MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. – The Converse basketball team made a late push, but came up just short of a conference win, falling 78-69 to Mount Olive on Tuesday evening inside Kornegay Arena. The Valkyries trailed by as many as 22 points in the fourth quarter before cutting the deficit to six. However, it was not enough as UMO snuck away with the victory.
Score: Mount Olive 78, Converse 69
Records: Mount Olive (9-3), Converse (5-7, 1-7 CC)
Location: Kornegay Arena
INSIDE THE BOXSCORE
- Sophomore Nigeria Davis (Newberry, S.C.) posted a career-high 22 points to go along with a game-high 11 rebounds to lead the Valkyries.
- Senior Abigail Lewis (Savannah, Ga.) joined Davis in the double-digit club, posting 10 points.
- Sophomore Alexis McMillian (Bishopville, S.C.) continued her stellar play, finishing the contest with 11 points and nine and nine boards.
- Senior Tiffani Riggen (Choctaw, Miss.) came off the bench and provided a major spark for the Valkyries, going 3-for-3 from behind the arc to finish the game with nine points.
- As a team Converse shot 46.8% (29-of-62), its third-best percentage of the season.
- The Valkyries dominated the paint, outscoring Mount Olive 50-26 over the span of four quarters.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Valkyries dominated out of the gate, scoring the game's first three baskets to take a 6-0 lead just over a minute into the contest. Alexis McMillian got the Vals on the board with a driving layup followed by back-to-back scores from Davis and Abigail Lewis.
Makayla Nichols put the Trojans in the scoring column with a three-pointer at the 8:12 mark, igniting a 15-6 run over four minutes to give Mount Olive its first lead (15-12) with 3:51 remaining on the clock. Lewis connected on a layup to trim the deficit to one (17-16), but UMO finished the quarter scoring five-of-seven points to lead 22-18.
The Trojans carried the momentum over to the second period, reeling off five in a row to start the frame, pushing the lead out to 27-18.
However, Converse would not allow the game to get out of hand as it battled back to within five points (31-26) with under four minutes remaining in the first half. Mount Olive stretched the lead back to 36-28 following a three by Nichols, but Davis connected on a tough layup to send the Vals into the locker room trailing 36-30.
Mount Olive opened the second half with the initial six points en route to a 14-5 run, giving the Trojans a comfortable 50-35 advantage more than halfway through the third period of action.
A Kelly Post make pushed the margin to 16 (55-39), but once again Davis found the bottom of the basket right before the end of the period to pull the Valkyries just a bit closer heading into the final period of play.
It looked as though Mount Olive would cruise to a blowout win following a layup by Hope Toliver, extending the Trojans' lead to the biggest of the contest (63-41) 1:34 into the fourth quarter.
However, Converse did not go quietly as Tiffani Riggen came off the bench and knocked down a huge three-pointer, fueling a massive 23-7 run by the Purple and Gold, trimming the lead to only six points (70-64) with 54 ticks left on the clock.
During the run the Valkyries owned the paint, connecting on layup after layup to climb back into the contest. Unfortunately, that was as close as the score would get as Mount Olive finished the quarter on an 8-3 to close out the win, 78-69.
After Converse went into the locker room trailing by only six points, Mount Olive used the third quarter and part of the fourth to rip off a 27-11 run to sit comfortably ahead 63-41 early into the final stanza.
Converse will step out of conference on Saturday, January 12, playing host to Bluefield State inside the Weisger Center. Tip-off for that contest is scheduled for 2 p.m.