MURFREESBORO, N.C. –Sophomore guard Alexis McMillian poured in a career-high 23 points but it was not enough as the Converse basketball team dropped a 73-61 decision at Chowan on Thursday evening. The Valkyries trailed by as many as 15 in the contest before coming back to take the lead in the fourth quarter. However, the Hawks used one last spurt to pull away in the winning effort.
Score: Chowan 73, Converse 61
Records: Chowan (3-8, 3-4 CC), Converse (1-14, 0-6 CC)
Location: Helms Center, Chowan University, Murfreesboro, N.C.
INSIDE THE BOXSCORE
- Ellen Nardella chipped in nine points while Lindsey Rogers and Shokori Jennings-Shuler scored eight points each for the Valkyries. Jennings-Shuler also hauled in five rebounds.
- McMillian shot a perfect 10-for-10 from the floor, setting a new program record for makes without a miss.
- Sierra Davenport led Converse on the boards with a team-high seven.
- Converse had one of its better shooting nights of the season, knocking down 23-of-54 shots (42.6%).
HOW IT HAPPENED
Chowan jumped out to a 4-0 lead early in the first before Davenport connected on a layup to trim that margin in half. From that point the two teams struggled to find the basket as the Hawks held a 6-2 advantage at the first media timeout.
Converse started to work the ball inside coming out of the timeout, outscoring CU 6-3 in a little over a minute to trim the score to 9-8. However, Chowan was able to tally six of the final seven points of the quarter, taking a 15-9 lead into the second period.
That lead continued to grow with the Hawks taking the first seven points of the quarter, ballooning the lead to 22-9 with 8:28 to play in the opening half. Converse was finally able to stop the scoring streak following a layup by McMillian.
Chowan built its biggest lead (28-13), but back-to-back layups from Davenport and McMillian sparked a 12-3 run by the Valkyries, capped off by a pair of free throws from Nardella, bringing Converse to within 31-25. However, Chowan finished the half with a spurt of 5-1, taking a double-digit lead (36-26) into halftime.
Ashley Sides and Nardella knocked down threes early in the second half and Converse ripped off 8-of-10, trimming the deficit to 38-34 with just over six minutes remaining in the third period of play. Nine in a row by Chowan allowed the Hawks to extend back to a double-digit lead (47-34) just after the under-5 media timeout.
McMillian turned up the intensity on the offensive end over the next three-plus game minutes, fueling a critical 13-0 run for the Vals, tying the contest at 47-all with less than a minute to play. The Hawks took two of the final three points in the third, heading to the final period with a slim 49-48 advantage.
McMillian continued her stretch, collecting two consecutive jumpers to open the fourth, giving Converse its first lead at 52-51. A free throw by Rogers followed by a layup from Jennings-Shuler allowed Converse to push its lead out to 55-51.
Unfortunately, that would be the last lead for the Valkyries as Chowan reeled off a damaging 16-0 run, taking complete control of the contest (67-55) with two minutes remaining. From that point it was all academic with Chowan earning the 73-61 win.
Converse returns to the court on Saturday, January 4 as it travels to Central, S.C. to take on Southern Wesleyan University. That contest is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.