MOUNT OLIVE (Dec. 10) – Junior Laila Harris registered a career-high 20 points on Dec. 10, as the Trojans edged Virginia State in the closing seconds 59-58 to secure the win in non-conference play at Kornegay Arena.
With the win, the University of Mount Olive women’s basketball team stretched its winning streak to three straight and improved to 5-4 overall behind a 4-1 mark at home. It marks just the second meeting between the sides dating back to 2011, with UMO winning both contests. Meanwhile, VSU fell to 3-5 this season and holds an 0-2 mark against Conference Carolinas opponents.
Harris led all scorers after converting 10 of 17 shooting while tallying five rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocks in 35 minutes. The New Jersey native has scored in double-figures in seven-consecutive games and ranks fifth in the league in scoring with 13.9 points per game.
Freshman Maleiya Hill totaled 10 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals in 35 minutes while senior Makayla Kimble finished with seven points, four assists and three steals in 33 minutes of play. Sophomore Tiandria Tucker produced six points, five rebounds, and two steals in 25 minutes on Saturday.
Mount Olive established an early 10-2 advantage in the initial three minutes of the contest after Harris led the way with six points. Virginia State countered by scoring seven of the next nine points to close the gap to 12-9 with 1:50 left in the first. UMO responded with a 6-2 run and led 18-11 after one quarter.
In the second, VSU knocked down a three-pointer in the opening minute before Mount Olive made four of six field goals to extend the lead to 27-19 with 5:08 left before the break. Virginia State mounted a 7-2 run over the next three minutes to trim the deficit to 29-26 before UMO held a 33-27 advantage at halftime.
Both teams traded baskets in the first minute of the third before Mount Olive responded by making five of six shots with four players contributing to take a 45-35 lead with 2:30 remaining in the quarter. VSU managed to cut the gap to 47-40 heading to the final quarter.
Over the opening five minutes of the fourth, Virginia State converted five of eight field goals while forcing three turnovers to cut the deficit to 54-52 with 4:59 left. VSU would tie the game at 57 with just over a minute remaining before taking its only lead of the game after making one of two from the line for a 58-57 advantage. With 37 seconds left, freshman Laila Anderson hit the eventual game-winner on a floating jumper to seal the 59-58 victory.
UMO finished the game shooting 25 of 54 (46.3 percent) from the floor and converted seven of eight (87.5 percent) from the free-throw line. Meanwhile, Virginia State shot at a 34.5 percent clip (19 of 55) and made 18 of 26 (69.2 percent) from the charity stripe. VSU finished with a 37-35 rebounding advantage with 28 points in the paint, while Mount Olive scored 33 points off 25 forced turnovers.
— From University of Mount Olive Athletics