Mount Olive takes defeat
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on February 2, 2010 1:46 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- After three consecutive victories, Mount Olive head coach Wendy Lee hoped that her team was hitting its stride.
Limestone tripped up the Trojans on Monday night. Maria Young scored 23 points and pulled down six rebounds as the Saints claimed a 57-51, Conference Carolinas victory at Kornegay Arena.
"We were able to get penetration against the zone and score a couple of late baskets," Limestone head coach Corey Fox said. "Mount Olive was playing a different version of a matchup zone than we are used to seeing and we were fortunate to win it down the stretch."
Young proved to be the difference over the final three minutes.
With her team trailing 47-46, Young drove the lane and sank a layup to put the Saints in front. The talented guard followed with a jumper that increased the visitors' lead to three.
Shequanta McGee pulled Mount Olive within one point on a pull-up jump shot.
The Trojans would get no closer.
"I don't have all of the answers right now," said Mount Olive head coach Wendy Lee. "We just are not playing with confidence. Even when we had the lead it never seemed like we were confident that we were going to make a play."
Tia Williams sank a free throw on the ensuing Saints' possession and was followed by a layup from teammate Natashia Mitchell. Young took over from there and collected two defensive rebounds off Mount Olive misses and promptly sank four game-clinching free throws.
"I was a little nervous for our girls at the line in the final minutes," said Fox. "We only shoot about 62 percent on the season as a team, so I was glad to see Maria (Young) get those opportunities."
Both teams struggled through a stagnant first half before Limestone (10-8 overall, 8-5 CC) seized a six-point advantage before the intermission.
Mount Olive asserted itself in the paint early in the second half as Brittany Miller and Helen Moore combined for 15 points as the team built a 44-38 lead with seven minutes remaining.
The Trojans could not sustain the momentum as they endured a three-minute dry spell that allowed the Saints to get back in the game.
Mount Olive (9-9, 8-5) travels to Belmont Abbey on Wednesday. The Trojans are currently locked in a five-team battle for the third seed in the season-ending, eight-team conference tournament.
"We need every win that we can get right now," said Lee. "I still think this team can be a tough out in March, but we have to continue to work hard and play together."