FLORENCE, S.C. – Despite a game-high 23 points from junior Reagan Hune, the University of Mount Olive women’s basketball team suffered an 81-65 loss at Francis Marion on Feb. 22 in Conference Carolinas play in the final game of the regular season.
With the loss, the Trojans concluded the season with a 14-14 record and a 10-10 mark in conference action. The Trojans will enter the league tournament as the No. 6 seed and host the opening two rounds of the championship at Kornegay Arena. UMO will face the winner of No. 7 Southern Wesleyan vs. No. 10 North Greenville. Meanwhile, the Patriots finished the season on an 18-game winning streak with a 20-6 overall mark and an 18-2 record in league play.
Hune dropped her 23 points on 11 of 16 shooting with four rebounds and three steals while playing all 40 minutes. The 5-foot-10 junior has averaged 17.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game over the previous six contests. Hune tallied her third 20-point performance of the year ahead of the start of the conference tournament.
Freshman Laila Anderson finished with nine points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals in 38 minutes, while sophomore Tiandria Tucker registered nine points and six rebounds in 19 minutes. Junior Haleigh Crews posted eight points, three rebounds and five assists in 35 minutes.
Both teams were firing on all cylinders in the opening minutes of the first quarter, as the Trojans held a 9-6 advantage after converting four of seven from the field. Francis Marion answered with back-to-back buckets before Mount Olive mounted a 10-3 run to extend the lead to 19-13, led by senior Makayla Kimble with five points. The sides exchanged points over the final two-plus minutes with UMO holding a slight 27-23 advantage.
The Trojans nailed consecutive three-pointers to start the second quarter and built the lead to 33-25 before the Patriots went on a 19-3 rally to take a 44-36 lead. During that seven-plus minute stretch, UMO shot just one of 12 from the field with five turnovers. Mount Olive closed the half with back-to-back layups to head into the break trailing by a 44-40 margin.
In the second half, the Trojans quickly tied the game at 44 before going on a 9-3 run to reclaim the lead 53-48 with 4:53 left in the third quarter. Francis Marion responded with a layup, but UMO countered by scoring six of the following nine points to stretch the lead to 59-53. The Patriots closed the quarter by making a pair at the free-throw line, as UMO held a 59-55 advantage.
Following a pull-up jumper from Hune to begin the fourth, Francis Marion scored 18 unanswered over five-plus minutes to take a 73-61 lead at the 3:12 mark. Mount Olive snapped the run with a jumper, but the Patriots secured the win at the free-throw line converting a perfect eight-of-eight.
UMO finished the contest shooting 39.7 percent (25 of 63) from the floor while converting 10 of 17 (58.8 percent) from the free-throw line. Meanwhile, Francis Marion shot 54.2 percent (32 of 59) and made 15 of 20 (75 percent) from the charity stripe. The Patriots held a massive 42-26 rebounding advantage with 52 points in the paint, while the Trojans tallied 23 points off 21 forced turnovers.
— From University of Mount Olive Athletics