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March 25, 2023 1:02 pm

UMO women’s basketball beaten by Tusculum

SALISBURY – The University of Mount Olive women’s basketball team suffered a 65-50 loss in the season-opener Nov. 11 versus Tusculum in the Conference Challenge hosted by Catawba.

Freshman Laila Anderson posted a team-high 13 points on 5-16 from the floor in 22 minutes. Junior Laila Harris finished with 11 points on 5-14 shooting while adding three rebounds and three steals in 33 minutes. Teammate Haleigh Crews also recorded 11 points on 4-10 shot attempts with five rebounds and four assists in 30 minutes of action.

The Trojans scored the opening basket on a layup by Anderson before Tusculum took a 10-4 lead with 4:19 left in the quarter. Anderson scored the next nine points for the Trojans to work the deficit down to 18-13 to close out the first. Both teams were scoreless over the initial two-plus minutes of the second quarter before the Pioneers tallied five-consecutive points to lead 24-13. Harris countered with back-to-back jumpers before UMO went a perfect 5-5 from the field to close the gap 33-29 with 1:56 left before halftime. Tusculum scored one point over the final minutes of play to take a 34-29 lead into the break.

Crews scored the initial basket of the third quarter, but the Pioneers responded with a 7-2 run to extend the lead to 41-33 with 5:58 remaining in the third. Harris answered with a layup before Tusculum scored five-straight points to lead 46-35. The Trojans finished the third with a 6-0 run to trim the deficit to 46-41 heading into the final quarter.

The Pioneers shot 5-7 from the field and scored 12 straight over nearly three minutes to build a 58-41 lead in the fourth. Both teams exchanged the next seven points before a scoreless drought of over two-plus minutes. The Pioneers held a 65-45 advantage with 2:30 left in the game before UMO closed the contest with five straight points.

The Trojans finished the game shooting 32.8 percent (21-64) from the field, including just 3-25 (12 percent) from three-point range. Meanwhile, the Pioneers shot at a 49.0 clip (24-49) from the floor and were 6-17 (35.3 percent) from beyond the arc. Tusculum finished with a 43-32 rebounding advantage, while UMO scored 17 points off of 22 turnovers forced.

— From University of Mount Olive Athletics