01/15/12 — Lady Trojans cruise past Bobcats

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Lady Trojans cruise past Bobcats

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 15, 2012 1:52 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- So much for the letdown.

Three days removed from a physical and emotional triumph over its archrival, Mount Olive College took care of business -- for one half -- Saturday afternoon against Lees-McRae College.

The Trojan women reeled off 15 consecutive points to start the game and cruised to a 79-51 triumph at Kornegay Arena. Mount Olive (11-3 overall) extended its win streak to seven games and remained unbeaten in five Conference Carolinas contests this season.

"We talked about today being the most-important game of the year because the game you're playing that day has to be top priority," said MOC women's head basketball coach Wendy Lee. "We can't be content after having played a big rival and won at their place, and come into another game and start out flat and lose at home.

"It wasn't about who we were playing today. It wasn't about whether we thought we could win or not, it was about having the right mindset ... the same preparation we had against Barton."

Mount Olive coaxed Lees-McRae into 23 first-half turnovers and converted the miscues into 21 points. The Trojan women ran the floor well and executed efficiently against the Bobcats' man-to-man defense in the opening half.

The sterling play translated to a 46-percent (17 of 35) shooting performance from the floor, including 10 points off fast-break opportunities against a defense that struggled to defend.

Lees-McRae (5-6, 1-2) committed 19 turnovers in the first 12 minutes of the game and scored just nine points during that stretch.

"Some good things really did happen for us in the first half," said Lee. "I thought that players who came in for us who always don't get to play did a good job ... gave us good energy and effort."

That energy and effort disappeared at halftime.

The Trojan women faltered offensively and watched the Bobcats tally 11 of the first 19 points of the second half. Mount Olive converted just four of 15 possessions during that span.

"That was disappointing. Teams make runs, they come at you harder and we've got to have that mindset, but somehow we haven't quite gotten that part of our maturity yet," said Lee.

Jasmine McDonald's three-point play off Destinee Webb's assist, and offensive production from Tamara Nesmith and Shanice Pringle pushed the lead back to 56-35 with just over 9 minutes remaining in regulation.

Mitchell's 3-pointer off an offensive rebound and Jones' 3-pointer in transition extended the margin to 62-37. MOC had missed its first nine from behind the arc before then.

The Bobcats never threatened again and lost their 11th straight meeting against the Trojans, who lead the series 16-3 overall since 2004. Nesmith led MOC with 17 points and nine rebounds. McDonald and Jones contributed 13 points apiece.