Lakeisha Monroe scored 24 points for Mount Olive, but Elizabeth City State rallied for a 75-69 victory over the Trojans in non-conference women’s basketball Wednesday afternoon at Kornegay Arena. Elizabeth City State’s Celeste Trahan scored 25 of her a career-high 36 points in the second half and pulled down 15 rebounds.
Mount Olive (5-5) scored 12 unanswered points after spotting Elizabeth City State (6-4) the first basket to take an early double-digit lead. Keona Corley and Alisa Jones combined for the Trojans’ first eight points. After the margin was cut down to four, Monroe scored the next five points of the game to give the Trojans a 17-8 advantage with 9:34 left in the half.
Elizabeth City State got as close as five points before Brittney Robich’s three-pointer sparked a 5-0 Trojan run to build the lead to 30-20 with 2:23 remaining. The Vikings cut the lead in half, but Robich answered with another three-pointer. Jill Oaks’ layup with seven seconds left gave Mount Olive an eight-point lead, but April Whitaker hit a three-pointer from the top of the key just before the buzzer to cut the Trojans’ lead to 35-30 at halftime.
ECSU continued its rally in the second half as Courtney Scott’s three-pointer gave the Vikings their first lead since their opening basket and Trahan’s layup with 17:28 remaining completed a 14-1 run to make the score 41-36. Monroe then sparked a Mount Olive comeback with seven straight points during an 11-2 run as the Trojans regained the lead 47-43. Corley dished out four of her game-high nine assists in a span of less than two minutes during the run.
After Elizabeth City State rallied to tie the game, Monroe hit a three-pointer and an end-to-end layup to give Mount Olive a 54-49 lead with 9:45 left to play. ECSU pulled within one and had a chance to regain the lead when Corley stole the ball at midcourt and drove in for a layup to extend the Trojans’ lead to 56-53. The Vikings then tied the game again when Trahan hit 3-of-4 free throws after a shooting foul and a technical on the Mount Olive bench. The free throws completed a string of 19 consecutive Viking points by Trahan.
Monroe’s fourth three-pointer of the game broke a 58-58 tie and the Trojans held a 65-64 lead when Trahan hit a pair of free throws with 2:26 remaining to put Elizabeth City State ahead to stay. ECSU scored all of their points from the free throw line in the final two minutes, hitting 11-of-12 free throws.
Robich finished with 10 points for the Trojans, while Jones added nine points and five rebounds, all on the offensive end. Tomeka Prichard pulled down a team-high six boards. Mount Olive held a 26-20 rebound advantage in the first half, but ECSU outrebounded the Trojans 25-12 after intermission.
Elizabeth City State was 31-for-38 from the free throw line, including 14-for-15 by Trahan. Mount Olive was 5-for-11 from the line.
Mount Olive resumes Conference Carolinas play Saturday as the Trojans travel to Anderson, S.C., to take on Anderson, which received votes in this week’s USA Today/ESPN Division II Women’s Basketball Top 25. Mount Olive is tied for first in the conference standings with a 3-0 mark. Tip-off is 2 p.m. Elizabeth City State plays host to Shaw Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in a CIAA match-up.