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November 28, 2023 6:31 pm

Mount Olive defeats UNC Pembroke

MOUNT OLIVE – Behind the best shooting performance of the season, along with 17 forced turnovers, the University of Mount Olive women’s basketball team secured a 57-47 victory over UNC Pembroke in Conference Carolinas play at Kornegay Arena on Nov. 22.

With the win, the Trojans improved to 1-3 this season with a 1-0 mark in conference action. Mount Olive claimed its third straight win over UNCP on its home court with series split 3-3 over the last six contests. Meanwhile, the Braves dropped to 0-5 overall with an 0-1 record in league play.

Junior Laila Harris led all scorers with 15 points on six of 15 attempts with five rebounds, two assists, a steal and one block in 38 minutes. The New Jersey native has scored in double figures in three of the last four contests while leading the team with 10.5 points per game.

Fellow junior Haleigh Crews filled up the stat sheet with 11 points on a perfect five of five shooting with five rebounds, three assists and four steals in 34 minutes. Freshman Laila Anderson finished with 11 points, two assists and one steal in 24 minutes, while sophomore Tiandria Tucker pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench.

The Trojans started the game with nine consecutive points in the opening four-plus minutes, led by Harris and freshman Maleiya Hill. The Braves answered with a three-pointer before UMO extended the lead by scoring eight of the following 10 points to take a 17-5 lead with 2:15 left in the first. UNC Pembroke knocked down three of four shots to trail 19-12 at the end of the quarter.

Both teams traded baskets over the next six minutes of the second before Anderson nailed back-to-back three-pointers to stretch the lead to 31-20 at the 3:11 mark. The Braves countered with five straight points, as the Trojans held a 31-25 lead at the break.

In the third quarter, both sides were scoreless over the initial two minutes before Crews converted a layup. UNCP answered with a 6-0 run to trim the deficit to 33-31 with 6:15 left in the quarter. Mount Olive stretched the lead to 39-33 midway through the third before the Braves closed the gap to 44-41 after converting four free throws.

UMO limited UNC Pembroke to just six points in the fourth to seal the win.

The Trojans finished the game shooting 40.7 percent (24 of 59) from the floor, including six of 20 (30 percent) from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, the Braves shot at a 33.3 percent clip (18 of 54) from the field and converted eight of 10 (80 percent) from the free-throw line. Mount Olive finished with a 41-36 rebounding advantage and scored 23 points off turnovers. UNCP tallied 28 points in the paint and scored 28 off the bench.

— From University of Mount Olive Athletics