MOC women advance to semifinals
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 5, 2009 1:46 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Hungry and eager for redemption.
Still smarting from a season-ending, 34-point loss at archrival Barton College nearly one week ago, Mount Olive took out its frustration on weary Lees-McRae on Wednesday evening.
The Trojans held the Bobcats without a field goal for nearly 14 minutes and claimed a 53-35, quarterfinal-round victory in the 2009 Conference Carolinas women's basketball tournament. Mount Olive (22-6 overall) entertains Belmont Abbey in the semifinals at 7 p.m. Friday.
Lees-McRae, coming off a road game 24 hours earlier at Limestone, concluded the year 9-20. The Bobcats suffered their sixth consecutive loss against the Trojans and 11th overall in 12 meetings since the 2005 season.
"After that Barton loss, we said we were going to take it (frustrations) out on whoever came in here," said MOC point guard Shequanta McGee. "We refused to let it be the last game for our seniors. (Our) defense the first half was great ... had everybody rotating on time, getting their hands on a lot of passes.
"Defense was the key."
Unlike their previous meeting, Mount Olive denied the dribble penetration and cut off the passing lanes. Once the Bobcats fell behind, they became one dimensional offensively and couldn't convert shots on the perimeter.
Mount Olive forced 15 first-half turnovers and converted the miscues into 14 points.
"We took away their penetration effectively in the first half and they knew they were going to have to knock down some threes," said MOC head coach Wendy Lee. "They've been probably one of the best teams in the conference this year, despite their record, of being able to penetrate ... get good drives, draw fouls and kick it out to shooters."
Cortney Furr's 3-pointer off Renee Roberson's assist pulled Lees-McRae within 17-16 late in the opening half. But the Bobcats managed just one field goal during the next 15 minutes as the second-seeded Trojans seized control.
Mount Olive outscored LMC 22-2 during that stretch and owned a comfortable 39-18 advantage with 13:17 left in the second half.
"Offensively, we just didn't have it ... didn't pass the ball well, didn't have proper movement," said Bobcats coach Sebastian Wild. "We didn't get the contributions from our scorers we normally get. Playing a team like Mount Olive, you've got to be on, especially on the road.
"We just didn't get that today."
Lees-McRae climbed within 47-31 on Roberson's 3-pointer, but could get no closer. The Trojans tallied just eight points, including two field goals in the final nine-plus minutes of action.
The lack of focus concerned Lee.
"We got stuck where we didn't score for a good period of time and I think that was just lack of focus of what we were trying to accomplish on the offensive end," said Lee. "We took some plays off in the second half tonight that we really shouldn't have done. It's hard to stay mentally focused sometimes.
"I told them we're not going to be able to play 20 minutes on Friday."
Mount Olive and Belmont Abbey split their regular-season series with each winning on the opponent's home court. The Crusaders have won four conference tournament championships since 1996.
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