02/27/13 — Late scoring drought dooms MOC women

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Late scoring drought dooms MOC women

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 27, 2013 1:47 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- The shots just wouldn't fall.

Mount Olive couldn't capitalize on crucial possessions in the closing minutes of the second half and dropped a 62-58 decision to in-state Conference Carolinas women's basketball foe Pfeiffer University on Tuesday evening.

The loss spoiled senior night for three Trojan women -- Tamara Nesmith, Alyssa Luebs and Kirstin Mobley. Nesmith just missed a double-double with a game-high 18 points and nine rebounds. Mobley and Luebs added six points and five rebounds apiece.

"All three seniors are very special, and they've really invested their heart and soul into the team," MOC head coach Wendy Lawrence said. "They're a good group of girls who battle. They've always been the type that they're never going to quit and I'm sure they won't quit until that final game has been put in the books.

"I'm really proud of them and what they've meant to the program."

Mount Olive (15-10 overall) slipped to 11-10 in conference play and assured itself of a road game in next week's league tournament. The Trojans could face either archrival Barton, Coker or Pfeiffer in the opening round.

Pfeiffer, ranked No. 7 in the latest NCAA Division II Southeast Region poll, solidified third place in the conference at 16-5 and will host an opening-round contest.

"I thought our team really put forth a good effort," Lee said.

The teams battled through 11 lead changes with most occurring in the pivotal second half. Neither the Trojans nor the Falcons could seize more than four-point lead during a 10-minute stretch.

Mobley's basket off Nesmith's assist ended the Falcons' 9-2 run and put the Trojans ahead 51-50. Alex Silva's layup extended the advantage to 53-50 before Pfeiffer answered with five straight points.

Luebs' bucket off Silva's assist accounted for MOC's final lead, 55-54, with 4:08 remaining in regulation. The Trojans failed to convert their next 10 possessions and missed several open looks underneath the basket.

"The game went down to just a couple of possessions," Lee said. "It could have been either team's (win). We had opportunities in the last two or three minutes that we didn't finish, and they did.

"I thought we got fouled a lot in the end and we didn't get the calls we needed. It would have helped us to be able to get to the free throw line."

The Falcons reeled off eight consecutive points, including four consecutive free throws by Kellie Rhoney within a 12-second span to seal the outcome. Gary's 3-pointer snapped the Trojans' 3 1/2-minute offensive drought in the last 10 seconds.

Ranked No. 4 nationally in 3-pointers made per game, Pfeiffer (21-5) connected on eight shots behind the arc. Jodie Lemons hit three triples and finished with 15 points. Teammate Christina Harvey led the Falcons with 16 points.