SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Senior forward Abigail Lewis (Savannah, Ga.) erupted for a season-high 26 points to go along with nine rebounds to help propel the Converse basketball team to its fourth-straight win, defeating Southern Wesleyan by the final of 67-60 on Wednesday evening. With the win the Valkyries have swept the season series with SWU and own a crucial tiebreaker over the Warriors.
Score: Southern Wesleyan 60, Converse 67
Records: Southern Wesleyan (8-15, 3-12 CC), Converse (10-10, 4-10 CC)
Location: Hannah Gymnasium
INSIDE THE BOXSCORE
- Freshman Ellen Nardella (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) came up big for the Vals, knocking down clutch threes in the second half, finishing the game with 14 points.
- Sophomore Nigeria Davis continued her impressive stretch, totaling 12 points and seven rebounds on the evening.
- Converse shot 46.4% (26-56) from the floor and 68.8% (11-16) from the charity stripe.
- The Valkyries held a 38-27 advantage on rebounds over the Warriors.
- Converse assisted on 21 of its 26 made baskets.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The two teams started out trading the initial eight points of the contest, but Converse would push ahead 11-4 after collected nine consecutive points.
That spread remained intact all the way to the count of 17-10, but Southern Wesleyan finished the first period with a three-pointer and layup to trim the deficit to a single possession (17-15) heading into the second quarter.
Back-to-back layups by Alexis McMillian (Bishopville, S.C.) and Bhrianna Jackson (Baltimore, Md.) started the second period. However a 10-6 run over four minutes of game action cut the Valkyries lead to 27-25 with 4:22 left in the first half.
Converse regained momentum, pushing out to a double-digit lead (35-25) after Nardella and Dominique Hill (Elgin, S.C.) knocked down back-to-back threes, igniting an 8-0 run by the Purple and Gold. A layup by Denisha Hall sent the teams in the locker room with Converse leading 35-27.
Southern Wesleyan scored the first five points of the third quarter, trimming the lead to 35-32 less than a minute into the second half. However, Lewis knocked down a mid-range jumper and Converse extended the lead back out to the intermission advantage after taking the next five points.
With the score at 44-35 in favor of the home team, the Warriors made a run, finishing the third with an 8-0 spurt, cutting the Valkyries lead to a single point (44-43) heading into the fourth period.
That momentum for the Warriors carried over into the final stanza. After Lewis nailed a jumper in the paint, Southern Wesleyan ripped off a 7-0 run to take a 50-46 lead, its first since early in the opening period.
Buckets from Nardella and Lewis put Converse back ahead before Jessica Sparks knocked down a three at the top of the key to give SWU the 53-52 advantage with four and a half to play in regulation. On the Vals next offensive possession, Nardella came up huge with a shot from downtown, giving Converse a lead it would not relinquish en route to a 67-60 win.
After SWU knocked down a three to take a 1-point lead (53-52) with 4:42 remaining in the contest, Converse finished the game on a 15-7 run to seal the deal.
The Valkyries will be back in action on Saturday, February 9 with another pivotal Conference Carolinas contest, traveling to Tigerville, S.C. to take on the Crusaders of North Greenville University. Tip-off for that contest is scheduled for 2 p.m.