Comeback Quelled by Valkyries, 60-59
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Behind Kelly Jackson's second double-double in as many games, King overcame a double-digit deficit at the half and erased a seven-point disadvantage within the final 1:30 with a chance to win on their final possession. After a dramatic finish involving a last-second foul by Converse, the game was decided on free throws in a 60-59 loss, Monday.
The final 90 seconds featured a dramatic twist in the game after the Valkyries built a seven-point lead. After both teams swapped layups to account for a 58-51 score, Kelly Jackson (Lynchburg, Va.) hit her second three pointer of the day to make it a two-bucket game. Jana Gross forced a steal to gain possession of the ball when Samira Gillcrese committed the team's ninth foul to send Alley Sprouse (Newport, Tenn.) to the line for a one-and-one opportunity. Sprouse hit both free throws to make a two-point game, 58-56.
Three straight turnovers between the two teams put the ball back into the hands of the Lady Tornado. The Valkyries' Chelsea Rivers had her inbound pass intercepted by Gross. Brooke Johnson (Roan Mountain, Tenn.) put up a layup to tie the game at 58 points after Jackson cleaned up the glass on an offensive rebound with 11 seconds to go.
The Valkyries responded by pushing the ball up the court where Chelsea Rivers hit a 20-foot jumper from the left side to retake a two –point lead, 60-58. King was quick to push the ball back into the Converse side of the floor and right before the buzzer sounded, Gross went up for a shot from the top of the key and was fouled by Kayla Garrett. Gross went to the line for two guaranteed shots from the line, but missed the first shot. The Dayton, Ohio native hit the back end of the pair and the upcoming inbound ended the game, 60-59.
Gross registered three steals in the final 1:27 of the game and a total of four for the game, adding eight points and five rebounds to her line.
Kelly Jackson recorded her second straight double-double, tallying 13 points and 14 rebounds in the loss to the Valkyries. She went 5-for-11 from the field and hit a pair of three pointers. On the defensive end, Jackson recorded two blocks while seven of her 14 rebounds were defensive.
Alley Sprouse joined Jackson as the second double-digit scorer, registering 12 points on 5-of-10 (.500) shooting. She recorded seven rebounds, three on the offensive end. Allison Bosse (Knoxville, Tenn.) led all scorers off the bench with nine points (4-for-6) and five rebounds in 18 minutes played.
King (4-17, 4-9) outscored the Valkyries (3-18) in the paint, 34-24, and in second-chance points, 20-13. The Lady Tornado shot 31.5 percent from the field, but struggled from behind the arc shooting less than 20 percent.
The Lady Tornado will host the Belmont Abbey Crusaders on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 5:30 p.m. in the first of two games that night. Tornado Basketball will host "Sea of Red", calling upon fans to wear red or red King gear while cheering on the Tornado. Red "Tornado Warning" rally towels will be handed out to help fill the Sea of Red in the stands. Chick-fil-A will offer complimentary sandwiches between the women's and men's games.