Mitchell leads King to Conference Carolinas win over Converse

Photo credit: Tessa Klingensmith
Photo credit: Tessa Klingensmith

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Coaches often talk about closing each half on a positive note, and the King University women's basketball team did just that on Saturday afternoon. The Tornado closed the first half on a 19-4 run to take a 30-17 lead into the break against Converse College. In the second half, King closed the frame on an 11-2 run to take the 51-38 Conference Carolinas victory.

King (16-5, 11-4 CC) quickly gained an advantage behind a pair of Amy Van Deventer buckets and successive scores from Tia Keitt and Whitney Mitchell. However, the Valkyries (2-15, 1-13 CC) answered with a 7-0 run to take an 11-8 lead eight minutes into the contest. The game was the tied at 11 following a Mitchell trifecta, and after a Converse bucket, the Tornado defense clamped down.

From the 10:52 mark, the King defense held Converse to four points for the rest of the half, including a stretch of nearly six minutes without a point. During that time, the Tornado offense continued to score as Mitchell started an 11-0 run with a layup. Van Deventer then gave King the lead with another layup before Mitchell made back-to-back buckets and Bonnie Durrett capped the spurt with a three-point basket.

Mitchell and Arnelle Collins then teamed up to score King's final eight points of the half, the last a fastbreak layup by Mitchell that gave King their largest lead of the game at 30-15. However, Converse scored the final bucket of the half with two seconds left to make the halftime score 30-17.

However, the Tornado had their work cut out for them in the second half as the Valkyries quickly scored the first five points of the second half. After another Mitchell fastbreak layup, Converse scored six straight points to get within 32-28 with 14 minutes remaining. The Valkyries cut their deficit to just two at 34-32 with 7:39 remaining, but Keitt answered with a big three-point basket for the Tornado.

The Tornado then closed the game on an 11-2 run, capped by another Durrett triple with 1:17 remaining to give King the 51-38 victory.

King shot 34.4 percent from the floor, while holding Converse to a 30.4 field goal percentage. The Tornado outrebounded Converse 49-37, including 15 offensive rebounds for King.

Mitchell matched a career-high with 17 points on 8-for-12 shooting from the floor to go along with seven rebounds. Keitt followed with nine points while Van Deventer scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds.

King will be in action again on Tuesday when they travel to take on Lees-McRae College in another Conference Carolinas tilt. Tipoff from Banner Elk, N.C. is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

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