Trojans Survive Emmanuel 58-54 In Conference Carolinas Women's Basketball

Trojans Survive Emmanuel 58-54 In Conference Carolinas Women's Basketball

Anamaria Zjacic hit a pair of free throws with 19 seconds to help University of Mount Olive thwart a frantic rally in the final minute as the Trojans held on to defeat Emmanuel College 58-54 in Conference Carolinas women's basketball Thursday at Kornegay Arena. The Trojans saw a 10-point lead with 1:09 left to play dwindle down to four points before Zjacic's free throws made it a three-possession game.

Mount Olive (11-15 overall, 9-11 Conference Carolinas) saw an 11-point halftime lead disappear midway through the second half, but Martha Mastin's baseline jumper with 9:23 left in the contest broke a 37-37 tie and put the Trojans ahead to stay. Ty Wallace sank a pair of free throws with 6:18 remaining to cap a 12-2 run and extend the Trojans' lead to 47-39.

Emmanuel (16-8, 12-8) got as close as four points, but Zjacic scored four points during a 6-0 mini-run as her two free throws with 1:09 left put Mount Olive's lead back at double digits at 55-45. But the outcome remained well in doubt thanks to Emmanuel's defense and free throw shooting.

Addie McNeely hit a pair of free throws for Emmanuel with 53 seconds left and Ashley Skelton forced a turnover on the ensuing inbounds pass. Skelton then drew a foul on a three-point attempt and nailed all three free throws to pull the Lions within 55-50 with 38 seconds remaining. After Mount Olive missed the front end of a one-and-one, Emmanuel had a chance to make it a one-possession game on a Trojan foul. McNeely hit the first free throw, but was denied a second attempt after a Lion lane violation.

Wallace hit 1-of-2 free throws with 32 seconds left and after Arieal Johnson pulled down the rebound on an Emmanuel missed three-point attempt, Zjacic sank her two free throws to give the Trojans a 58-51 lead. McNeely hit a three-pointer for Emmanuel with 3.2 seconds left, but the Trojans were able to run out the clock after inbounding the ball.

After allowing Emmanuel a desperation basket as the shot clock expired during the opening minute of play, Mount Olive held the Lions scoreless for more than five minutes as the Trojans ran off 10 unanswered points. Mount Olive took its first double-digit lead at 14-4 with 12:15 left before halftime when Shy'lia Buie forced an errant pass and Anamaria Zjacic's interception led to Tommarah Harris' transition basket.

Emmanuel got as close as seven points after Skye Rogers hit a three-pointer with 5:29 remaining, but the Lions were limited to two field goals the rest of the half. Johnson's layup off of Ni'ya Styles' inbounds pass pushed the margin back to double figures and Harris' length-of-the-court layup with 15 seconds remaining gave Mount Olive a 29-18 halftime lead.

Mount Olive saw its lead evaporate early in the second half as Emmanuel hit three of its first four three-point attempts after halftime. Elise Coberly's three-pointer with 12:37 left tied the game and Skelton's layup 40 seconds later put Emmanuel on top 37-35. Leah Graham tied the game with a pair of free throws and the Trojans never trailed again.

Although it didn't lead to any Trojan points, Buie may have had the play of the game, diving over the possession arrow and the scorer's table to save a ball inbounds with just over 13 minutes left in the contest.

Wallace shared game-high scoring honors with 17 points for Mount Olive, while Johnson added 16 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks. Zjacic dished out a game-high five assists.

Coberly recorded a double-double for Emmanuel with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Mount Olive plays its final home game of the season Saturday as the Trojans play host to Converse in a Conference Carolinas match-up. The Trojans won the first meeting 68-67 at Converse in January. Tip-off is 2 p.m. at Kornegay Arena.

Saturday's contest will also be Mount Olive's Senior Day. Four Trojans will be recognized prior to tip-off: Ansia Dial, Leah Graham, Gabby Griffin and Ty Wallace.