SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Junior guard Brianna James set a new personal and school record of 36 points to go along with 15 rebounds but it was not enough as the Converse (6-12, 2-8 CC) basketball team dropped a tough 76-68 contest to King (8-9, 5-5 CC) on Saturday afternoon inside Hannah Gymnasium. This marks the second time in as many games against the Tornado that James eclipsed the 30-point plateau.
Abigail Lewis was the only other Valkyrie to reach double-figures, chipping in 11 to go along with six boards. Dominique Hill anchored a stingy defense that caused 27 turnovers, ripping away five steals on the afternoon. However, Converse could not shake off a cold shooting performance (22-80, 27.5%) while King connected on 25-of-60 shots (41.7%).
The opening period was back-and-forth as the two teams traded baskets over the initial eight minutes of game action. That is until King took a 15-all tie and scored five in a row to push ahead 20-15. Marshea Murray knocked down 1-of-2 from the charity stripe to trim the deficit to 20-16 heading into the second quarter.
Offense was hard to come by in the second frame, but Converse managed to run off five in a row to open the session, pushing ahead 21-20 with 8:18 left before halftime. After a Kristen Cupples jumper gave King the lead back (24-23), Converse finished the half on a 9-3 run to control a five-point lead (32-27) at the break.
The Valkyries continued the momentum, opening the second half with a 7-0 run while pushing out to their biggest lead of the contest, 39-27. However, the Tornado used a massive 16-3 run to regain the lead 43-42 with three and a half to play in the third. That lead grew to three, 49-46, heading into the final period.
The fourth quarter was set up to a good one as the two teams would not budge defensively. Converse trimmed the gap to a single point (58-57) heading into the final media timeout. However, King stormed out to its biggest lead of 71-62 following the brief stoppage of play. The deficit was too large to overcome for Converse as it dropped the game by the final of 76-68.
Kori West led the way for King with 21 points and nine rebounds while Ali Golden and Taylor Freeman chipped in 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Converse will return to action on Friday, January 26 as it plays host to Southern Wesleyan in a Conference Carolinas showdown. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.