02/15/12 — Bulldog women find rhythm

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Bulldog women find rhythm

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on February 15, 2012 1:48 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Barton got hot at the right time.

Mount Olive could never thaw out.

The Bulldogs overcame a slow start and pulled away in the second half for a 54-49 win on Tuesday evening inside Kornegay Arena. The victory created first-place tie between the Trojans and Bulldogs in Conference Carolinas East Division play.

Both teams struggled early on to develop a rhythm offensively, and each missed numerous point-blank shots in the first six minutes. Turnovers also haunted the archrivals, who combined for 26 miscues in the first 20 minutes of play.

Neither team found much success shooting from the floor, either. The Trojans shot 24 percent, while the Bulldogs hit 32 percent.

Andrea Jones' jump shot gave Mount Olive a 14-12 lead more than 12 minutes into the opening half. There were seven ties and seven lead changes in the first 20 minutes, and the teams were tied at 22-22 at halftime.

"We struggled offensively and we never seemed to break out of it," Trojans' head coach Wendy Lee said. "It did seem to spread throughout the team and I thought it was in our heads. We've got to be tougher than that."

Barton (16-7 overall, 11-3 CC) began the second half playing stingy defense while Mount Olive remained ice cold offensively. Janae Jackson's jump shot gave the Bulldogs a 39-31 lead.

The Trojans trailed 44-37 with 6 1/2 minutes to play before making their final push. Jasmine McDonald knocked down a jump shot from the wing. Jones sank one of two free throws and Tamara Nesmith drained a jump shot off an offensive rebound.

Nyeshea Willie's 3-pointer and Jannetta Robinson's jump shot helped Barton maintain a 49-44 advantage with three minutes left. Nesmith squandered an opportunity to pull Mount Olive to within a single possession by missing two free throws with 2 1/2 minutes to play.

Joneiqua Gary made one of two at the line to trim the margin to 49-45 with two minutes to go. McDonald's layup sliced the lead to 49-47 before Willie extended the Bulldogs' cushion to 51-47.

Nesmith missed the front end of a one-and-one at the free throw line with 32 seconds to play. Willie's layup in transition sealed the win for Barton. Willie and Robinson finished with 16 points apiece for the Bulldogs.

McDonald led the Trojans (17-6, 11-3) with 17 points and 18 rebounds. Her 18 boards are the third-most in a single game in school history. Jones contributed 12 points and Nesmith supplied eight points and 17 rebounds.

"It makes me want to attack the glass harder when shots aren't going down," McDonald said. "We ran the plays offensively but it seemed like some players wanted to try to do their own thing."