Jasmine McDonald became the first player in University of Mount Olive basketball history to record two triple-doubles in a season or a career as the third-seeded Trojans withstood a series of second-half rallies for an 87-76 victory over No. 6 seed Erskine College in the quarterfinal round of the 2014 Conference Carolinas Women's Basketball Tournament Powered By OrthoCarolina Saturday at Kornegay Arena. McDonald finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for the Trojans.
With the win, Mount Olive advances to the semifinal round against No. 7 seed Barton, which defeated No. 2 seed Belmont Abbey 78-77 Saturday. The semifinal round takes place Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at Cabarrus Arena at Concord, N.C.
Mount Olive (17-10) led by 14 points late in the first half, but Erskine used a 14-2 run across each half to pull within 41-40 with 15:41 left in the contest. Katie Paschal converted a three-point play for the Trojans, but Erskine rallied again and Naomi Stuger's three-point play with13:57 left put the Flying Fleet on top 47-46.
Mount Olive went back on top on a Kiara Jones basket after an offensive rebound kept the possession alive and the Trojans led the remainder of the contest. Mitchell hit a three-pointer and Jones hit another jumper in the paint to push the lead back to double digits at 62-51 with 9:17 remaining.
Erskine (14-13) got as close as 62-56 after Kristin Giles' three-point play with 8:37 left. Mount Olive pulled away again as Joneiqua Gary found McDonald for a pair of backdoor layups, then hit a three-pointer of her own as the Trojans took their biggest lead of the game at 75-59 with 4:42 left to play.
McDonald had already reached double figures in points and rebounds, and recorded her 10th assist with 2:24 remaining when Jones banked a 12-footer off the glass. McDonald recorded the third triple-double in women's basketball history December 8 against Virginia Union.
The margin remained in double digits until putbacks by Marnasha Eugene and Tara Potter pulled Erskine within 81-74 with 1:05 remaining. Jones answered with a fastbreak layup on a dish by McDonald, who hit both ends of a one-and-one on Mount Olive's next possession to extend the Trojans' lead to 85-75 with 46 seconds left.
After an Erskine free throw, Mitchell grabbed the rebound on a missed second attempt and found Gary for an uncontested layup to ice the game.
In the first half, Mount Olive trailed 16-11 before three-pointers by Gary and Mitchell highlighted an 8-0 run to put the Trojans on top. Eugene converted a three-point play for Erskine to tie the game, but after the two teams exchanged baskets, another three-pointer by Gary triggered an 13-0 run to give the Trojans a 34-21 advantage with 4:21 remaining before halftime. The margin stayed in double figures the remainder of the half.
Two free throws by Katie Paschal with 1:47 left matched Mount Olive's biggest lead of the half at 39-25. Eugene hit another basket for Erskine and Giles' steal and layup just before the buzzer pulled the Flying Fleet within 39-29 at the break.
Mitchell led five Trojans in double figures with 22 points off the bench. Ty Wallace recorded a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds despite playing only 19 minutes due to foul trouble. Paschal finished with 13 points and Gary added 11 points. Gary and Mitchell each dished out five assists, while Leah Graham pulled down 11 rebounds for the Trojans. Jones scored all of her eight points in the second half.
Potter led Erskine with game highs of 23 points and 15 rebounds, while Eugene flirted with her own triple-double with 19 points, eight assists and six rebounds. Stuger added 18 points and eight rebounds.
Mount Olive won both regular season contests against Barton, including a 79-66 victory this past Tuesday in the Trojans' regular season finale. The two teams are facing each other in the conference tournament for the first time since 2011, when the Trojans fell to Barton in the championship game. Mount Olive defeated Barton in the semifinal round of the 2008 conference tournament.
Wednesday's winner advances to the championship game Thursday at 5 p.m. at Cabarrus Arena.