Welcome To March Madness! Women's Basketball Rallies To Stun Second-Seeded King 72-69

Welcome To March Madness! Women's Basketball Rallies To Stun Second-Seeded King 72-69

Rachel Fehl hit 10-of-10 free throws and scored 17 of her career-high 21 points in the second half as seventh-seeded University of Mount Olive rallied from a 12-point deficit for a 72-69 victory over King University in the quarterfinal round of the 2015 Conference Carolinas Women's Basketball Tournament Saturday at Bristol, Tenn. The win – Mount Olive's fifth in its last six conference tournament games against higher seeded teams – advances the Trojans to the semifinal round Thursday.

Mount Olive (13-16) cut King's 12-point first-half lead down to four points at halftime, but found itself trailing by 11 early in the second half after Chelsea Bowling and Bonnie Durrett opened the second half with three-pointers for the Tornado. Mount Olive chipped away at the lead as Ty Wallace and Leah Graham both converted three-point plays and Fehl hit a pair of three-pointers to bring the Trojans within 48-47 with 12:09 left to play.

After King hit a pair of free throws, Shy'lia Buie tied the game 50-50 on a three-pointer from the right corner with 11:27 remaining. Jalan Harper put King back on top with a basket before Mount Olive took its first lead of the game. Graham drew a foul after hitting a layup from the left side and converted the free throw to put the Trojans on top 53-52 with 9:19 left to play.

Martha Mastin hit three straight 15-foot jumpers from the right win and Fehl added a three-pointer as Mount Olive stretched its lead to 64-57 with 4:39 left. All of the Trojans' remaining points came from the free throw line.

Fehl sank a pair of free throws with 2:30 left and did the same with 34 seconds left as Mount Olive clung to a 69-63 lead. King cut the lead in half after Amy Van Deventer converted a three-point play for the Tornado with 24 seconds remaining. Fehl again made it a two-possession game with two more free throws with 18 seconds left, but Harper hit a three-pointer for King with 12 seconds left to pull the Tornado within 71-69.

Mount Olive turned the ball over out of bounds on the inbounds pass, giving King a chance to tie the game or take the lead with nine seconds left. But the Tornado were unable to get a shot off as Mastin forced a turnover with 0.7 seconds remaining. Mastin hit 1-of-2 free throws and a length-of-the-court desperation shot by the Tornado was well short.

In the first half, King connected on each of its first five three-point attempts – by five different players – as the Tornado took their first double-digit lead at 23-11 on Harper's three with 11:47 left before halftime. Mount Olive answered with a three-pointer by Buie and Graham's 10-foot jumper from the right baseline brought the Trojans within 25-19 with 4:28 remaining.

Kiara Jones answered a King basket with a three-point play to draw Mount Olive within five points, but Bowling and Harper both hit three-pointers to extend the Tornado's lead back to double digits at 33-23 with exactly three minutes remaining. The Trojans would hold the Tornado scoreless for the remainder of the half.

Graham and Anamaria Zjacic made baskets for Mount Olive to cut the margin down to six. After a King missed shot, Zjacic drove under the goal and just before going out of bounds, kicked the ball out to Graham, who head-faked a defender and made a five-footer off the right glass with 17 seconds left as the Trojans pulled within 33-29 at the half. Graham scored all of her eight first-half points in the final six-plus minutes of the half and finished with 14 for the game off the bench.

Buie added 10 points off the bench for Mount Olive, while Wallace narrowly missed a double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds.

Bowling led five King players in double figures with 15 points. The Tornado finished 11-for-25 from beyond the arc.

As a No. 5 seed in the 2013 Conference Carolinas Tournament, Mount Olive posted wins over No. 4 seed Coker, No. 3 seed Pfeiffer and top-seeded Limestone on its way to the conference title. Last year as a No. 3 seed, the Trojans defeated second-seeded Barton in the semifinal round.

Mount Olive will face No. 3 seed Belmont Abbey Thursday in the semifinal round. Top-seeded Limestone will play host to Thursday's semifinals and Friday's Championship Game.