SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Converse College basketball team opened the conference portion of its schedule with a 56-44 loss to the University of Mount Olive on Tuesday evening inside the Weisiger Center. The Trojans outscored Converse by nine (21-12) in the fourth, accounting for the majority of the difference in the game.
Score: Mount Olive 56, Converse 44
Records: Mount Olive (6-1, 3-0 CC), Converse (1-9, 0-1 CC)
Location: Hannah Gymnasium, Converse College, Spartanburg, S.C.
INSIDE THE BOXSCORE
- Ellen Nardella led the Vals with 12 points, while Alexis McMillian and Lindsey Hardin chipped in eight each.
- McMillian pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds in the losing effort.
- Converse shot only 27.9% (17-61) from the floor and 20% (5-25) from distance.
- Mount Olive held a wide margin in free throws, taking 35 from the charity stripe compared to the Valkyries eight.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Mount Olive came out quick in the opening quarter, scoring the game's first six points with three minutes gone off the clock. However, the Trojans would go the rest of the period without a single point, marking their longest scoring drought of the season.
Converse looked to take advantage of the poor shooting of UMO but could muster only six points itself during the 10-minute stretch, sending the contest to the second quarter all knotted at 6-each.
A pair of free throws from Jada Bacchus gave Mount Olive its biggest lead of the half (14-8), but the Valkyries continued to battle, staying within firing distance of the visitors. With the score at 19-12 in favor of UMO, Nardella connected on a layup, sparking a 6-2 run over the half's final 2:35, pulling Converse to within 21-18 at the break.
Nardella opened the third with a basket, cutting the Trojan lead to a single point (21-20). However, seven in row by UMO pushed the advantage back out to 28-20 with 6:36 on the clock. Shakori Jennings-Shuler connected on a triple but back-to-back buckets from Mount Olive extended the margin to 32-23.
McMillian hit a tough runner in the lane followed by a pair of threes from Nardella and Hardin, once again bringing the Valkyries to within one (32-31). Mount Olive took three of the final four points of the third to earn a 35-32 lead heading into the final period.
A 5-2 burst by Converse, capped off by a Dominique Hill layup, allowed Converse to tie the score at 37-all early in the final stanza. However, Mount Olive used a crucial 9-0 run to catapult ahead (46-37) with just under four minutes to play in regulation.
From that point, Mount Olive was able to milk the game away at the free throw line, connecting on 8-of-13 down the stretch, giving the Trojans a 56-44 win.
Converse will hit the road on Saturday, December 7, traveling to Banner Elk, N.C. to face the Bobcats of Lees-McRae College. Tipoff for that contest is scheduled for 2 p.m.