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March 3, 2024 10:19 pm

Second half propels Mount Olive over Barton

WILSON – Behind four players in double figures and a strong second-half performance, the University of Mount Olive women’s basketball team claimed a 77-72 victory at Barton on Jan. 11 in Conference Carolinas play.

With the win, the Trojans improved to 9-7 this season with a 5-3 record in league action. Mount Olive snapped a seven-game skid against the Bulldogs while securing its first win on the road in the series since 2017. Meanwhile, Barton dropped their third straight game and fell to 2-11 overall with a 2-4 mark in conference play.

Freshman Laila Anderson produced a game-high 21 points on eight of 12 shots with a pair of three-pointers while adding five steals in 27 minutes off the bench. The Burlington School product collected her second 20-point performance of the year and ranks second on the team with 9.6 points per game.

Junior Reagan Hune finished with a double-double after tallying 13 points on six of 11 shooting with 12 rebounds (four offensive) in 29 minutes off the bench. Fellow junior Haleigh Crews also recorded 13 points with five rebounds, five assists and two steals in 29 minutes. Junior Laila Harris reached double figures with 10 points while adding eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block in 38 minutes.

In the first quarter, the Bulldogs scored the initial four points of the contest before building the advantage to 10-5 with just over three minutes remaining in the quarter. Mount Olive scored the next four points to trail 10-9 before Barton extended the lead to 15-11 at the end of the period.

The Bulldogs remained ahead through the early minutes of the second with a 20-14 advantage at the 7:24 mark. Mount Olive trimmed the deficit with five straight points in 17 seconds, including a three-pointer from sophomore Kaia Simpson, to trail 20-19. Mount Olive ended the first half on an 11-5 run and led 30-28 at the halftime break.

Both teams exchanged points in the opening five minutes of the third quarter before the Trojans tallied nine unanswered to stretch the lead to 48-38 with 2:51 left in the quarter. The Bulldogs responded by scoring five consecutive points to close the gap, but Mount Olive finished the third with a 7-0 run to hold a 55-43 advantage.

In the fourth, Barton cut the deficit to 58-52 with 6:11 remaining following a 9-3 rally. UMO countered with five straight points to build the lead back to 63-52 and continued to stay ahead late into the quarter. With under a minute left, the Bulldogs trimmed the lead to 73-69 after an 8-0 run, but the Trojans secured the win at the free-throw line.

The Trojans finished the game shooting 44.8 percent (26 of 58) from the floor while converting 21 of 30 (70 percent) from the free-throw line. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs shot at a 38.6 clip (22 of 57) from the field and made 22 of 34 (64.7 percent) from the charity stripe. Mount Olive finished with a 42-35 rebounding advantage and scored 38 points off the bench, while Barton totaled 24 points off 28 turnovers forced.

— From University of Mount Olive Athletics