SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Dominique Hill and Alexis McMillian tallied 14 points each but it was not enough as the Converse College basketball team's comeback bid versus USC Aiken fell just short on Saturday afternoon inside the Weisiger Center.
Score: USC Aiken 64, Converse 57
Records: USC Aiken (2-2), Converse (1-5)
Location: Hannah Gymnasium, Converse College, Spartanburg, S.C.
INSIDE THE BOXSCORE
- Shakori Jennings-Shuler joined the double-digit club, chipping in 10 off the bench for Converse.
- Ellen Nardella added seven points while Bhrianna Jackson pulled down a team-high seven boards from her guard position.
- Converse shot just 36.1% (22-61) from the floor and 8-of-24 (33.3%) from the charity stripe.
- Aiken held a 45-34 edge on the boards.
- Alex Canady led all scorers with 24 points.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Converse came out of the gates strong, racing out to a 6-0 lead following two buckets from Hill and one from McMillian two minutes into the opening quarter. Aiken was able to run off six of its own to knot the score at 6-all, but Nardella dialed a shot from distance and McMillian collected a hoop-and-harm, pushing the lead to 12-6 with 3:24 remaining.
The Valkyries were outscored 3-1 down the stretch of the first, but took a 13-9 lead into the second period of action.
Aiken opened the second with a run of 14-1, taking a 23-14 advantage three and a half minutes in. A Grace Crawford three ballooned the lead to 28-16, but Tori Henderson connected on a jumper, sparking a 9-1 run by the Purple and Gold, closing the gap to 29-25 late in the first half.
The final two minutes of play saw only three total points as USCA took a 31-26 lead into the break.
The Pacers came out strong to open the second half, building a 35-26 lead after back-to-back baskets. However, Anna King put a stop to the mini run with a layup. USC Aiken gained some breathing room at 46-30 following nine in a row and 11-of-15 by the visitors. Hill and McMillian went back-to-back with jumpers to close the deficit to 44-32 heading into the final period of play.
After the Pacers extended the lead to 51-36, Hill went on personal 5-0 run, closing the gap to 51-41 with 5:39 left in regulation. The Valkyries continued to chip away at the lead and came as close as 55-52, but Aiken did not allow the home team to get any closer, milking the game at the free throw line.
Converse will return to the court on Thursday, November 28, traveling to The Last Frontier to participate in the North Star Invitational hosted by University of Alaska-Fairbanks. The Valkyries will face Lake Erie during day one of the three-day tournament. Tipoff for that contest is scheduled for 5 p.m. EST.