01/10/13 — Trojan women rally from 15-point deficit to flush Royals

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Trojan women rally from 15-point deficit to flush Royals

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 10, 2013 1:47 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Jasmine McDonald and her Mount Olive College teammates talked about accountability before the coaches entered the locker room at halftime Wednesday evening.

Take care of the ball.

Settle down on offense.

Control the boards.

The Trojan women corrected those fundamental mistakes in the second half, erased a 15-point deficit and upended Queens University of Charlotte, 58-55, in a Conference Carolinas basketball affair inside Kornegay Arena. MOC improved to 9-2 overall and remained unbeaten in seven home contests this season.

McDonald just missed a double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds, and played a game-high 38 minutes. Joneiqua Gary buried four second-half 3-pointers, which led to a team-leading 18 points. Tamara Nesmith provided 17 points and eight rebounds.

"Tonight, in the first half, we were still getting out of that funk (of Saturday's loss)," MOC head coach Wendy Lee said. "We weren't really connected, weren't communicating well and were frustrated. We were seeing what we already knew would happen, but we didn't move to the next step.

"We had a solution, but tried to force things."

Queens grabbed a 13-2 lead barely four minutes into the game.

Greene Central alum Shonice Pettaway drained back-to-back 3-pointers, Dyonna Battle scored on an offensive putback and Melissa Thomas added a 3-pointer to cap the surge.

Mount Olive pecked away at the deficit and climbed to within 19-16 on Nesmith's short jumper in the lane. The Royals (6-5, 4-3) controlled the boards and employed a full-court press that frustrated the Trojans.

Steals and careless passes led to an 8-0 run and a 33-20 deficit at the break.

"We had to settle down on offense, get under control and run our plays," McDonald said. "In practice, we stressed that they (Queens) get on the boards and we know they're going to press. I normally don't fold under pressure, but instead of me trying to take care of the ball and step through the trap, I hurried instead.

"There was some frustration at halftime."

Pettaway's steal and layup gave the Royals their biggest lead, 35-20, early in the second half.

Gary knocked down three 3-pointers that ignited a 13-2 run and closed the gap to 37-33. McDonald contributed a 3-pointer, while Nesmith converted an open-court layup off Gary's steal and assist.

"Jo hit some shots and they kept feeding her," Lee said.

MOC also clamped down on defense. The Trojan women forced Queens into difficult shots, crashed the boards and held the Royals to just five field goals in the final 14 1/2 minutes of play.

Gary's basket off Nesmith's assist gave the Trojan women their first lead, 52-50, with 6:09 left in regulation. MOC extended the margin to 55-50 and held on during a wild final 3 1/2 minutes.

Chippy play ensued and Queens pulled to within 56-55 on Thomas' baseline jumper with 18.9 seconds to go. McDonald sank two pivotal free throws with 7.7 seconds left to seal the outcome.