Women's Basketball Defeats Barton 79-66 On Senior Night - Clinches First-Round Home Game In Conference Tournament

Women's Basketball Defeats Barton 79-66 On Senior Night - Clinches First-Round Home Game In Conference Tournament

Seniors Jasmine McDonald, Kirksten Mitchell and Katie Paschal combined for 68 points as University of Mount Olive celebrated Senior Night with a 79-66 victory over Barton College in Conference Carolinas women's basketball Tuesday at Kornegay Arena. With the win, the Trojans clinched a home game in the first round of the 2014 Conference Carolinas Women's Basketball Tournament. McDonald narrowly missed becoming the first player in Trojan basketball history to record two triple-doubles with 22 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists as Mount Olive earned a regular season series sweep over the Bulldogs.

Mount Olive will be the No. 3 seed in the tournament and will play host to the No. 6 seed Saturday at Kornegay Arena. Both the game time and the Trojans' opponent is still to be determined. Mount Olive will face either Erskine or Lees-McRae, but the Trojans won't find out until Thursday when Erskine plays Pfeiffer in a game that had to be rescheduled due to a recent snowstorm.

Mount Olive (16-10 overall, 11-7 Conference Carolinas) outscored Barton 8-2 to end the first half and scored the first eight points of the second half to take a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game. McDonald's jumper with 18:07 left to play completed the run and gave the Trojans a 48-34 advantage.

The Trojans held a 58-45 lead with 11:48 remaining when Barton's Nyeshea Willie had to leave the game with an injury. Willie, who ranks third in the nation in scoring with 24 points per game, had sat out the second half of Saturday's game against Converse due to an injury.

Mount Olive's lead never grew above 15 points, but Barton (12-14, 9-9) missed a pair of opportunities to cut the margin to single digits. The Bulldogs were unable to complete a three-point play that would have cut the Trojans lead to nine. McDonald came back with a three-pointer for Mount Olive to extend the Trojans' lead to 63-50 with 8:34 remaining.

Barton drew within 69-59 with 4:41 left to play on a basket by Kaila Lea, and two offensive rebounds kept the Bulldogs' next possession alive and Ty Wallace blocked a shot to keep the Trojans' lead at double figures. Wallace hit a layup on Mount Olive's ensuing possession and Barton never got closer than 11. Mitchell hit a pair of free throws with 23 seconds remaining to give the Trojans their biggest lead at 79-64.

Mount Olive took a quick 5-0 lead after a three-pointer by Mitchell and McDonald's downcourt pass over the Barton defense led to Paschal's three-point play with 15:09 left in the half to give the Trojans their biggest lead of the half at 14-5. Barton used three-pointers by Tiffany Webster and Ashley Thornton to cut into the margin, and Caila Carter's putback with 7:02 remaining gave the Bulldogs their first lead at 23-22.

The Trojans went nearly five minutes without a field goal but used a flurry of three-pointers to regain the lead. Mitchell's three-pointer with 1:40 left put Mount Olive back on top 32-30 and after a Barton basket, McDonald's three with 53 seconds left gave the Trojans the lead for good.

Mitchell hit another three-pointer from the top of the key with 19 seconds left and McDonald's defensive rebound on a Barton miss led to Paschal's driving layup at the buzzer to give Mount Olive a 40-34 halftime advantage.

Mitchell finished with a game-high 25 points and hit 8-of-8 free throws, while Paschal added 21 points and five assists. Wallace, who gave up her starting spot for Senior Night, pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds off the bench.

Lea and Willie led Barton with 14 points apiece, while Brianna Thomas added 13 points and Thornton finished with 11 points.

Along with McDonald, Mitchell and Paschal, seniors Joneiqua Gary and Andrea Jones were recognized prior to the game. In addition, Jones and McDonald were honored for scoring over 1,000 points during their collegiate careers. McDonald surpassed the 1,000-point mark in Saturday's game at Limestone.