By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 12, 2012 1:48 PM
WILSON -- Still perfect in 2012.
Jasmine McDonald sizzled the nets for a career-high 18 points, Tamara Nesmith supplied a double-double and Mount Olive thwarted two second-half rallies in a 70-67 victory over archrival Barton College inside Wilson Gymnasium on Wednesday evening.
Nesmith supplied 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Trojans, who extended their season-high win streak to six games and seized sole possession of the East Division lead at 4-0 in Conference Carolinas play.
"That wasn't our best game, obviously," said Nesmith. "We keep on letting teams come back in the end. But we finally pulled it out in the end and worked together."
MOC triumphed over Barton for the first time since 2009, and snapped a six-game skid in the series.
And it wasn't easy.
Destinee Webb's layup off an inbounds pass gave the Trojans a 41-30 lead early in the second half. The Bulldogs controlled the offensive boards and created turnovers with their pressure defense, which sparked a 13-5 run over the next seven minutes.
Janae Jackson capped the run with a layup.
The Trojans (10-3 overall) responded with a 10-0 surge that included three baskets by junior guard Andrea Jones, who led all scorers with 19 points. McDonald's two free throws gave MOC a 55-45 advantage with 8:58 left in regulation.
The teams traded baskets before Jackson committed her fifth personal foul with five minutes to go. A disgusted Jackson drew a technical foul as she walked off the court, and Mount Olive pushed further ahead, 63-51.
"We knew Barton was going to give it everything they had, they're a great team," said Trojans' head coach Wendy Lee. "They unfortunately lost No. 30 (Jackson), which helped us out tremendously. Our team, with the pressure they were putting on us in the fullcourt, didn't handle it well, but (we) still held it together with enough composure."
Barton shaved Mount Olive's lead to a single possession in the final minute. McDonald and Nesmith each canned two free throws to keep MOC in front, 70-64, with 16.3 seconds to go.
Neyesha Willie's 3-pointer from the corner closed the gap to 70-67. After Webb missed two free throws with 5.6 seconds left in regulation, the Dogs' Jadda Jeffries missed a 3-pointer as time expired.
"The last five minutes were crucial," said Nesmith. "We executed down the stretch and came out OK. We believed in ourselves (tonight) and decided we're not coming out with a loss.
"We wanted to get the 'W'."
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