Huntsville, AL - Valdosta State led most of a physical game, but Alabama-Huntsville came from behind to win, 69-65, as the Chargers have done so many teams this season. The Lady Blazers drop to 10-11 on the season and 4-4 in Gulf South Conference play while Alabama-Huntsville takes sole possession of third place in the GSC East at 5-3, 10-11 overall.
Brittany Daniels led the team in efficiency with 19 points on nine of 13 shooting. She also had 14 rebounds, seven offensive boards. Amanda Haven also finished with 19 points with three assists in 38 minutes. Brittany Ferguson also scored double digits with 13 points along with four steals.
Valdosta State dominated the boards to the tune of 44-31 with 20 rebounds on the offensive glass. Along with the boards, the Lady Blazers also did work in the paint, scoring 36 points in the paint to just 22 for the Chargers. The Lady Blazers scored 20 points off turnovers and 23 second chance points.
The Lady Blazers shot 42.2 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from long range, but Alabama-Huntsville outshot VSU in percentage, 46.8 overall and 40 percent from three-point range.
Valdosta State and Alabama-Huntsville went back and forth early, all the way to a 34-33 score at halftime in favor of VSU. The largest lead of the half was five points by VSU, but it was short lived.
The game started out physical with seven jump balls and 19 fouls, 11 on Valdosta State. The teams kept it physical throughout with 33 fouls, 21 of which came on VSU. The Lady Blazers went seven of 11 at the charity stripe while the Chargers were 17 of 26 on the night.
In the first half Jordan Smith scored 16 points and finished with 29, 10 of which came at the free throw line. No other Charger had more than four points in the first half. Jasmine Hammon finished with 19 points and eight rebounds though while Andrea Bennett corralled 11 boards.
Alabama-Huntsville hit more three-pointers than two-pointers in the first half, six to four, while Valdosta State only made one from long range. Sczeny Hartry buried that one on her way to five first half points, but she had to take an early seat due to three fouls. The Lady Blazers finished with 12 points from beyond the arc while UAH made eight three-pointers.
Haven and Ferguson led the way for VSU with eight points each in the half while Daniels scored seven points with seven rebounds in just seven minutes of play in the half.
Less than two minutes into the second half, Daniels had secured another double-double.
Both teams traded baskets to start the second half, then VSU went on a run. Down 41-40, Ferguson hit a free throw followed by a three-pointer from Shakeda Richie. Then Daniels stole the ball and gave it up to Hartry to run the break. Hartry gave it back to Daniels for the finish. Haven followed it with a made free throw off a UAH technical foul to make it 47-41 and give VSU its largest lead of the game.
Out of a VSU timeout, Valdosta State went to the well again: Daniels in the post. Daniels finished to make it a 9-0 run. Alabama-Huntsville finally broke the run on the next possession with a free throw to make it 49-42 with just less than 14 minutes left.
After a fast break bucket by Haven to claim an eight-point lead with six minutes left, Alabama-Huntsville heated up. The Chargers went on a 7-0 run while forcing costly VSU turnovers. With the crowd and momentum on their side, the Chargers pulled within one point multiple times.
The first time, Ferguson hit a jump shot from the elbow to hold off UAH. A little more than a minute later, ahead one, Daniels passed out to Haven from the post, and Haven nailed a three ball. Huntsville kept coming back though, and Smith answered with another layup.
With just over a minute left, Lakrisha White hit a three-pointer from the corner to put the Chargers up a point. The Lady Blazers could not convert on the ensuing possession and was forced to foul. Smith hit two free throws for Alabama-Huntsville to secure a three-point lead, 68-65, with 29.4 seconds left.
Ferguson was able to get an open look from three-point range but the shot didn’t fall.
The Lady Blazers will return to action at The Complex at 2 p.m. Saturday against Lambuth.