LIVINGSTON, Ala. – After a tough second half against West Georgia Thursday night, Valdosta State suffered the same fate at the hands of West Alabama. After leading by one at the break, reminiscent of Thursday, the Lady Blazers gave up 35 points in the second half to fall, 58-46. The loss drops VSU to 9-5 on the season and 2-4 in the Gulf South Conference while West Alabama improves to 8-5 on the season and 3-2 in league play.
At first, it looked like Valdosta State would have an advantage as West Alabama’s leading scorer, Brittany Weathers, could not play due to injury, but senior guard Nikkia Jordan made up for it and more on her way to 37 points in the game. No other Tiger scored more than six points or made more than two field goals in the game.
For Valdosta State, it was the usual suspects. Brittney Nelson tallied team highs 13 points and eight rebounds while Kourtnee Williams scored 10 points with five rebounds, three steals and two assists. Nelson added two steals, two assists and a block.
Courtney Sprague provided some scoring support with nine points and six rebounds while Kamyia Smith, off the bench, led VSU in assists with three.
Valdosta State started fast in the game, racing to an 8-2 lead in the first four minutes of the game. Brooke Satterfield opened scoring with a three-pointer and Williams followed it with another one from the top of the key.
Jordan scored once for West Alabama, but Sprague gave VSU a six-point lead with a lay-up.
Out of the media timeout, West Alabama went on an 8-0 run before Jasmine Mapp stopped it with a lay-up. Jordan scored four of the eight points in the run. Sprague was able to regain the lead for VSU, 11-10, with a free throw at the 10:58 mark.
Nelson followed with just her second shot in the first 11 minutes of the game, a three-pointer for a 14-10 VSU lead.
From there, Jordan went on a 7-1 run all on her own for West Alabama for a 17-15 Tiger lead. Nelson responded with a steal on the perimeter and went the distance of the court for a lay-up to tie it, 17-17.
Both teams traded baskets after that, but Valdosta State claimed a 24-23 lead at halftime. The Lady Blazers would have to find an answer for Jordan as she finished the first frame with 17 of UWA’s 23 points, including all six of UWA points at the charity stripe.
Valdosta State was also getting beat on the glass, 21-16, and in shooting percentage, 36.4 percent to 29.0 percent, in the first half.
The Lady Blazers were shooting well from long range though as the team had four players drop one each for a 44.4 percent first half three-point shooting percentage.
Ashley Johnson hit her first field goal of her career to start the second half scoring nearly four minutes into it. She scored the first five points of the half for VSU while Jordan and West Alabama could only manage two points.
After that, West Alabama Head Coach Craig Roden picked up a game-changing technical foul. Valdosta State picked up the next four fouls of the game while UWA went on a 10-0 run for a 33-29 Tiger lead. Sprague finally broke the momentum with a basket from the short corner to bring VSU within four, 35-31, with 10:15 left to play.
Unfortunately for VSU, Jordan came alive after scoring just one point in the first eight and a half minutes of the second half. She went on a 14-0 run of her own scoring on a variety of shots: free throws, outside, midrange and on the drive. Behind Jordan, the Tigers built a 10-point lead, 41-31, with 8:33 left to play.
The teams traded baskets, but then the long ball came alive for the Lady Blazers. Valdosta State received threes from Nelson, Satterfield and Williams to pull within four, 46-42, with just over four minutes to play.
West Alabama opened up the lead though behind another basket from Jordan and Lanita Futrell’s first points of the game, a three from the corner. It proved too much for VSU to overcome.
Valdosta State will stay on the road for its next game, another conference game. The Lady Blazers will face West Florida at 2 p.m. in Pensacola on Saturday.