11/28/12 — Trojan women stay unbeaten on season

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Trojan women stay unbeaten on season

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 28, 2012 1:48 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Still unbeaten.

But barely.

Tamara Nesmith drained two free throws with 5.1 seconds remaining, and Mount Olive College turned back King (Tenn.) College, 60-56, during their Conference Carolinas women's basketball game at Kornegay Arena on Tuesday evening.

The Trojan women remained perfect in four outings this season.

Mount Olive used its athleticism to build a 13-point lead twice in the opening half, but could never put away King. The fundamentally-sound Tornado (2-2 overall, 1-1 CC) stayed within the framework of their offense, and nearly staged a comeback in the final 10 minutes.

Mitchell's layup off Shanice Pringle's offensive rebound and assist gave the Trojans their final double-digit advantage, 56-46, with about five minutes to play in regulation. King held Mount Olive to a single field goal over the next three-plus minutes, and pulled to within 58-56 on Kelly Jackson's layup.

The Trojan women defended the perimeter and forced the Tornado to eat seconds off the shot clock. But critical defensive lapses on weakside help underneath the basket allowed King to remain within striking distance.

"King is a fundamentally-sound team and understands that when you take something away, you know what else to do," MOC head coach Wendy Lee said. "We were able to run them off the 3-point line, but they would then go inside. No. 23 (Alley Sprouse) and No. 24 (Allison Bosse) are very good low-post players.

"They were taking advantage of inside play with not enough (weakside) help from us."

The final minute turned into a mad scramble.

Nesmith missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity with 53 seconds left. King clanked a 3-pointer off the rim, Nesmith pulled down the rebound and MOC missed yet another shot inside the paint.

Nesmith came up with a steal and freshman Anamaria Zjacic blocked a shot as time expired to keep the Trojans' perfect campaign intact.

"I'm proud of our team's effort, to not get rattled when they did hit big shots and made big runs, we were consistently able to get a stop when we needed it tonight," Lee said. "We held our composure against a really good team loaded with transfer players ... they're all experienced players and understand how to play college basketball."

MOC never trailed in the game and raced out to a 12-2 lead less than five minutes after tip-off. King committed five turnovers during that time and fell behind 24-11 when Gary drained back-to-back 3-pointers and Mitchell added a layup.

The Tornado committed 17 turnovers and the Trojan women collected 13 steals. Jasmine McDonald finished with seven steals, giving her 20 through four contests. The junior guard also posted eight points, eight rebounds and five assists.

Nesmith finished with nine points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and three steals. Kirksten Mitchell pumped in a game-high 17 points, while Joneiqua Gary contributed 12 points off the bench. Gary was named Conference Carolinas player-of-the-week earlier in the day.