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March 3, 2024 10:51 pm

Trojans fall short against Patriots

MOUNT OLIVE (Jan. 18) – Despite a career-high 24 points from junior Haleigh Crews on Jan. 18, the Trojans fell short by a 74-69 margin versus Francis Marion at Kornegay Arena in Conference Carolinas play.

With the loss, the University of Mount Olive women’s basketball team dropped to 10-9 overall with a 6-5 mark in conference action. The Patriots have won back-to-back meetings against the Trojans after defeating UMO in the semifinals of the league tournament last season. Meanwhile, Francis Marion extended their winning streak to eight straight to improve to 10-6 this season with an 8-2 record in league play.

Crews finished with a career-high 24 points on nine of 15 shooting, including four of five from three-point range. She also tallied seven rebounds, two assists and three steals in 37 minutes. Crews ranks third on the team this season with 9.6 points per game, including 11 contests in double-figures.

Freshman Laila Anderson registered 16 points on five of 14 from the field with four rebounds, while junior Reagan Hune totaled nine points, six rebounds, two assists and five steals in 38 minutes. Freshman Maleiya Hill scored nine points with five rebounds, eight assists and two steals in 37 minutes.

Both sides exchanged baskets in the opening two minutes of the first quarter before UMO scored 10 straight points, led by Anderson with six, to take a 15-5 advantage. Francis Marion countered with a 13-2 run over the next four-plus minutes of the quarter to take an 18-17 lead. Hill answered with a three-point play, but the Patriots converted a layup with one second left to tie the game at 20.

The game would feature three more ties in the opening half of the second quarter before FMU registered eight consecutive points to take a 34-27 lead. Over the final two minutes of the half, Mount Olive scored six of the last eight points to trail 36-33 at the break.

The Trojans quickly established the lead in the third quarter with eight unanswered points to hold a 41-36 advantage. The Patriots remained within striking distance during the majority of the third before regaining the lead with a short 5-0 run in the closing minutes. Hill converted a floating jumper in the final seconds to tie the game at 55 heading into the fourth.

The Patriots protected the lead for the opening three minutes before Anderson hit a three-pointer and Hune made a free throw to knot the contest at 63 at the 5:35 mark. With FMU leading 67-66 with 1:52 left, the Patriots went on a 7-0 run, including five of six from the charity stripe to seal the win.

The Trojans finished the game shooting 45 percent (27 of 60) from the floor while converting six of 15 (40 percent) from three-point range. Meanwhile, the Patriots shot at a 57.1 percent clip (28 of 49) from the field and made 14 of 19 (73.7 percent) from the free-throw line. Francis Marion finished with a 31-30 rebounding advantage and scored 42 points in the paint, while UMO delivered 18 points off 23 forced turnovers.

— From University of Mount Olive Athletics