CENTRAL, S.C. – Freshman center Sierra Davenport put together a solid performance, establishing career-highs in points (16) and rebounds (11) to help guide the Converse College basketball team to its first conference win of the season, defeating Southern Wesleyan by the final of 61-58 on Saturday afternoon.
Score: Converse 61, Southern Wesleyan 58
Records: Converse (2-14, 1-6 CC), Southern Wesleyan (1-12, 1-6 CC)
Location: Tysinger Gymnasium, Southern Wesleyan University, Central, S.C.
INSIDE THE BOXSCORE
- Lindsey Hardin joined Davenport in the double-digit scoring column, chipping in 12 points.
- Alexis McMillian continued her stellar play, tallying nine points to go along with 10 rebounds.
- Ashley Sides knocked down three shots from behind the arc, finishing with nine points.
- Converse held a 43-39 advantage on the boards.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The early portion of quarter one was evenly matched as the two teams traded the initial 14 points. Denisha Hall made a layup to put SWU ahead 9-7, but Sides connected on the first of her three from deep to give the Vals a 10-9 lead midway through.
McMillian and Davenport connected on back-to-back layups to extend the advantage to 14-9, but the Warriors took the final five points of the quarter, knotting the contest at 14-all after one.
That run stretched to 10-0 early in the second as Southern Wesleyan built a 19-14 lead two minutes into the second frame. However, Converse came back with eight in a row, capped by a layup from Bhrianna Jackson, to take the lead back at 22-19.
After the Warriors trimmed the deficit to 22-21, Converse finished the half on an 8-3 spurt, taking the 30-24 advantage into halftime.
A free throw from McMillian at the 6:17 mark of the third gave Converse its biggest lead at 37-26. Five consecutive from SWU cut the score to 37-31, but Davenport powered her way for a layup followed by an Alliee Pattillo three-ball, pushing the lead back out to 11 (42-31).
Southern Wesleyan made a final push in the third, outscoring Converse 11-2 down the stretch to trail only 44-42 heading to the final stanza.
Lisana Burnett tied the contest at 44-44 with a layup, but five in a row by the Valkyries ran the advantage out to 49-44 with 8:54 remaining in regulation. The score would draw even once more (49-49) before Hardin nailed a deep three.
Southern Wesleyan battled all the way back and took the lead at 56-54, but Sides drilled a three with just over a minute left to put Converse back ahead by one. Emily Waters put a pair of free throws in the basket, allowing the Warriors to take the lead once more. However, Davenport scored her final points on a layup and McMillian tallied two clutch free throws, giving Converse the hard-fought win.
The Valkyries will return to the friendly confines of Hannah Gymnasium on Wednesday, January 8 as they play host to King University. That contest is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.