Women's Basketball Opens Season With A 62-57 Win At Home Against Coker

Photo by James Benson.
Photo by James Benson.

MOUNT OLIVE, North Carolina - The University of Mount Olive women's basketball team opened the 2019-2020 season with a 62-57 win in the home opener against the Coker University Cobras on Saturday, Nov. 9, at Kornegay Arena in Mount Olive, NC. UMO improves to 1-0 on the season while Coker starts 0-1. 

The contest between UMO and Coker was the first of the season for both teams of the 2019-2020 slate.

Coker got on the scoreboard first with a three-pointer 40 seconds into the first quarter. Sherry Johnson tallied the first two points of the season on a pair of free throws putting the score at 3-2. A Hope Toliver free throw tied the score and three baskets by Azariah Fields put the Trojans ahead 9-3 by the 6:20 mark in the first. Coker reclaimed the lead with 30 seconds on the clock on a layup but Toliver scored just before the buzzer to go into the second quarter ahead 11-10.

UMO scored five points to open the second taking a 16-10 lead by the 6:20 mark. The Cobras scored a layup and a free throw to pull within three but the Trojans scored a three-point and a free throw to lead by seven, 20-13, until the 2:22 mark. CU scored seven points but the Trojans scored eight to hold a nine-point lead heading into halftime up 28-19.

The Cobras scored first in the second half with a free throw but UMO took off on a 10-4 run to lead 38-24 with 4:41 remaining on the clock. Coker went on a 10-3 run over four minutes pulling within seven, trailing 41-34 with 48 seconds. The teams entered the final quarter with the score sitting at 45-35 in UMO's favor.

CU opened the fourth quarter on a 9-0 run pulling within one of UMO, 45-44 by the 5:53 mark. A layup by Toliver broke up the Cobra scoring drive but a three by Coker's Amanda Cherry knotted the game at 49 all. The Trojans scored three baskets in a row to reclaim a six point buffer with under 2:30 to play. The Cobras cam within two again following a pair of baskets but the Trojans had Kelly Post and Fields each hit a basket to take a six-point lead 59-53. with 43 seconds left. Coker had to foul to stop the clock after using all their timeouts and ultimately the Trojans held off the Cobras to win their season home opener 62-57.

The Trojans were led by Azariah Fields with 24 points. She was followed by Hope Toliver who collected 16 points and Sherry Johnson who added 10. Johnson led UMO with nine rebounds with Toliver collecting eight and Fields and Kelly Post tallied seven each. Post had a team-high five assists and Fields was close behind with four.

The Cobras were led by Amanda Cherry with 14 points and Erin Houser who tallied 13 of her own points. Saquita Joyner and Houser each tallied 10 rebounds and Ashauntee Nelson collected three blocks.

The key moment of the game came late in the fourth quarter on a string of three baskets for the Trojans that brokethe 49-all tie and gave UMO a cushion that helped them defeat Coker University.

"Tonight's win required a lot of heart, effort and toughness from our squad," said head coach Wendy Lee. "Everyone stayed connected and did not panic down the stretch and it definitely paid dividends for us against a very good Coker team. Senior Hope Toliver came up with some huge rebounds and shots for us late in the 4th quarter and sophomore PG Azariah Fields played a very aggressive as well as very consistent game for her team."

The Trojans return to Kornegay Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 13, when they play host to the Falcons of Saint Augustine's University.