All Sports Schedule

Jordan McLaughlin Scores Last Seven Points for ODU Women As Monarchs Down Troy, 63-59


By Harry Minium
NORFOLK, Va. – Nearly two years ago, the Old Dominion women's basketball team won a big recruiting battle against Troy, and Wednesday, when the Trojans and Monarchs faced off at Chartway Arena, that recruiting win paid off for ODU.
Point guard Jordan McLaughlin, who committed to ODU shortly after visiting Troy in 2022, scored the final seven points for the Monarchs as they held off the Trojans, 63-59, before a crowd of 2,685 in a key Sun Belt Conference game.
The victory tightened up an already close race for the Sun Belt lead. Troy (12-10 overall, 9-3 Sun Belt) fell into a tie with James Madison for second place. Marshall (17-6, 11-1) is first.
ODU (16-6, 8-4), which hosts JMU and Marshall over the next few weeks, is tied for fourth with Georgia State. It was the fourth win in the last five games for ODU.
While she would like her team to finish first, ODU head coach DeLisha Milton-Jones said she will be satisfied if the Monarchs finish among the top four teams. That's because the first four teams all receive first-round byes to the Sun Belt Tournament in Pensacola, Florida.
"I don't have time to look at the standings, but I do know there is a rat race among the top teams," Milton-Jones said. "There's a win or two that separates a lot of people.
"I just want us to finish among those top four."
McLaughlin, a 5-foot-7 senior guard from Charlotte who led ODU with 21 points, four rebounds and three steals, was all but set to commit to Troy when Milton-Jones pleaded with her in a phone call to at least give ODU a look first.
"We were in desperate need of a point guard," Milton-Jones said. "We called and asked her to give us a chance."
McLaughlin, who attend junior college at Chipola College in Marianna, Florida, said she had no intention of coming back so close to her home in Charlotte.
"When I talked to other schools, all I was hearing is that you can score the ball," she said. "They were saying I'll give you the ball and you can do whatever you want to do.
"But here, she (Milton-Jones) talked about changing me as an individual, helping me to grow as a woman. That was big to me because I needed to grow."
Brenda Fontana, the 6-1 junior from Moreno Argentina, added 14 points, including six on two early three-point shots that helped stake ODU to a 10-0 lead.
The Monarchs led by as much as 13 points, but with three minutes left in the first half, Makayia Hallmon made a three-point shot to knot the score at 26-26.
From there, it was nip and tuck until the final seconds.
En'Dya Buford made one of two free throws with 2:42 to tie the score at 56-56. ODU had missed five of its last six free throws, and that's when McLaughlin told her teammates to give her the ball.
"I promised them that I would make shots," she said.
She did, grabbing a rebound and putting the ball back in with two minutes left to give ODU a 58-56 lead. Troy then missed two shots and sent McLaughlin to the foul line, where she drained two shots with 23 seconds left to make it 60-56.
Nia Daniel then missed for Troy and Mclaughlin rebounded and was fouled. She made one of two free throws to make it 61-56.
Troy kept its hopes alive with a three-pointer from Tai'Sheka Porchia with 12 seconds left that cut the lead to two.
ODU nearly threw the ball away, forcing Milton-Jones to call a timeout with eight seconds left. But after getting the ball to McLaughlin, she was fouled and made two more free throws to clinch the victory.
It was a physical game fought nearly to a statistical draw in most categories, although Troy outrebounded ODU, 49-40.
Kaye Clark had eight points and played well defensively. She had four steals, five assists and nine rebounds. Buford added seven rebounds and Simone Cunningham, nine points and eight rebounds.
But it was McLaughlin who came through in the clutch, and that came as no surprise to Milton-Jones.
"Jordan wants the big moment," Milton-Jones said. "You know sometimes people can shy away from those big moments, but not Jordan.
"She has this dog in her, this fire in her. She loves competing. But more than that, she loves winning.
"And she put us on her back tonight and just willed us to a victory."
ODU next travels to Kent State on Saturday at 1 p.m. in a non-conference matchup in the second round of the MAC-Sun Belt Challenge, before returning home Wednesday, Feb. 14, to host Coastal Carolina.
Then, on Saturday, Feb. 17, the Monarchs host first-place Marshall.