MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. – Tomeka Prichard scored a season-high 20 points to lead Mount Olive to an 85-70 victory over Coker in Conference Carolinas women’s basketball Monday at Kornegay Arena. Monday’s contest was the Trojans’ first home game after three consecutive away games. The Trojans have scored at least 85 points in four of their five conference wins.
After spotting Coker the first basket, Mount Olive (7-7 overall, 5-2 Conference Carolinas) scored the next nine points and built a 20-8 lead with 12:10 left in the first half. Prichard and Shequanta McGee both hit three-pointers and Helen Moore scored all of her eight first-half points during the run.
Prichard hit another three and the Trojans took their biggest lead at 25-10 with 11:10 remaining. Coker (2-12, 1-6) trimmed the margin to single digits as Jessica Hayes and Lotta Aaltonen hit three-pointers on consecutive possessions to pull the Cobras within 27-20 with 8:42 left in the half.
McGee answered with a three-pointer to extend the lead to double digits, but Coker rallied to pull within five, the closest margin since the first three minutes of the contest. Offensive putbacks by Alisa Jones and Lakeisha Monroe pushed the Trojans’ lead back to nine. Coker had a chance to get back within five, but Monroe stole a pass and her end-to-end layup gave Mount Olive a 38-29 lead with 55 seconds left.
The lead was still nine when Prichard sank a pair of free throws with 11 seconds left to give Mount Olive a 42-31 advantage at the break.
The second half started as a game of runs as Mount Olive forced turnovers on Coker’s first two possessions and Prichard and Brittney Robich converted both turnovers into three-pointers to build the Trojans’ lead to 48-31 in the first minute of the second half. Coker then cut the lead to 10 as Madison Bycroft’s three-pointer with 17:22 remaining capped a 7-0 run.
Robich’s three-pointer highlighted a Trojan 7-0 run as Mount Olive got the lead back up to 17 points. Coker got as close as nine points, but Jones’ layup with 10:55 remaining gave the Trojans a 61-50 lead and the margin stayed in double figures the rest of the way.
Monroe, Prichard and Robich combined to hit 8-of-8 free throws and Jill Oaks’ basket with 4:56 remaining extended the Trojans’ lead to 78-62. After the Trojans’ matched their biggest lead at 85-68 on another basket by Oaks, Temeca Spain hit a short field goal at the buzzer for the final margin.
Monroe finished with 16 points and eight rebounds for Mount Olive, while Robich added 12 points. Jones came within a point of a double-double, finishing with nine points and 10 rebounds to go with three steals and three blocked shots. Monroe and Moore recorded four steals apiece.
Spain led Coker with 19 points, while Henna Koponen and Lotta Aaltonen added 12 points apiece. Bycroft dished out a game-high six assists.
Mount Olive is off until Saturday when the Trojans travel to Gaffney, S.C., to take on Limestone in Conference Carolinas action. Tip-off is 5:30 p.m. Coker plays host to Queens Saturday at 2 p.m.