Mount Olive’s Felecity Havens caused all kinds of problems for the UNCP women’s basketball team on Friday night. With 31 points and eight rebounds, the former East Carolina Pirate forced the Lady Braves to readjust their defensive strategy throughout the night.
Just as the Lady Braves (2-0) struggled to contain Havens, the Trojans (1-3) did not have an answer for the hot shooting of Avery Locklear. The junior tallied a team-high 18 points as UNCP used a late rally to put away Mount Olive 88-74 at Lumbee Guaranty Bank Court.
Locklear posted a 4-of-8 mark from 3-point range, including a 3-of-5 clip in the second half.
“The energy on the court was just really good,” Locklear said. “It’s easy to play when the energy is that good and that positive.”
Attacking from beyond the arc was a significant part of UNCP’s game plan, as the Lady Braves went 13-of-31 from long range. Many of those threes helped put an end to runs orchestrated by Havens. It proved to be the most efficient way of stalling the Trojan attack, as the Lady Braves tried to find a way to get the ball out of Havens’ hands.
“When we first went to zone, we got out of the zone because she’s so big and strong and just passes over the zone,” UNCP head coach John Haskins said. “She could create her own shot. She’d go downhill on drives. That was the most disappointing thing, sometimes, picking her up in transition and getting the ball stopped.”
Havens’ impact on Mount Olive’s offense was exemplified when she fouled out with just under five minutes remaining in the contest and the Trojans trailing by five. UNCP promptly went on an 11-2 run to seal the victory, capped by a 3-pointer from Tee Graham.
Mount Olive kept the game close at halftime after an 8-0 run late in the second quarter closed UNCP’s lead to 37-35. The Trojans led by as much as seven in the third quarter, but a 3-pointer in transition from Nyla Allen knotted the score at 57-57 in the period’s closing minutes. The visitors rallied to reclaim the lead, but a last-second tip-in by UNCP’s Kasey Drayton closed the deficit to 63-62 at the end of the quarter.
A 10-3 run by the Lady Braves early in the fourth quarter helped the hosts pull away for good.
Melanie Horne shot 5-of-7 from 3-point range on the way to 15 points and eight rebounds for the Lady Braves. Aliyah Farmer added 14 points and five rebounds.
Jada Bacchus contributed 11 points and four rebounds for Mount Olive.
UNCP outrebounded the Trojans 47-35, including a 16-12 advantage on offensive boards. The Lady Braves were rewarded for their efforts on the glass with 18 second-chance points.
UNCP’s next game will be on Nov. 26 when they make the short trip to take on No. 14 Wingate at Cuddy Arena. The game will be viewable ESPN3, and will be broadcasted via radio as well on the UNCP Sports Network.
Brandon Tester directs sports coverage at the Pine Needle. You can follow him on Twitter: @Tester_Brandon