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November 28, 2023 5:58 pm

UMO women cruise past Livingstone

MOUNT OLIVE – After scoring 33 points off a season-high 24 forced turnovers, the Trojans claimed a 74-48 win over Livingstone on Nov. 26 in non-conference play at Kornegay Arena.

With the win, the University of Mount Olive women’s basketball team improved to 2-3 this season and remained undefeated at home. In their last two meetings, the Trojans have secured a pair of victories by double figures over the Blue Bears. Meanwhile, Livingstone dropped to 2-3 overall after entering the contest with consecutive wins.

Junior Laila Harris recorded a dominant performance after leading all scorers with 16 points on 8 of 13 from the field. She also added five rebounds, three assists, four steals and two blocks in 29 minutes. The New Jersey native has paced the team in scoring in three straight games and is averaging 11.6 points per game.

Sophomore Kaia Simpson posted career highs with 15 points and nine rebounds in 19 minutes against the Blue Bears. Senior Makayla Kimble finished with 12 points on four of six shooting with two rebounds, three assists and three steals in 24 minutes. Junior Reagan Tune and sophomore Taylor Haynes each totaled 10 points.

Mount Olive scored six straight points to begin the contest before Livingstone made its opening basket nearly three minutes into the game. After a two-minute scoreless drought, the Trojans went on a 10-0 run on four of five shooting, led by Harris with six points, to take a 16-2 advantage with 3:12 left in the first. Both teams exchanged buckets over the final minutes of the quarter, as UMO held a 20-8 lead.

In the second, Mount Olive opened the quarter with 10 unanswered points to stretch the advantage to 30-10 with 6:54 remaining. The Blue Bears responded with seven consecutive points before the Trojans mounted a 15-4 run to extend the lead to 45-19 in the final minute of the half. Livingstone notched back-to-back layups to trail 45-23 at halftime.

The Blue Bears nailed a three-pointer to start the third before UMO took a 57-27 lead following a 12-1 run over the next five minutes. Livingstone closed the third by scoring five of the final seven points, as Mount Olive led 59-32 at the end of the quarter.

The Trojans established their largest lead of the game at 31 points early in the fourth, following a pair of free throws to take a 63-32 advantage. The Blue Bears countered with a 13-4 rally to trim the deficit to 67-45 with 3:21 left in the game. Mount Olive secured the win after converting five of seven from the line over the final minutes of the contest.

UMO finished the game shooting 27 of 61 (44.3 percent) from the floor after converting 16 of 23 (69.9 percent) from the free-throw line. Meanwhile, Livingstone shot at a 28.4 percent clip (19 of 67) and made just 2 of 18 (11.1 percent) from beyond the arc. The Blue Bears finished with a 47-39 rebounding advantage, while the Trojans scored 32 points in the paint and tallied a season-high 20 assists.

— From University of Mount Olive Athletics