SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Sophomore guard Ashley Sides (Gaffney, S.C.) drained a deep three with 1:32 remaining on the fourth quarter clock to give the Converse (5-1, 1-1 CC) basketball team a thrilling 77-71 win over visiting Erskine (2-6, 0-2 CC) College on Saturday afternoon inside the Weisiger Center. Sides went 7-of-11 from behind the arc, including the game winner to pull the Valkyries' record even within conference play.
Score: Erskine 71, Converse 77
Records: Erskine (2-5, 0-2 CC), Converse (5-1, 1-1 CC)
Location: Hannah Gymnasium
INSIDE THE BOXSCORE
- Sides connected on a career-high and school record seven three-pointers to lead the Valkyries with a personal-best 21 points.
- Nigeria Davis (Newberry, S.C.) recorded her first double-double of the season with 14 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
- Alexis McMillian (Bishopville, S.C.) contributed a career-high 16 points, going 8-of-11 from the charity stripe, including clutch shots down the stretch.
- Converse held the Fleet to a dismal 32% (21-65) from the floor.
- After losing the rebounding battle the majority of the contest, the Valkyries picked the pace up late, pulling down their season average of 49 boards to Erskine's 44.
- The Valkyries held advantages in bench points (42-19) as well as points in the paint (32-18).
HOW IT HAPPENED
Converse was firing on all cylinders early, racing out to a comfortable 15-4 advantage more than halfway through the first period. Jordan Brooks (San Angelo, Texas) got the scoring started for Converse with a driving layup just over a minute in to the game.
A pair of free throws by Chyenne Matson closed the gap to 15-6, but the Valkyries collected four of the next five points to take a 19-7 advantage into the second quarter.
Erskine started the second with the first four points, trimming the deficit to 19-11, but Sides knocked down a shot from distance to extend the lead back to double-digits (22-11) with 7:15 left in the first half.
A 5-0 spurt by the Flying Fleet pulled the visitors to within six (22-16), but once again Converse regained the momentum with a 7-1 mini run that spanned two minutes of game time. That lead ballooned to 35-21 following a layup by Dominique Hill (Elgin, S.C.), but Megan Jones knocked down a three for Erskine to cut the lead to 35-24 heading into halftime.
Converse entered the second half sluggish and Erskine took full advantage of the situation, ripping off a massive 14-2 run to open the third. However, four consecutive free throws by the Purple and Gold established Converse back out front 41-38 just before the media timeout.
The Flying Fleet used another run, this time 11-3 to take a slim 49-44 lead with 90 ticks to go in the third. Erskine remained in the lead (53-52) heading into the final period of play.
Back-to-back layups by Davis and McMillian to open the fourth gave the Vals a 56-53 lead, but a 14-6 scoring run by EC put the Fleet ahead 67-62 with just under three minutes remaining in regulation.
The lead remained at five (71-66) just a few seconds later, but Sides took control of the contest, knocking down consecutive long shots to stake Converse to a one-point lead (72-71). Erskine had a golden opportunity to take control of the game following a personal foul and technical on the Valkyries. However, the Fleet missed all four free throws and continued to trail late in the fourth.
Clinging to the slim margin, Converse took the ball on offense and appeared as if it would give the Fleet one last tying chance as the shot clock dwindled down. However, with one tick remaining on the 30, Hill splashed down a three followed by two clutch free throws from McMillian to allow the Vals to escape with the 77-71 win.
Down by just a single point with a minute to play in the fourth period, Erskine was awarded four free throws following a personal and technical foul against the Valkyries. However, with the crowd in a roar, the Fleet shooters missed all four free throws and Erskine would not score a single point the remainder of the way.
Converse will take to the road for the time in conference play, traveling to Franklin Springs, Ga. on Tuesday, December 4 to take on Emmanuel College. Tip-off for that contest is scheduled for 6 p.m.