MARS HILL, N.C. – The Converse College basketball team stepped out of conference on Monday afternoon, defeating Mars Hill University by the final of 74-54 inside Burt Stanford Arena. Nigeria Davis (Newberry, S.C.) and Abigail Lewis (Savannah, Ga.) combined for 44 points and 29 rebounds to help the Valkyries snap a three-game losing skid.
Score: Mars Hill 54, Converse 74
Records: Mars Hill (1-15), Converse (7-10)
Location: Stanford Arena
INSIDE THE BOXSCORE
- Davis posted her sixth double-double of the season, collecting 25 points to go along with 15 rebounds to pace the Valkyries.
- Lewis also posted a double-double, her first of the season, with 19 points and 14 boards.
- Freshman Ellen Nardella (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) finished with 9 points, scoring all from beyond the arc.
- Sophomore Bhrianna Jackson (Baltimore, Md.) filled the stat sheet with six points, five boards, three assists, and two steals.
- The Valkyries defense held Mars Hill to a dismal 29.5% (18-61) from the floor.
- Converse owned the boards 53-42, while also forcing 23 turnovers by MHU.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Nardella opened the scoring for the Valkyries with a deep three from the wing to give Converse an early lead. However, back-to-back turnovers by the Vals allowed Mars Hill to score five straight, taking its first lead two minutes into the opening session.
That lead grew to 7-3, but Converse used a 7-2 run to lead 10-9 heading into the first media stoppage of the contest. The frantic back-and-forth affair continued as both teams found a rhythm on the offensive end of the court. The Lions finished the first quarter outscoring Converse 9-6, taking a slim 18-16 advantage into the second.
The Valkyries opened the second with six consecutive points to regain the lead 22-18 with 4:51 remaining in the first half. Tatum Boggs finally got the Lions on the board in the second with a pair of makes from the charity stripe.
Lewis showed off beautiful footwork after an offensive rebound, schooling the MHU defender for a layup and double-digit lead (30-20) with under two minutes to play before halftime. Mariah Johnson nailed a three-pointer for the Lions just as the horn sounded, sending the game into the intermission with Converse leading 30-23.
After trading the first eight points of the second half, Davis reeled off a personal 7-0 run to give Converse its biggest lead (39-27) with six minutes remaining in the third period.
However, Mars Hill went on a 9-2 run over three minutes of game action to narrow the deficit to 41-36, but Nardella came back with another clutch three to push the lead back to 44-36. Mars Hill's Fajhenee Bradford connected on 1-of-2 free throws to send the Lions to the fourth one point closer.
Converse scored 6-of-8 to open the final period, matching its biggest lead of the game (50-37). However, Mars Hill came back with a 9-2 spurt to bring the score to 52-46 with five minutes to play in regulation.
An old-fashioned three-point play by Davis and a three-pointer from Ivy Collins (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) gave the Valkyries a bit of breathing room at 61-50 with just over two minutes to play. From that point the Valkyries turned up the defense and made it all academic, rolling the Lions by a final of 74-54.
After Mars Hill cut the deficit to 53-48 late in the fourth quarter, Converse finished the game on a pivotal 21-6 run to take home the 74-54 victory.
Converse will return to Conference Carolinas action on Wednesday, January 30, traveling to Central, S.C. to take on Southern Wesleyan in a pivotal conference matchup. Tip-off for that contest is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. inside Tysinger Arena.