SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Converse College basketball team had its five game win streaked snapped at the hands of Belmont Abbey on Wednesday evening. The Valkyries dropped the contest by the final of 59-57 after leading for more than 75% (33:31) of the contest.
Score: Belmont Abbey 59, Converse 57
Records: Mars Hill (16-8, 13-4 CC), Converse (11-11, 5-11 CC)
Location: Hannah Gymnasium
INSIDE THE BOXSCORE
- Senior Abigail Lewis (Savannah, Ga.) led the Vals with 15 points to go along with eight rebounds.
- Junior Dominique Hill (Elgin, S.C.) went 4-of-8 from behind the arc, finishing the game with 12 points. Hill also dished out five assists.
- Bhrianna Jackson (Baltimore, Md.) added eight points and three steals in 35 minutes of action.
- Converse held a slim 36-33 advantage on the boards.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Nigeria Davis (Newberry, S.C.) and Jackson opened the scoring for the Purple and Gold with back-to-back layups, but Abbey nailed a three to get within one point (4-3) two and a half minutes into the contest.
However, a Lewis layup sparked a 15-3 run over the next six minutes of game action, staking Converse to a comfortable 19-6 lead in the opening quarter. A 6-0 run by the Crusaders narrowed the Vals lead to 19-12 after one.
Converse answered the BAC run with six in a row of its own to go back up by 13 (25-12) following an acrobatic layup by Jackson in the lane. Belmont Abbey was able to trim the deficit to 29-23 after a Maria Kuhlman three, but Ashley Sides (Gaffney, S.C.) came right back with a triple of her own to keep the momentum for the Purple and Gold.
The remainder of the second quarter was a seesaw affair as the two teams continued to trade baskets during the final two minutes of the first half. Tee Ballard (Lancaster, S.C.) knocked down a pair of free throws with 16 seconds on the clock to send the Valkyries into the locker room leading 37-29.
Belmont Abbey came out strong to begin the second half, reeling off a quick 6-0 run to pull within two (37-35), but the Vals responded once again with six in a row, the big shot coming off the hands of Hill, who knocked down a big three from the left wing.
With the score at 44-36 in favor of the home team, Abbey used a mini 6-1 spurt over the last 2:42 of the third quarter to trail 45-42 heading into the fourth.
The final stanza saw a back-and-forth battle as the two teams were knotted on three separate occasions in the early beginnings of the frame. Ballard knocked down a pair of free throws with 2:24 left in regulation to give Converse a 55-52 lead, but Belmont Abbey used six straight to take its first lead of the game, 58-55.
Alexis McMillian (Bishopville, S.C.) found Lewis for a layup to pull the Vals to within one, but that was as close as the score would get. A free throw from Abbey's Taylor Stelley pushed the score to 59-57 and Ellen Nardella's (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) runner just missed sending the game into overtime.
Converse will return to the court on Saturday, February 16 as it plays host to Mount Olive in a Conference Carolinas showdown. Tip-off for that contest is scheduled for 2 p.m.