11/24/10 — MOC improves to 6-0 against Converse College

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MOC improves to 6-0 against Converse College

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 24, 2010 1:47 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Shequanta McGee provided the calming influence.

Alyssa Luebs displayed a strong presence in the paint.

And Mount Olive finally developed some chemistry on the offensive end of the floor Tuesday evening.

Laporsha Davis led four Trojans in double figures with 14 points in a come-from-behind, 66-56 victory over Converse (S.C.) College inside Kornegay Arena. It was the Conference Carolinas women's basketball opener for both teams.

Jasmine Whitby, saddled with foul trouble, contributed 11 points in just 14 minutes of action. Brittany Miller pumped in 10 second-half points and Jessica Nelms contributed 10 off the bench.

Mount Olive (2-1 overall) has won all six meetings against Converse.

But the Valkyries (0-6) made the Trojans work for this one.

Poor offensive execution, lackluster defense and stoppage in play due to constant whistles disrupted MOC's attempt to find a rhythm on either end of the floor in the first half.

McGee drew two fouls in the first three minutes. Whitby picked up three fouls in 81/2 minutes. Converse reached the double bonus (two-shot fouls) before 10 minutes had elapsed.

"We couldn't get into the groove," said Trojans head coach Wendy Lee.

The Valkyries built a 20-9 advantage mainly at charity stripe and scored 17 points with the clock stopped. The Trojans climbed within 28-24 when Joneiqua Gary picked Converse for a steal near midcourt and fed Luebs for a turnaround jumper in the lane.

MOC trailed 35-27 at intermission.

"I think it was a lack of intensity on defense and we weren't executing on offense like we know we can," said Miller. "We weren't being the team we knew we could be, and that was a little frustration."

The Trojans turned their frustration into a positive in the second half.

Lee called for a stifling man-to-man defense that forced turnovers on five of the Valkyries' first six possessions of the half. The deficit quickly dwindled as McGee started attacking the basket and Luebs kicked the ball outside to help spread Converse's defense.

McGee's steal off an inbounds pass after a timeout knotted the contest at 39-39. Nelms' offensive putback and Luebs' layup off Nelms' assist put the Trojans in front 43-39.

"We just wanted to come out with fresh faces, fresh attitudes ... not let the first half dictate how we play in the second half," said Miller. "You could tell there was a different fire, a different spark in us when we came out in the second half. Scoot (McGee) stepped up, calmed us down and we really got into the flow of things."

Converse weathered the rally and regained the lead 48-45 on a 3-pointer. McGee answered with a layup and the Trojans seized the lead again -- for good -- on Miller's short jumper off Davis' assist.

The two baskets fueled an 11-0 run.

"To have such a poor first half and pull it together, come back and win shows that this group has a lot of character, and that they're not going to just fold when things are not going their way," said Lee. "That pleased me to see how we responded."