Mount Olive scored the first 15 points of the game and led by double figures throughout as the Trojans extended their winning streak to seven with a 79-51 victory over Lees-McRae in Conference Carolinas women's basketball Saturday at Kornegay Arena. Tamara Nesmith led Mount Olive with 17 points and nine rebounds, while Andrea Jones and Jasmine McDonald added 13 points apiece as the Trojans remained unbeaten in conference play and in sole possession of the East Division lead.
Mount Olive (11-3 overall, 5-0 Conference Carolinas) led 6-0 after Jasmine McDonald's three-point play with 17:08 left in the first half and took its first double digit lead after Andrea Jones hit a pair of baskets in a span of 25 seconds. Destinee Webb added a layup and a free throw and the Trojans took a 15-0 lead on McDonald's layup with 14:58 remaining.
Lees-McRae (5-6, 1-4) got on the scoreboard with 14:43 left on Deanna Waters' free throw and Kerri Belcher's layup 19 seconds later gave the Bobcats their first field goal of the contest. Lees-McRae got as close as 12 before Nesmith's transition basket capped an 11-2 run to extend the Trojans' lead to 30-9 with 5:53 remaining.
The margin grew to as many as 23 points and Matison Hall's free throws with four seconds left gave Mount Olive a 40-18 halftime lead. The Trojans scored 21 points off of 23 Lees-McRae turnovers in the first half.
Lees-McRae made a run early in the second half as Megan Tate's three-pointer and a short jumper by Waters pulled the Bobcats within 48-33 with 13:05 left to play. McDonald answered with a three-point play for Mount Olive and three-pointers by Jones, Kirksten Mitchell and Joneiqua Gary highlighted an 18-3 run as the Trojans' lead ballooned to 74-40 with 4:03 left. The margin stayed at 30 or above for the remainder of the contest until Natalija Cakarevic hit a three-pointer at the buzzer for Lees-McRae.
Alyssa Luebs flirted with a triple-double with eight points, eight rebounds and six assists, while Nesmith also dished out six assists. Webb had five steals and McDonald finished with four steals as Mount Olive recorded 20 steals as a team. The Trojans finished with 37 points off of turnovers.
Icey Patterson led Lees-McRae with 14 points on 7-for-12 shooting. Belcher added eight points and eight rebounds for the Bobcats.
Mount Olive returns to action Wednesday as the Trojans play host to St. Andrews in a Conference Carolinas match-up. Tip-off is 5:30 p.m.