Trojans Fall To Belmont Abbey 59-54 In Conference Carolinas Women's Basketball

Trojans Fall To Belmont Abbey 59-54 In Conference Carolinas Women's Basketball

University of Mount Olive built an eight-point lead midway through the first half, but a five-minute scoring slump allowed Belmont Abbey College to rally to defeat the Trojans 59-54 in Conference Carolinas women's basketball Saturday at Kornegay Arena. Saturday's loss ended a streak of nine consecutive Trojan wins over the Crusaders. Jasmine McDonald led the Trojans with 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Mount Olive (8-7 overall, 3-4 Conference Carolinas) led by one at halftime and still clung to a one-point lead midway through the second half before McDonald's layup triggered a 9-2 Trojan run. Katie Paschal followed with a pair of baskets and Kirksten Mitchell hit a three-pointer from the top of the key just before the shot clock expired to give Mount Olive its biggest lead of the game at 44-36 with 10:08 left to play. But the Trojans would score only one field goal over the next five minutes.

Belmont Abbey (12-5, 6-1) used Tajana Brown's putback on a missed second free throw attempt to chip away at the lead. McKenzie Owen added a pair of field goals and Kelsey Long's jumper with 6:43 remaining gave the Crusaders their first lead of the game at 47-46.

The margin grew to three before Joneiqua Gary's long-range three-pointer off the glass beat the shot clock and tied the game 49-49 with 5:02 left. Owen put Belmont Abbey back on top with a free throw on its next possession and the Crusaders led the rest of the way.

Missed free throws down the stretch by Belmont Abbey down the stretch kept the margin within one possession, but Mount Olive had a pair of three-pointer rim out in the final 90 seconds. Brown sealed the win for the Crusaders with a pair of free throws with one second left.

The first half saw three ties and four lead changes before Mount Olive used a late 7-0 run to take the lead for the remainder of the half. A Kirksten Mitchell layup and a Joneiqua Gary jumper sandwiched Jasmine McDonald's three-point play to give the Trojans a 21-16 advantage with 6:27 remaining.

Baskets by Morgan Midkiff and Kelsey Long pulled Belmont Abbey within a point before McDonald answered with a jumper with 2:39 remaining. Caitlyn Ranson hit a layup for the Crusaders with 1:25 left to cut Mount Olive's lead to 23-22 at halftime.

Gary finished with 12 points for Mount Olive, while Mitchell added 11 points. Ty Wallace pulled down 10 boards as the Trojans outrebounded Belmont Abbey 40-33, despite a series of offensive rebounds by the Crusaders late in the second half. McDonald, Mitchell and Paschal each dished out four assists.

Owen led Belmont Abbey with a game-high 25 points on 9-for-11 shooting from the field and 7-of-9 from the free throw line. Midkiff added 12 points and seven rebounds, while Candace Fox led all players with 10 assists.

Mount Olive returns to action Wednesday as the Trojans play host to Lees-McRae in a Conference Carolinas match-up. Tip-off is 5:30 p.m. at Kornegay Arena.