01/04/12 — Trojan women take care of pesky Cobras

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Trojan women take care of pesky Cobras

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on January 4, 2012 1:48 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- All the close games Mount Olive played during the non-conference portion of its schedule appear to be paying off.

The Trojans watched an 11-point lead slip away but executed late in a 78-75 win over Coker on Tuesday evening at Kornegay Arena. It was the Conference Carolinas opener for both teams and Mount Olive's fifth victory by eight points or fewer.

Tamara Nesmith and Kirksten Mitchell scored every point during an 11-0 run that gave the Trojans an early 15-8 lead. Mitchell's 3-pointer pushed the margin to 25-14 with fewer than 10 minutes left in the first half. Mitchell had 11 first-half points and finished with a career-high 14 points to go with five rebounds. Nesmith supplied 12 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.

"Knocking down some shots in the first half helped me get into the rhythm of the game," Nesmith said. "I just thought, 'calm down, it's just another game. We just have to go in there and play hard.'"

The interior presence of Jessica Cohen and outside shooting of forward Amber Lau kept the Cobras close. Cohen scored a team-high 10 points in the opening 20 minutes and Lau added nine points on three 3-pointers. Coker trailed 37-26 late in the half before scoring eight of the final 10 points to close to within 39-34 at the break.

Andrea Jones knocked down a pair of 3-pointers on consecutive possessions early in the second half as the Trojans' lead grew to 46-36. Jones scored a team-high 23 points.

Lau continued to torch Mount Olive (7-3, 1-0 CC) from the outside and her second 3-pointer of the second half trimmed the margin to 54-51. Lau had 25 points and Cohen contributed 22.

The Cobras closed to within two points five different times in the second half. Cohen missed a point-blank lay-up that would have tied the game at 62-62 with fewer than eight minutes to play.

Cohen's basket with fewer than 3 1/2 minutes remaining trimmed the deficit to 71-70. Coker took a 72-71 lead on Cohen's layup with fewer than three minutes to play. It was the Cobras' first lead since they led 8-7 early in the ballgame.

The Trojans tied the game at 74-74 on Alyssa Luebs' lay-up with a little more than a minute to go. Luebs had 13 points and six rebounds.

Cohen earned a trip to the free throw line with 28 seconds left and made the second of two free throws to put Coker (0-10, 0-1) in front 75-74. Mount Olive elected not to use a timeout and Webb's lay-up gave the Trojans a 76-75 advantage.

Jones forced a turnover on the Cobras' next possession and she made one of two free throws to give the Trojans a 77-75 lead. Nesmith stole the ball on Coker's final possession and made one of two free throws to seal the win.

"I think we've been in some tight games and we've played some really good teams to help us build confidence and a little bit in trust in each other," Trojans' head coach Wendy Lee said. "We called the play Destinee scored on in the previous timeout. I felt like calling a timeout would actually put more pressure on us. That was a good bit of confidence by Destinee to take that to the rack."

Mount Olive continues conference play on Thursday at Pfeiffer.