Miracle Rally Comes Up Short Against Coker

Miracle Rally Comes Up Short Against Coker

Kirksten Mitchell scored five points in two seconds to cut a seven-point deficit down to a field goal, but a tying three-point attempt at the buzzer was off the mark as Mount Olive fell to Coker 66-63 in Conference Carolinas women's basketball Wednesday at Kornegay Arena. Mitchell led four Trojans in double figures with 13 points.

Mount Olive (13-8 overall, 9-8 Conference Carolinas) trailed 61-53 with 1:23 left to play when Tamara Nesmith blocked a shot and Mitchell converted a fastbreak layup to make it a two-possession game. After a steal by Alyssa Luebs, Jasmine McDonald hit a layup with 40 seconds left to pull the Trojans within 61-57.

The Trojans had chances to cut further into Coker's lead, but hit only one of its next three free throw attempts. Amber Lau and Angie Lawrence combined to hit 4-of-4 free throws to give Coker a 65-58 lead with 20 seconds left.

Mitchell hit a long three-pointer from the right wing to make it a four-point game with 13 seconds left, then stole the inbounds pass in the lane and buried a 10-footer to pull Mount Olive within 65-63 with 11 seconds remaining.

The Trojans fouled Lau with 6.8 seconds left and hit the first free throw. After a Mount Olive timeout, Lau missed the second attempt, giving the Trojans one final attempt. The Trojans got the ball to Mitchell with one second left, but her three-point attempt wouldn't fall.

Mount Olive jumped out to a 14-7 lead early in the first half as Joneiqua Gary scored eight straight Trojan points. Coker (13-10, 9-8) used the three-ball to rally as three-pointers by Lau and Lawrence helped the Cobras tie the game 23-23 with 6:13 remaining.

Nesmith's layup put Mount Olive back on top, but Hailey Yohn's three-pointer highlighted a 10-2 run to give Coker a six-point lead. Leah Graham drew a foul on an offensive rebound and hit a pair of free throws with 12 seconds left as Mount Olive pulled within 33-29 at halftime.

Nesmith was whistled for three fouls in the first half, but did not commit her fourth foul until six minutes remained in the game. She played all but one minute in the second half.

Mount Olive fell behind by seven early in the second half before Gary's third three-pointer of the game pulled the Trojans within 42-41 with 12:15 left to play. But Mount Olive was never able to regain the lead.

McDonald finished with 12 points to go with game highs of nine rebounds, six assists and three steals. Nesmith also had 12 points, while Gary finished with 11.

Lau led all players with 27 points for Coker, including 12-for-14 from the free throw line. Lawrence added 18 points and four assists.

Wednesday's contest was part of "Play 4 Kay" in honor of legendary North Carolina State head women's basketball coach Kay Yow. Proceeds were collected for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.

Mount Olive plays the first of three consecutive away games as the Trojans travel to Bristol, Tenn., Saturday to take on King in a Conference Carolinas match-up. Mount Olive edged King 60-56 in the first meeting November 27 at Kornegay Arena. Tip-off is 2 p.m.