Limestone Opens New Year with Key Road Win | Women Play Ball
Junior Celestra Warren posted her fifth double-double of the season in leading the Saints to a 74-60 road win over Mount Olive.
MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. Junior forward Celestra Warren(Chicago, Ill.) posted her fifth double-double of the season with 21 points and 10 rebounds and the Limestone College (8-3, 3-0) women s basketball team opened 2014 with a crucial conference road win over the University of Mount Olive (7-4, 2-1) by a final of 74-60 on Saturday, January 4 at Kornegay Arena.
Junior forward Alicia Brookins (Auburn, Ga.) added 18 points for the Saints while junior guard Ayshia McNeil(Mount Pleasant, N.C.) chipped in 17 points.
Limestone snapped a two-game skid with the 14-point decision and improved its regular season conference winning streak to 21 straight games. The Saints avenged a 79-66 overtime loss to Mount Olive in last year s Conference Carolinas Tournament Semifinals.
With the Saints holding onto a 24-16 lead with 7:56 remaining in the opening half, Warren took the game over by scoring 12 straight points to kick-start a 20-6 run over the remainder of the period. She outscored the Trojans 12-4 at one point as Limestone doubled up their host 44-22 at the break.
Limestone displayed superior defense during the decisive run as they held Mount Olive to a 1-for-10 showing from the field while forcing six Trojan turnovers.
McNeil chipped in back-to-back jumpers to cap the scoring for the Saints.
The Blue and Gold matched their largest lead of the day twice in the early going of the second half as a layup by Brookins and a three-pointer by McNeil gave the Saints a 24-point cushion the latter coming with 15:57 showing on the clock.
Mount Olive would pull to within 20 points on three different occasions over the next 3:21, but consecutive buckets by Brookins put Limestone in front 61-37 midway through the second half.
The Trojans then put together one final push with a 17-2 run over a 6:29 span to cut the lead to 63-59 with 2:46 left on the clock. Jasmine McDonald (Lorton, Va.), who had been held in check for most of the day, paced UMO with 10 points during the stretch behind a pair of old-fashion three-point plays.
Warren put to rest any thoughts of a come-from-behind victory with a 15-foot jumper on Limestone s next possession and then converted a layup off an inbounds play to stake the Saints to a 67-54 lead with 95 seconds remaining.
Mount Olive cut the lead to 10 following a jumper by Ty Wallace (New Bern, N.C.) with 1:04 left, but the Saints went 7-of-8 from the charity strip over the final minute to secure the 74-60 decision.
After both teams exchanged buckets to open the contest, the Saints rattled off 11 of the next 13 points to take a 13-4 lead with 15:01 remaining in the first half. Sophomore guard Maurissa Lester (Marietta, Ga.) led the charge for the Blue and Gold with a fastbreak layup and a three-pointer while junior center Precilla Hill (Mobile, Ala.) added a pair of inside scores.
The Trojans trimmed the lead to five points following a jumper by Kirksten Mitchell (Hagerstown, Md.), but a three-ball from Warren capped a string of five straight points as Limestone expanded its margin to 18-8 a few ticks later.
Four straight points by Wallace once again brought Mount Olive to within striking distance, but Brookins countered with four straight on the other end to reestablish Limestone s 10-point cushion at the 9:08-mark.
Despite shooting just 26.5% in the second half, Limestone finished with a 38.6%-clip (27-of-70) from the field for the game.
The Saints limited Mount Olive to a 1-for-20 (5%) showing from three-point range and finished with a 48-36 advantage on the boards.
Limestone s bench was the difference in the game as it held a 40-10 margin in bench production. Warren led the way with her game-high 21 points while McNeil added 17. Hill chipped in six points and seven rebounds.
McDonald paced the Trojans with 16 points while Wallace and Joneiqua Gary (Norfolk, Va.) finished with 12 points each.
The Saints wrap up their season-long eight-game road trip when they make the short trip down U.S.
29 to face Converse College on Wednesday, January 8 at 7 p.m.
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