Valdosta, GA - Valdosta State returned from Christmas break to beat Nova Southeastern, 64-54, Friday evening and move to 8-2 on the season. Brittany Ferguson produced a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds while Kourtnee Williams scored 17 points with some timely assists to lead VSU in the victory.
Behind Ferguson and Williams was senior stalwart Sczeny Hartry. Hartry, as consistent as ever, scored 15 points with three three-pointers and went four of four from the charity stripe. Maylisa Johnson was VSU’s fourth double-digit scorer with 10 points. She added six rebounds, two assists and a steal.
In addition to her double-double, Ferguson also tallied four steals, three assists and two blocks. Williams came through for VSU in addition to scoring as well, giving three assists, two blocks and a steal. Williams and Ferguson teamed up to spark a VSU run that would put the game out of reach.
After letting Nova Southeastern finish the first half on a 6-0 run to bring the halftime score to 28-22 in favor of VSU, Valdosta State did damage in the second half.
Nova Southeastern pulled within four points, 33-29, on a Jada Buckner lay-up less than four minutes into the second half. Then Williams and Ferguson went to work.
Williams stole the ball from Jessica Russi in the midcourt and raced for a fast break lay-up and drew a foul. On the ensuing possession, Ferguson did the same and made the free throw to push the lead to 38-29.
After Ferguson’s three-point play, Williams found Ferguson in the paint for another basket, then gave an assist to Amber Bond on the next possession to make it 42-29 and finish a 9-0 run.
Nova Southeastern was able to finally break the run with a lay-up from Richelle Carach, but Hartry dropped a three-pointer off a Johnson assist, then Ferguson scored twice more to make it 49-32 with 8:47 left to play. The closest NSU would get after that would be within 10 points while VSU built a lead as large as 18.
Valdosta State won the rebound battle, 41-37, which led to an overwhelming advantage in second chance points, 17-6. The Lady Blazers also scored 21 points off turnovers compared to just 13 for the Sharks. Valdosta State forced 18 turnovers with eight steals. Nova Southeastern could only manage three steals.
Sharp shooting from beyond the arc also helped VSU beat Nova Southeastern for the second time this season. Williams finished with four three-pointers and shooting 50 percent from long range while Hartry was three of five from beyond the arc to help VSU finish shooting 43.8 percent from three-point land.
Danielle Robinson and Meixandra Porter led NSU in scoring with 12 points each while Quinessa Johnson tallied eight rebounds. Carach gave out three assists to lead the team.
With conference play fast approaching, Valdosta State will face Palm Beach Atlantic Saturday at 2 p.m. for the team’s final tune-up before welcoming Delta State to town at 6 p.m. Thursday.