SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The King University women's basketball team returned to Conference Carolinas play on Tuesday night and earned their first league win of the season at Converse College. The Tornado turned in one of their best shooting performances in the last two years, making 58.0 percent of their shots to take the contest 77-60.
The game went back-and-forth in the early going with Converse (1-3, 0-2 CC) taking a 10-7 lead following a 6-0 run five minutes in. However, Jalan Harper got drilled a free throw to get King back on the board before Brittany Stringer made a layup and a three-point basket for a 6-0 spurt that put King ahead 13-10.
The score was then tied at 16 before King went on another 6-0 run and looked to gain control of the contest. After a Converse bucket, Arnelle Collins made a jump shot and Chelsea Bowling drilled a triple to give King a 27-18 advantage. The Tornado lead grew to 34-20 following a Collins bucket with three minutes left, but the Valkyries scored six of the final eight points of the half to make the score 36-26 at the break.
King (4-2, 1-2 CC) was only heating up however, as the Tornado went on a 13-0 run after Converse scored the first bucket of the second half. Collins started the spurt with a free throw and Bowling followed with one of her five three-point baskets in the game. Harper drilled a triple later on the run and Alley Sprouse gave King a 49-28 lead and capped the run with a layup five minutes into the second half.
The Tornado held the lead there for a few minutes until the Valkyries tried to make a run in the middle of the frame. King held a 52-33 lead when Converse scored seven straight points to pull within 12 points, but Bowling answered with a three-point basket to try and bring the momentum back to King. Bonnie Durrett then followed with a bucket and three-point basket to extend the lead to 60-42 with eight minutes left.
Converse tried to make another run late in the half, but every time they got within 12, King had an answer and extended their lead, eventually taking the contest 77-61.
King shot a season-best 58.0 percent (29-for-50) from the floor, including 47.4 percent from three-point range. The Tornado also held Converse to 37.3 percent shooting from the floor and 16.7 percent from long range. King won the rebounding battle as well, outrebounding the Valkyries 41-27.
Bowling led King with 17 points, going 5-for-9 from three-point range while Collins followed with 15 points and five rebounds and four assists. Sprouse made all five of her shots to reach double figures with 10 points. Keitt and Durrett both chipped in with seven points apiece with Keitt grabbing four rebounds and handing out seven assists. Durrett, Bowling and Whitney Mitchell all snared five rebounds with Mitchell dishing out five assists.
King will be in action again on Saturday when they travel to take on 12th-ranked Limestone College. Tipoff from Gaffney, S.C., is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.