SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Sophomore Bonnie Durrett continued her tumultuous play of late with her fourth consecutive double-double to guide the Lady Tornado to their third straight win. Backed by freshman Stephanie Brantley's superb shooting that resulted in a career-high 25 points, King defeated the Converse Valkyries on the road, 73-58.
Durrett, a sophomore from West Paducah, Ky., led both sides with 14 rebounds on the night and complimented that effort with 16 points and four assists. Her double-double against the Valkyries was her sixth of the season and fourth straight. In the last four games that Durrett has notched double figures in both points and rebounds, the Lady Tornado are 3-1 with their only loss coming in a narrow four-point defeat to Belmont Abbey to start that streak.
King held on to a double-digit advantage for most of the second half after the team took a 10-point lead with a pair of free throw makes by Stephanie Brantley (Pilot Mountain, N.C.) with three seconds to go in the half. Brantley began the game hitting 5-for-8 from the field with a pair of threes to account for 14 of her career-high 25 points in the contest.
Over the first 11 minutes of the game, the Lady Tornado jumped out to a 15-7 lead where Durrett and Brantley combined for eight of those points. The duo also scored the final four points of the first half, all by way of free throw, leading to a 34-24 King lead.
After both teams exchanged blows over the first six minutes of the second half, King began its breakaway with its second 15-7 run of the game. Brantley hit four straight shots in a five-minute span of time including one of her three three-point hits on the night. Her run helped King built a 17-point lead, 57-40, with 8:41 remaining in the game. Their lead grew to a game-high 18 points two possessions later with buckets by Durrett and Brooke Johnson. The Lady Tornado never led by fewer than 12 over the final 14:03.
The Lady Tornado shot 42 percent from the field on the night, led by Brantley's 69.2 percent shooting night. Her 25 points against Converse eclipsed her previous career-high, 18 points, set earlier this season at home against Belmont Abbey on Jan. 5. Brantley also set a new high in made field goal in a single game (9) and free throws made (4). She was one rebound away from tying her previous best set twice against Salem International on Dec. 4 and 18.
Alley Sprouse (Newport, Tenn.) added to her season block total, now totaling 28 thus far to lead the team and Conference Carolinas. Coming into the game, she was ranked eighth in NCAA Division II in blocked shots per game (2.70).
Samira Gillcrese led the Valkyries with 24 points on 11-of-21 shooting. She was one rebound away from pulling down a double-double of her own. Ashley Long joined her in double figures with 15 points.
King (8-4, 4-4) will play their second straight road game and look to extend their current winning streak to four games at Queens University of Charlotte (7-5, 5-3) on Saturday, Jan. 19. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. as the first leg of a basketball doubleheader that includes both men's teams. They will return to the Student Center Complex on Jan. 21 to take on the Lees-McRae Bobcats.