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February 29, 2024 7:01 pm

Trojans fall to No. 15 Lenoir-Rhyne

MOUNT OLIVE – Facing a nationally-ranked opponent, the University of Mount Olive women’s basketball team struggled with a late-game surge and ultimately fell by a 77-60 margin versus No. 15 Lenoir-Rhyne on Dec. 19 in non-conference play at Kornegay Arena.

With the loss, the Trojans dropped to 6-6 this season with a 5-2 record on their home court. It marks just the third meeting between the schools dating back to 1992, as the Bears hold a 3-0 record in the series. Meanwhile, Lenoir-Rhyne remains undefeated this season at 13-0.

Junior Haleigh Crews paced the team with 14 points on six of 15 shots in 33 minutes. Fellow junior Laila Harris registered 11 points on five of eight from the floor with three rebounds and one steal in 29 minutes. Teammate Reagan Hune produced 10 points on five of 10 shooting with two rebounds, two assists and three blocks in 26 minutes off the bench.

The Bears scored the opening basket on a layup before the Trojans answered with a 10-2 run to take a 10-4 lead with 6:03 left in the first. Lenoir-Rhyne responded with seven straight points in just over a minute to regain the lead 11-10 before both sides exchanged baskets down the stretch of the first. UMO converted a jumper in the closing seconds to hold a 22-20 advantage after one quarter.

The Bears managed to reclaim the lead in the second with six consecutive points as both teams struggled to score in the initial four minutes. Lenoir-Rhyne held a 31-26 lead before Mount Olive scored six of the final eight points of the quarter to trail 33-32 at the break.

In the third quarter, the Bears remained ahead until Mount Olive finally took the advantage with an 8-0 run with four points from Harris and senior Makayla Harris to hold a 52-48 lead with 1:03 left in the quarter. UMO knocked down three buckets to start the fourth to build the advantage to 58-52 with 8:03 remaining in the game.

Lenoir-Rhyne countered with a 25-2 run over the final eight minutes to secure the win.

The Trojans finished the game shooting 46.4 percent (29 of 56) from the floor while converting eight of 10 (80 percent) from the free-throw line. Meanwhile, the Bears shot at a 43.1 percent clip (28 of 65) from the field and made 17 of 21 (81 percent) from the charity stripe. Lenoir-Rhyne finished with a 41-24 rebounding advantage and scored 29 points off the bench. UMO tallied 38 points in the paint and 14 fast break points.

— From University of Mount Olive Athletics