Mount Olive rallied to take a late five-point lead, but Queens scored the game's final seven points from the free throw line to defeat the Trojans 55-53 in Conference Carolinas women's basketball Wednesday at Charlotte, N.C. Mount Olive was outscored 17-8 from the free throw line as the Trojans suffered their fourth straight loss.
Mount Olive (12-7 overall, 8-7 Conference Carolinas) trailed by four at halftime, but took its first lead of the second half at 43-41 with 8:27 left to play on Gary's second three-pointer of the contest. The next three minutes saw three ties before Buies' layup gave the Trojans a 49-47 lead with 5:13 remaining.
Queens (10-9, 8-7) would score all of its remaining points from the free throw line, starting with Tia Hudgins' free throw with 4:58 left to pull the Royals within a point.
The score remained the same until Gary's steal led to a layup by Silva with 3:32 left to play. After a Queens turnover, Silva hit another layup as Mount Olive matched its biggest lead of the game at 53-48 with 2:33 remaining. But those would be the Trojans' final points and the last field goal by either team.
Queens pulled within three on a pair of free throws by Melissa Thomas with 2:24 left. Mount Olive got a break when the Royals missed a pair of free throws, but Queens capitalized on a Trojan turnover as Shonice Pettaway's two free throws cut the lead to 53-52 with 1:56 remaining.
After another Trojan turnover, Gary's defensive play kept Mount Olive on top as she blocked a shot attempt out of bounds. But another offensive rebound extended Queens' possession and Shatonya Hardy hit a pair of free throws with 58 seconds left to put the Royals back on top 54-53.
Mount Olive had two more opportunities, including a three-point attempt at the buzzer after a Queens free throw, but the Trojans came up short.
Gary scored the first five points of the game and Mount Olive led throughout most of the first half. Jasmine McDonald's layup with 7:30 left before halftime gave the Trojans an 18-14 lead, but Queens used a 9-0 run to go on top for the remainder of the half. Shantel Sweet broke an 18-18 tie with a three-pointer and capped the Royals' run with a pair of free throws with 3:13 left.
Gary's basket with 2:36 remaining ended Mount Olive's near five-minute scoring drought and after a Queens field goal, Buie hit a three-pointer with 56 seconds left to pull the Trojans within two. Lacey Singletary hit a layup for Queens with 24 seconds left and the Royals went into the locker room with a 27-23 lead at the break.
The margin never grew about four in the second half as Mount Olive rallied to regain the lead.
Silva scored nine of her 11 points in the second half, while Nesmith added eight of her 10 points after halftime. Buie, a freshman guard, played a season-high 15 minutes and finished with seven points.
No Queens player scored in double figures as Pettaway led the Royals with nine points.
After Wednesday's results, Mount Olive and Queens are tied with Coker for third place in the conference standings, one game behind fourth-place Belmont Abbey. The top eight teams in the final regular season standings advance to the conference tournament, with the top four hosting first round games.
After back-to-back away contests, Mount Olive is at home Saturday as the Trojans play host to Lees-McRae for the 30th Annual Basketball Church Night. Special admission price is $1 and fans are encouraged to wear white for a Trojan "White Out." The 2011 Basketball Church Night was one of 10 winners nationwide for the NCAA Division II Game Environment Award.
Special tip-off time is 5 p.m. at Kornegay Arena.