Guards Lift VSU Past Eckerd in Double OT

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VALDOSTA, Ga. –Coming off a 56-51 overtime win over Fort Valley State, the Lady Blazers would have to go into extra time to do it again against Eckerd. This time VSU went to a second overtime, but Lady Blazer guards Kamyia Smith and Kourtnee Williams took over the second overtime period to lead VSU past Eckerd, 67-63, to improve to 6-2 on the season.

Brittney Nelson helped with her fourth double-double of the season, finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Courtney Sprague chipped in eight points. Ivana Domljanovic played her best game of the season, logging 30 minutes with eight points and seven rebounds.

Smith and Williams, in addition to pacing VSU with 17 points each, both had six rebounds while Smith gave out three assists. The two combined for 10 of VSU’s 16 steals on the defensive end with Smith tallying six.

After playing to a dead heat for three periods, the Lady Blazers ran away in the second overtime. Eckerd started the second overtime period with a free throw, but Sprague tied it with one of her four made free throws in the extra periods.

After that, VSU took off. Guarding Eckerd’s Kristiana Stauere one on one just past the half court line, Smith made one of her six steals and went to the other end for a lay-up and the two-point VSU lead. Eckerd missed a lay-up on the ensuing possession and Smith came down with the rebound.

Next, Head Coach Kiley Hill called for a play that had been working for the Lady Blazers all night. Williams took the ball around the right elbow and scored on a lay-up for a four-point VSU lead. Smith stretched the lead to five with a free throw and Eckerd never got within less than three in the remaining 43 seconds of the game.

Valdosta State needed to get the win after the Lady Blazers gave up a six-point lead with 3:33 left to play in regulation. Eckerd pulled within four on free throws, then Kayla Bowlin scored a lay-up. Domljanovic fouled Annie Armstrong with just four seconds to play in regulation and she finished the Eckerd comeback with two made free throws to tie the game and force overtime.

The Lady Blazers had to stage a comeback of their own next. Eckerd opened up overtime with a lay-up and a three-pointer. Nelson scored next on a free throw followed by yet another Williams lay-up to cut the Eckerd lead to two with 53 seconds left in overtime.

Armstrong missed her free throw and Williams came down with the rebound. Next, Sprague stepped to the line for the biggest free throws of her collegiate career as of yet… and sunk them both to tie the game, 56-56, with 27 seconds left in the first overtime. The Lady Blazer defense held strong forcing the second overtime, then Williams and Smith brought it home.

Valdosta State was able to claim the victory despite shooting a full 10 percentage points less than Eckerd, 47.8 percent to 37.5 percent. The Lady Blazers also lost out on points in the paint, 34-30, and bench points, 19-10, but beat Eckerd in points off turnovers, 23-19, second chance points, 14-11, and fast break points, 14-13.

The VSU squad forced 26 turnovers on 16 steals while only giving the ball up 18 times. The Lady Blazers also won the battle of the glass with 41 rebounds, 16 of which were offensive, to 37 boards for Eckerd. Most of those rebounds came when VSU needed it most in the extra periods.

Saint Leo will complete VSU’s latest home stand when the Lions come to The Complex at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

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