GAFFNEY, S.C. – Junior forward Nigeria Davis posted a massive double-double with 27 points and 16 rebounds to help guide the Converse College basketball team to a season-opening win over Queens University of Charlotte on Friday evening on the campus of Limestone College. Davis shot a blistering 64.7% (11-17) from the floor and controlled the boards all night for the Purple and Gold.
"I am really proud of the composure my Valkyries played with tonight," said head coach Jim Brunelli. "They got a little rattled but never stopped the fight."
Score: Converse 84, Queens (N.C.) 77
Records: Converse (1-0), Queens (N.C.) (0-1)
Location: Timken Center, Limestone College, Gaffney, S.C.
INSIDE THE BOXSCORE
- Ellen Nardella and Alexis McMillian chipped in 12 points each, while McMillian nearly missed a double-double, hauling in eight boards from the guard position.
- Ashley Sides knocked down a pair of clutch threes on her way to 10 points.
- Bhrianna Jackson provided the offense with five dimes.
- Converse shot 50.8% (32-63) while holding Queens to 35.8% (24-67).
- The Valkyries pulled down 41 rebounds to the Royals 38.
- Converse collected 19 assists on 32 made baskets (59%).
HOW IT HAPPENED
Davis got the night started with a personal 6-3 run over the game's initial two minutes. From that point it was a back-and-forth affair as the two teams traded baskets over the course of five game minutes. A Lindsey Rogers layup at the 4:07 mark gave Converse its biggest lead of the quarter (11-7).
Queens continued to fight back, chipping away at the lead and doubling up the Valkyries (8-4) down the stretch to pull even at 15-all after the first 10 minutes of play. Shakori Jennings-Shuler provided a spark off the bench for Converse with four points in the session.
A Kelsey Leedle three to open the second quarter gave Queens its first lead (18-15) since 3-2 early in the first. That advantage grew to 23-18, but a step-back three from Rogers trimmed the deficit to a single possession with just under seven minutes remaining in the half.
Madison Sexton knocked down a pair of free throws at the 4:33 mark to give the Royals their biggest lead of the game (30-23), but Converse came back with seven in a row, capped off by a Sides shot from downtown to draw even. Queens finished the period on an 11-7 spurt to take a four-point lead into the intermission.
The Royals came out in the second half putting pressure on the Vals, extending their lead to 51-45 before another Sides three-ball sparked a 12-2 run by Converse to put the Purple and Gold ahead 57-53 with three minutes remaining in the quarter.
That four-point margin would hold the remainder of the third as Converse took a 63-59 lead into the final stanza. The Valkyries outscored Queens 26-18 in the third to establish the advantage.
Converse was the aggressor to open the fourth, reeling off seven in a row, finished off by an old-fashioned three-point play from Davis, giving Converse a comfortable 70-59 lead almost midway through the period.
Caitlin Moore connected on a layup at the 4:02 mark to trim the Valkyries lead to 72-65, but that was as close as the game would get. The Valkyries led by as many as 12 (82-70) en route to the 84-77 win.
"Tonight's game was a total team effort with four players scoring in double-digits and sharing the ball with 19 assists. Nigeria [Davis] had a breakout game and played with a tremendous amount of passion," added Brunelli.
Converse will make the quick turnaround as it faces UVA-Wise in the second and final day of the South Atlantic Conference/Conference Carolinas Challenge. Tipoff for that game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. inside the Timken Center.