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November 28, 2023 6:28 pm

UMO conquers Converse on the road

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Behind 30 points in the first quarter on 75 percent shooting, the Trojans rolled past Converse by a 77-57 margin on the road in Conference Carolinas play on Dec. 3.

With the win, the University of Mount Olive women’s basketball team improved to 3-4 overall with a 2-1 mark in conference action. The Trojans have now won 28 straight games against the Valkyries dating back to 2005. Meanwhile, Converse fell to 1-7 this season behind a 1-2 record in league play.

Senior Laila Harris had 17 points on 7 of 13 from the field while adding four rebounds, two assists and one block in 32 minutes. She continues to pace the team in scoring this season with 13.1 points per game and has notched at least 15 points in four straight games. Harris ranks among the top 10 in the conference in scoring, blocks and field goal percentage.

Freshman Laila Anderson generated 15 points on five of 11 shooting with two rebounds and two steals in 29 minutes off the bench. Junior Haleigh Crews finished with 13 points, five rebounds and two assists in 28 minutes, while fellow junior Reagan Hune chipped in 11 points and eight rebounds in 19 minutes.

Both teams traded baskets in the opening four minutes of the contest, as the Valkyries held a slight 12-11 edge. The Trojans countered with nine straight points, led by Anderson with five points, to take a 21-11 lead with 2:46 left in the first. Converse halted the run with a layup before UMO made a pair of shots and five of seven from the line to hold a 30-18 advantage after the first quarter.

The Valkyries strung together three consecutive points from the free throw line to start the second before Mount Olive scored six unanswered points to stretch the lead to 36-21 with 5:33 remaining. Both sides exchanged points over the final five-plus minutes, as the Trojans took a 45-31 advantage into halftime.

After little separation in the initial minutes of the third, UMO went on a 24-3 run spanning seven-plus minutes while converting 10 of 16 shots to extend the lead to 69-38.

Converse started the fourth quarter with 10 straight points to close the gap to 69-48 with 7:53 left. Hune responded with back-to-back buckets, but the Valkyries went on a 9-2 rally to trim the deficit to 75-57 with just over a minute remaining. The Trojans controlled possession for the reminder of the game and secured a 77-57 win.

UMO finished the game shooting 29 of 62 (46.8 percent) from the floor after converting 15 of 24 (62.5 percent) from the free-throw line. Meanwhile, Converse shot at a 27.9 percent clip (17 of 61) and made just two of 16 (12.5 percent) from three-point range. The Valkyries finished with a 51-37 rebounding advantage, while the Trojans scored 23 points off 22 turnovers forced and tallied 28 points in the paint.

— From University of Mount Olive Athletics