Valdosta, GA - Valdosta State used a combination of strong defense and balanced scoring to get Head Coach Kiley Hill’s 200th career victory at VSU with a convincing 60-41 victory over West Alabama. Valdosta State moves to 10-9 on the year and 4-2 in the Gulf South Conference while West Alabama falls to 15-5 and 3-3.
The Lady Blazers had a tough test against West Alabama, a team ranked second in the South Region just last week. However, Valdosta State buckled down on defense to secure the victory.
Valdosta State only allowed West Alabama a shooting percentage of just 29.8 percent and 0.0 percent from long range. The Lady Blazers forced 16 turnovers on eight steals. The stifling defense by VSU held Mystee Dale, 21 points per game, to just 10 points while Latashia Greer scored 13.
The defense ratcheted up Valdosta State’s fast break offense. The Lady Blazers scored 17 points off turnovers and 16 points on the break. The “Killer B’s”, Brittany Ferguson and Brittany Daniels led the team in scoring with 10 points apiece. Ferguson doubled up with 13 rebounds while Daniels brought down nine boards.
Point guard Sczeny Hartry continues to play like a team leader, tallying nine points and seven assists in 38 minutes of play.
With low post scoring and passing by Hartry, VSU finished the game shooting an impressive 40.7 percent and 50 percent from beyond the arc.
After going the first seven minutes of the game scoreless, Shakeda Richie knocked down a three-pointer from Ferguson to cut West Alabama’s early lead in half, 6-3.
With points on the board, Valdosta State started scoring at will. Hartry tied the game at eight on a pass from Amanda Haven. Daniels followed her own shot for the offensive board and then gave VSU a 10-9 lead on a layup. Later, with the shot clock ticking down, Courtney Mitchell buried a long two from the top of the key for a three-point lead with just under eight minutes left in the half.
West Alabama would not let the game get out of control that early and came back to go ahead, 14-12 after three baskets from UWA’s Greer. Then VSU took off.
Haven made a long two-pointer off a Hartry assist. Dominique Smith followed it with a layup and Richie scored fast break points on a short corner jump shot from Haven. Richie pump faked the three-pointer, dribbled to her spot, and then put it off the glass for the 18-14 lead.
Smith drew a foul on the next possession and made one of two free throws. Hartry followed that with two more points. Bena Hanyard, an energetic spark for VSU in the first half, added one more point from the charity stripe before West Alabama could break a 10-0 run.
After the UWA basket, VSU scored seven more points for a total run of 17-2 to close out the first half. Hanyard hit a trey to answer West Alabama then Daniels scored in the paint. Hartry stole the ball on the ensuing possession and Ferguson followed Hartry’s fast break layup to take a 29-16 lead into the break.
In the second half, Valdosta State pushed the lead up to 22 points with 9:33 left and never looked back.
The Lady Blazers will look to parlay Wednesday night’s success into a streak on the road against North Alabama and Alabama-Huntsville this weekend.