Friday, December 17, 2010

Mount Olive Defeats Armstrong Atlantic State 86-66 At AASU Fall Finals Classic

SAVANNAH, GA. – Shequanta McGee was a perfect 9-for-9 from the field, including 6-for-6 from three-point range, for a career-high 25 points as Mount Olive exploded for 53 points in the second half to defeat tournament host Armstrong Atlantic State 86-66 in day one of the 2010 Hampton Inn & Suites Women’s Basketball Fall Finals Classic Friday at Savannah, Ga. Jasmine Whitby scored 18 of her game-high 26 points after halftime as the Trojans connected on a school-record 15 three-pointers for the game on 31 attempts.

Mount Olive (4-3) trailed by eight points late in the first half, but took the lead for good early in the second half. McGee and Whitby took advantage of AASU turnovers on back-to-back possessions and scored all the points in a 6-0 run in a span of 60 seconds to put the Trojans on top 46-43 with 15:51 left in the game. McGee scored 11 of 12 Trojan points during a four-minute stretch starting in the final minute of the first half.

A pair of free throws by Mauri Wells pulled Armstrong Atlantic State (5-3) within a point, but Brittany Miller’s three-pointer ignited an 11-2 Trojan run. Whitby capped the run and gave Mount Olive its first double-digit lead when her three-pointer from beyond NBA range above the top of the key hit off the front rim and banked off the glass to extend the Trojans’ advantage to 57-47 with 12:20 remaining.

Armstrong Atlantic State sliced Mount Olive’s lead to four after back-to-back three-pointers by Brooke Long. But Miller, Whitby and Andrea Jones all hit three-pointers during a 12-0 run as Mount Olive built the lead to 69-53 with 8:24 remaining.

McGee’s final basket of the game – a three-pointer with 7:06 left to play – gave her a new career high and pushed the margin past the 20-point mark for the first time. The lead grew to as many as 23 points and never fell below 19.

Mount Olive scored the first seven points of the game and led 14-6 with 13:28 left in the first half after Jones’ fastbreak layup off of Desha Pickett’s steal. Armstrong Atlantic State rallied to tie the game with eight unanswered points before McGee and Whitby answered with back-to-back three-pointers to give the Trojans a 20-14 lead with 9:26 remaining.

A pair of three-pointers by Long triggered a 19-3 run to give AASU its first lead and the Pirates went on to build the margin to 38-30 with 43 seconds left in the half. McGee hit her fourth consecutive three-pointer 17 seconds later to pull Mount Olive within 38-33 at halftime.

Jones and McGee combined for 15 of Mount Olive’s first 17 points of the game and combined with Whitby for 31 of the Trojans’ 33first-half points. McGee had 14 points at the break.

Jones finished with 15 points and pulled down a career-high seven rebounds for Mount Olive. Alyssa Luebs led the Trojans with eight boards. Destinee Webb shared game-high honors with six assists, while McGee added four assists. Whitby had five of Mount Olive’s 16 steals as the Trojans forced 22 AASU turnovers.

Long was 7-for-15 from three-point range for Armstrong Atlantic State and led the Pirates with 24 points. Jazmin Walker added 16 points and five assists, and Wells added a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Arpine Amirkhanyan also pulled down 13 rebounds.

Mount Olive snapped Armstrong Atlantic State’s three-game winning streak and handed the Pirates their first home loss of the season after four consecutive wins.

Mount Olive concludes tournament play Saturday as the Trojans take on Columbus State. Tip-off is 1 p.m.

-MOC-

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