Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tigerville, S.C.—The North Greenville women’s basketball team put up a season high 91 points on Tuesday evening, topping Conference Carolinas foe Converse College 91-74 in Hayes Gymnasium. Taylor Vinson led the way for the Crusaders with a career high 33 points, helping the Crusaders to their second conference victory of the season.

The Crusaders led the first half from toss to final buzzer, leading by as many as 17 points during the opening period of play.  NGU did so with a starting lineup that was missing three of five normal starters. Tierra Richberg got the scoring started, scoring two of her 15 points in the opening 15 seconds of play. NGU finished the first half shooting 45%, three points higher than the team’s overall season total.

North Greenville took an early 10-3 lead but the Valkyries were quick to answer, hitting back to back three pointers to cut the NGU lead to just one. The quick answer from Converse would spark an NGU 28-12 run to put NGU comfortably ahead 38-21 with 7:46 left in the half.

The Valkyries would claw their way back into the game however, and an Erin Horne jumper with 1:49 left in the frame would cut NGU’s lead back to an eight point, single digit advantage. Converse would work NGU down to a seven point advantage but Timisty Nelson’s  layup would fall through as time expired, extending it back to nine as the teams headed to the locker room.

The Crusaders would extend the lead back to 11  to open up the second half, but Converse would make its move quick scoring on its next six possessions to take a 54-53 lead, the Valkyries first of the contest. An Erin Horne steal and score would put Converse over the top for the first time in the game, with 14:23 left in regulation.

The Converse spark, seemed to light the North Greenville fuse however. The Crusaders quickly regained composure and momentum, as Aliyah Stokes stroked a three pointer on North Greenville’s ensuing possession, quickly gaining the Crusaders the lead for the final time. The two squads would battle for position, but NGU would finally regain a double-digit lead with 6:54 left, and wouldn’t look back. The Crusaders finished the final six minutes on an 18-12 run, earning them their second conference win.

Joining Vinson and Richberg in the double-digit club for the night was Alisha Hope, who paired 14 rebounds with 12 points to give her a double-double. Hope’s 14 rebounds was an individual team high for the season. Ciara Anderson and Aliyah Stokes both finished with nine points while Timisty Nelson finished with eight points and four steals. Stokes also pocketed four steals.

The Crusaders are now firmly in the running for a Conference Carolinas playoff spot, sitting in eighth place with a 2-6 conference record. NGU is 6-10 overall, heading into a January 25th matchup with Belmont Abbey. NGU will travel to Belmont Abbey for a 5:30 pm tip with other Crusaders in the conference on Saturday.