Defense Stifles Converse in Night of King Firsts
King (1-10, 1-1) took its first lead into halftime, 35-23, though the path to the half began after falling into a six-point hole by the 11-minute mark. With the score 8-14, Kalen Collins (Wise, Va.) began a 15-0 run by answering a Valkyrie three pointer with a drive to the hoop and a layup from the right. Five different Lady Tornado players contributed to the next five baskets, all scored on drives through the lane before Converse broke the streak by splitting a pair of free throws nearly five minutes later. Just as the 15-point streak ended, Brittany Fields busted a three from the right wing to increase their lead to 11 points, one of their largest leads of the season until they bested that later in the half.
The Lady Tornado allowed only 15 points and limited the Valkyries to 21.4 percent shooting in the second half. Converse shot 0-for-10 from three-point range in the final frame and shot under 50 percent from the charity stripe.
Brooke Johnson (Roan Mountain, Tenn.) scored eight of her 15 points in the second half on 3-for-5 from the field, hitting her lone three taken. Overall, she finished with 15 points and hit 60 percent (6-for-10) of her shots, including a pair of three pointers.
For the first time this season, King outrebounded their opponent by beating the Valkyries 47-38 on the boards. Tia Keitt (Dallas, Ga.) notched a team-best nine rebounds to accompany her five points with fellow freshman Alley Sprouse (Newport, Tenn.) added an 8-7 line while helping limit Converse's inside game defensively. The Lady Tornado also scored more second chance points, 13-5, than their opponent leading them to victory. Twenty of the Scarlet and Blue's points came off the bench, led by Allison Bosse (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Collins who each scored seven points.
Mikki Oliver (Hampton, Tenn.) earned her second straight start of the season and posted 11 points, her third double-digit scoring game in her last four. Oliver went 4-for-7 shooting overall in 24 minutes played.
Samira Gillcrese led the Valkyries with 14 points on 6-of-15 shooting and was one of two Converse players with a team-high six rebounds. Converse shot 24.6 percent as a team from the field and only 11.8 percent from behind the arc. King held two of the Valkyries' starters to zero points in a combined 49 minutes played and 0-for-11 shooting.
Head Coach Josh Thompson earned his first win with the Tornado and helps the program earn its first win as a member of Conference Carolinas. They will seek another league win this Saturday, Jan. 7, against Mount Olive as part of a men's/women's doubleheader. King Basketball will sponsor Community Day and offer the chance for fans to win a variety of prizes, including a set of tickets to the NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup races this March. The Lady Tornado will begin the doubleheader against the Trojans at 2:00 p.m. from the Student Center Complex (Bristol, Tenn.).
For more information on Community Day, click here.