Trojans pull away in second half, defeat Bobcats 74-48

MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. --- The Mount Olive College women's basketball team outscored Lees-McRae College by a 38-22 margin in the second half, including a 12-0 run midway through the period, to pull away for a 74-48 victory in Conference Carolinas play on Saturday evening.

(Mount Olive (13-7, 9-7 CC) shot 48.3 percent from the floor in the contest, including a 53.6 percent clip in the first half, while holding Lees-McRae (8-11, 6-10 CC) to a field goal percentage of 39.5 percent on the evening. The Trojans won the battle on the glass by a 39-27 margin, including a 15-7 advantage on the offensive boards, while converting 23 Bobcat miscues into 28 points.

Lauren Lewis (Concord, N.C.) led the way for Lees-McRae with a game-high 19 points, connecting on 7-of-14 attempts from the floor and going 4-for-8 from beyond the arc. Alyssa Munson (Summerfield, N.C.) added eight points and five boards, knocking down each of her three field goal attempts, as Kerri Belcher (Roanoke, Va.) chipped in six markers and five rebounds.

Tamara Nesmith nearly recorded a triple-double for Mount Olive, posting 18 points to go along with game-highs of 11 rebounds and nine assists. Joneiqua Gary added a game-high 19 markers with a 7-for-15 night from the floor, as Jasmine McDonald chipped in 12 points and five boards.

The Bobcats fought hard in the opening minutes of the first half, answering a 7-1 spurt by the Trojans with a Lewis triple to cut the lead to 11-10 at the 13:45 mark. Mount Olive would counter with a 17-8 run to push the advantage to 28-18 following a trey by Kirksten Mitchell with 6:28 to play in the half.

After Lewis responded with a solo 8-0 run for the Bobcats to cut the lead to 28-26, Mount Olive quickly countered with an 8-0 spurt of its own, taking a 36-26 advantage into the intermission following a last-second lay-in by Alexandra Silva.

The Bobcats answered in the early moments of the second half, trimming the margin to 42-36 on a layup by Zukye Smith (Chesterfield, Va.) with 15:14 to go to cap a 10-6 spurt. Mount Olive responded with a 12-0 run, stretching the lead to 54-36 on a Mitchell lay-in at the 11:28 mark.

The Trojans continued to dictate play over the next several minutes, pushing the advantage to 67-42 following a Gary triple with 4:37 to go before closing out the victory with a pair of late free throws by Ansia Dial.

Lees-McRae returns to the court on Wednesday when the Bobcats welcome King College to Williams Gymnasium at 5:30 p.m. for a Conference Carolinas matchup. The Bobcats will host Church Night that evening, and encourage all members of the community to attend. All fans who present a church bulletin at the gate will receive free admission for the evening, and are welcome to remain in the gym following the men's contest for Lees-McRae's Worship on Wednesday.

- LMC -