Cleveland, Mississippi - Valdosta State kept it close throughout the game with No. 1 Delta State, but in the end, VSU fell to 4-4 on the season with a 60-45 loss to the Lady Statesmen.
Brittany Ferguson and Sczeny Hartry teamed up to go at Delta State in the second half. The duo scored 26 of VSU’s 30 second half points. Hartry scored all of her 10 points in the half while Ferguson put up 15 f her 17 points on a combination of drives and post-up moves. Hartry did it mostly from outside with two threes and a long two. She also hit a runner from the side and passed out five assists.
In the first half, it was Amanda Haven who did the bulk of the scoring with seven points. She finished with 10 points and four rebounds, and shot 50 percent from the field. Dominique Smith made most of her contribution on the glass with six rebounds, two blocks and a steal.
In her season debut, Brittany Daniels scored four points, but led the team in rebounding with eight.
For Delta State, Veronica Walker led the way with 19 points and nine rebounds. Miriam Bell scored 16 points, and Sheena Johnson had 11. Sarita Cooper only scored two points but finished with 12 assists and six rebounds.
Both teams came out strong defensively to start with Delta State grabbing a 9-4 lead in the first five minutes. After Alisha Crawford hit a long two, the Lady Statesmen went on a 11-0 run over the next five minutes for a 20-6 lead.
Daniels broke the run out of a timeout with a strong move in the post. After that, the Lady Blazers made a stop on the other end, and Haven went coast to coast for another VSU basket.
Delta State scored twice more before Haven drew a foul on a three-point shot. She buried all three free throws, and then Ferguson scored with a spin move in the lane to pull within nine, 24-15, with 2:18 left in the first half. But before the break, Delta State scored six points, four on free throws to take a 30-15 advantage at halftime.
At the half, the Lady Statesmen held an advantage on the glass, 19-18. Daniels, Haven and Smith combined for 15 of VSU’s 18 boards. Daniels led the trio with six while Smith had five. Haven rounded out the group with four.
But Delta State’s strongest advantages came in turnovers and shooting percentage. The Lady Statesmen only coughed it up seven times while Valdosta State turned the ball over 12 times. In shooting, the red and black was 24 percent from the field and 0-4 from beyond the arc.
Delta State shot 40.7 percent in the first frame and was seven for nine from the charity stripe. Haven buried all three of VSU’s first half free throws.
Five minutes into the second half, the Lady Blazers already found themselves in foul trouble, six fouls to none for Delta State. Both teams, however were tied in second half scoring, 10-10 with Hartry scoring five of VSU’s points and Veronica Walker scoring eight of Delta State’s.
Ferguson and Hartry teamed up to score 12 consecutive points to pull within 10, 42-32, with 11:30 left to play. Delta State answered with a three-pointer from Miriam Bell and an old-fashioned three-point play from Walker to gain a 16-point lead.
Valdosta State was able to force a timeout from the Lady Statesmen with five consecutive points off a Hartry three and Ferguson short jumper. Ferguson made two more baskets, but Bell buried two three-pointers to build the lead back to 13, 54-41, with 6:19 left to play.
Sarita Cooper and Sheena Johnson both made baskets on opposite sides of two more Walker free throws to push the lead to 60-41 before Ferguson stopped the run with a long jumper. Bena Hanyard finished a fast break with a lay-up off a Crawford pass to end the game, 60-45.
Valdosta State will next be in action at Albany State at 7 p.m. Friday.