MOUNT OLIVE – Junior Laila Harris and freshman Maleiya Hill combined for nearly 50 points as the Trojans secured a 95-91 victory over USC-Aiken in double overtime at Kornegay Arena in non-conference play on Dec. 31.
With the win, the University of Mount Olive women’s basketball team improved to 7-6 overall with a 2-0 mark this season in overtime games. The Trojans hold a 3-0 record in the series against the Pacers with the two sides meeting for the first time since 2013. Meanwhile, USC-Aiken fell to 7-5 this season and has a 1-3 record on the road.
Harris set a new career high with 27 points on 10 of 20 shooting while converting seven of nine from the charity stripe. She also tallied four rebounds, three assists and one steal in 47 minutes. She has now eclipsed 20 points in three of the last five games and ranks fourth in the league in scoring with 15.2 points per game.
Hill delivered her best career game with the Trojans after producing a season-high 21 points on eight of 12 shots in 44 minutes. She also filled up the stat sheet with three rebounds, six assists and five steals. The Hillside product paces the conference with 29 steals while ranking third with 41 assists this year.
Junior Haleigh Crews totaled 12 points on six of 11 from the floor and added four rebounds in 36 minutes. Sophomore Kaia Simpson finished with 11 points, two assists and one block, while junior Reagan Hune posted nine points, four rebounds, three assists, four steals and one block.
In overtime, the contest was tied at 71 before the Trojans took a 73-71 advantage behind a pair of free throws from Hune. The Pacers answered with five straight points to reclaim the lead 76-73 with 3:32 left in the first overtime before UMO countered with four consecutive points, including a layup by Hill to take a 77-76 advantage. USC-Aiken regained the lead late in the overtime period at 83-81 with 17 seconds left, but Harris delivered a layup with six seconds remaining to send the game to a second overtime, 83-83.
Mount Olive took an 87-86 advantage in the second overtime behind a pair of jumpers before senior Makayla Kimble nailed a three-pointer with 2:45 left to extend the lead to 90-86. The Pacers responded with a layup before the Trojans scored four straight points to hold a 94-88 advantage with under two minutes remaining. USC-Aiken converted a three-point shot with 59 seconds left, but UMO sealed the victory at the line behind a free throw from Hune.
In the first quarter, both sides traded baskets in the opening minutes with the contest tied at six before a nearly two-minute scoreless drought followed. The Trojans hit back-to-back threes to stretch the lead to 16-10 with 4:25 left in the first. The Pacers answered with eight consecutive points to tie the game at 18 before freshman Laila Anderson converted a three-pointer with 45 seconds remaining to give Mount Olive a 21-18 lead after the opening quarter.
USC-Aiken managed to stay within a point of UMO throughout the second before the Trojans went a 6-0 run to extend the advantage to 31-24 with 1:08 left. USC-Aiken knocked down a three with 45 seconds to go before Harris made a jumper to allow the Trojans to head into halftime with a 33-27 lead.
The Pacers came out of the break and quickly tallied nine unanswered points in the initial two minutes of the third quarter to take a 36-33 advantage. Mount Olive tied the contest three times down the stretch of the third before going on an 8-0 run to hold a 51-47 lead after three.
USC-Aiken started the fourth quarter with a 6-0 run to reclaim the advantage at 53-51. The Pacers extended the lead to 61-54 with 6:48 left in regulation after scoring eight of the following nine points, but UMO countered with a 9-0 run to hold a 63-61 advantage with under five minutes left. The two teams exchanged the lead over the final minutes with three ties during that span as the game went into overtime tied at 71.
The Trojans finished the game shooting 47.3 percent (35 of 74) from the floor while converting 20 of 25 (80 percent) from the free-throw line. Meanwhile, the Pacers shot at a 47.6 percent clip (30 of 63) from the field and made 12 of 24 (50 percent) from beyond the arc. USC Aiken finished with a 48-24 rebounding advantage and scored 32 points in the paint. UMO tallied 36 points off 29 turnovers forced and netted 21 points off the bench.
— From University of Mount Olive Athletics