VALDOSTA, Ga. – Valdosta State finished 2011 with an impressive 64-48 victory over Palm Beach Atlantic Saturday. Brittany Ferguson poured in 18 points in just 26 minutes of play with four steals and two blocks to lead VSU past PBA, 64-48, to move to 9-2 on the season.
Ferguson was six of eight from the free throw line for a third of her points. Meanwhile, Jordan Waugh scored 10 points with a two for two performance beyond the arc, and she hit both her free throws.
Maylisa Johnson brought down eight rebounds with four points and four assists to lead VSU’s effort on the glass as Valdosta State outrebounded Palm Beach Atlantic, 31-28. Three others scored eight points, including Brittney Nelson, playing 16 minutes in her VSU debut. She also gave two assists.
The Lady Blazers dominated the paint, outscoring PBA, 28-12, in the lane. The rebounding advantage gave VSU a 10-0 advantage in second chance scoring while the Lady Blazers dominated bench scoring, 26-0. Valdosta State was also able to score eight points on the break sparked by three Kourtnee Williams assists while PBA could not manage a fast break point.
Palm Beach Atlantic started strong, earning a six-point lead, 10-4, eight minutes into the game, but Valdosta State fought back to go on a run of its own.
Down six, Johnson found Nelson for a three-pointer on Nelson’s first shot of the season. With the lead cut in half, Ferguson stole the ball and raced the length of the court for a lay-up to pull within one. Courtney Mitchell scored next off a Johnson assist, and then Ferguson scored off a Nelson assist and drew the foul. Ferguson made the free throw to complete the three-point play and the Lady Blazers were up four before Palm Beach Atlantic could break the 10-point run.
The Sailfish would come back to tie it with 7:25 left in the first half, but Valdosta State built up a lead of as much as seven points before the break. The Lady Blazers, however, would only hold a four-point lead, 30-26, at the half.
Ferguson started the second half scoring with a lay-up 20 seconds into the half, but Palm Beach Atlantic brought all it could to pull within one, 40-39, with 11:13 left to play. The Lady Blazers made their move at the 10-minute mark and wouldn’t look back.
Ferguson made three-consecutive free throws to start a 14-0 VSU run over the next six minutes of the game. Next, Williams, the shortest player on the court, brought down a rebound and pushed the ball forward. She found Ferguson for a fast break lay-up, and then did it again less than two minutes later to force a PBA timeout.
Out of the timeout, Mitchell buried a jumper and on the ensuing possession, Ferguson tossed a Loren Wilkins shot into Johnson’s hands. Sczeny Hartry followed that with a three-pointer and Ferguson made two more free throws to complete the 14-0 run.
Lynsey Poole made a lay-up to stop the run, but then Nelson found Jocelyn Danley streaking down the right side of the lane for a lay-up. Danley finished the shot despite a Sailfish foul. Danley completed the three-point play to make it 57-41 in favor of VSU with just 3:18 left to play.
The Sailfish had no chance after that. Ashley Dolberry led PBA in rebounding with 11 while Jordan Kong finished with 19 points to lead PBA’s scoring efforts.
Valdosta State will start the conference season against Gulf South Conference rival Delta State at 6 p.m. Thursday at The Complex.
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