslaught with a perfect 3-3 shooting effort.

For the game, the Trojans were paced by McGee's 17 points. Robich added 14 markers. Jasmine Whitby notched a double-double with 11 points and 15 rebounds.

The Saints were led by Graves' 20-point effort. Blanca Gonzalez added 10 points.

Mount Olive (15-3, 11-2 CC) will be back in action at Converse on Thursday.