SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Converse (9-15, 5-11 CC) College basketball team captured a close 59-51 victory over visiting Erskine (4-18, 3-13 CC) College on Saturday afternoon inside Hannah Gymnasium. The Valkyries were able to avenge a tough loss to the Flying Fleet just over a month ago and pick up a crucial Conference Carolinas win.
Junior forward Abigail Lewis poured in a team-high 19 points and Tatum Boggs added 16 points and eight rebounds off the bench to help guide the Vals on the offensive end. Brianna James did not score the points she is accustomed to, but was able to chip in with a game-high 14 rebounds. Paige Johnson added six points on a pair of threes to go along with four assists.
Converse only shot 35.7% (20-56) from the floor, but was able to turn up the defense, holding Erskine to a dismal 25.4% (17-67) shooting, including just 3-of-19 from behind the arc. Erskine held a 51-45 advantage on the boards.
Back-to-back baskets from Lewis gave the Valkyries a quick 4-0 lead just a minute into the opening period. The hot start faded quickly as both teams had trouble scoring the basketball over the initial 10 minutes of game action. A Briana Hill three-pointer gave the Purple and Gold a three-point lead (9-6) with 4:58 remaining on the clock, but Erskine finished the first quarter on a 6-0 run to lead 12-9 heading to the second.
Quarter number two belonged solely to the Valkyries and their defense. Lewis connected on a layup to start the scoring and Converse went on a massive 18-4 run to take its first double-digit lead of the contest (27-16). Dereisha Sowell nailed a three for Erskine to trim the score to 27-19, but an old-fashioned three-point play by Rebecca Travis and a deep three from Dominique Hill sparked a 6-1 run to end the half, sending the Valkyries into the locker room leading 33-20.
The third quarter was complete opposite as Erskine came out of the break and made a push for the lead. After Lewis hit a layup to give Converse its biggest lead (40-24), Erskine went on a 14-2 run to end the period and send the game to the final stanza trailing only 42-38.
After losing a late lead in at Erskine just over a month ago, Converse did not want history to repeat itself and came out in the fourth with a purpose. Megan Davis split a pair of free throws for Erskine to bring the Fleet to within three (42-39), but back-to-back three-pointers by Paige Johnson and Boggs pushed the lead back to comfortable margin of 48-39 with less than five minutes to play in regulation.
Alexis Scott grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back in to cut the gap to 50-45, but that was as close as Erskine would get the rest of the way as Converse went 7-of-10 from the free throw line down the stretch to pull out the hard-fought 59-51 victory.
Converse will be back in action on Wednesday, February 14 as it travels to Banner Elk, N.C. to face Lees-McRae College. Tipoff for that contest is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.