Valdosta, GA - Albany State scored the first two points of the game Tuesday night, but, after tying it, Valdosta State would never give up the lead again. Behind sharpshooting from Sczeny Hartry and Brooke Satterfield, playmaking of Maylisa Johnson and consistency of Brittany Ferguson the Lady Blazers moved to 3-2 on the season with a 68-57 win over the in-state rival Golden Rams.
After not hitting a single three-pointer in the first half, Satterfield and Hartry combined for eight three-pointers in the second half. The duo made eight of 13 for a 61.5 percent shooting performance from behind the arc in the second half.
With four three-pointers, Hartry exploded for 13 points in the second half to finish the game with 17, a game high. She also brought down five rebounds in 37 minutes of play.
The most impressive stat line, however, may belong to Johnson. Also playing 37 minutes, Johnson managed nine assists to her teammates, eight points and six rebounds. She also had four steals and just two turnovers playing any one of four positions throughout the night.
After Hartry and Satterfield, the third double-digit scoring performance for VSU came from Ferguson. She finished with a hard fought 11 points and seven rebounds. She also led all players with seven steals and gave out three assists.
Valdosta State came out aggressive in the first half, forcing 14 turnovers and registering eight first half steals, four by Ferguson. The Lady Blazers let their defense open up their offense, scoring 14 points off turnovers and 12 points on the break in the first half. With most baskets coming on lay-ups, VSU finished the first half with 14 points in the paint as well.
The team was dangerous because of its balance. Four Lady Blazers led the team in first half scoring with six points apiece. Two Lady Blazers brought down five rebounds each helping Valdosta State gain a 25-17 advantage on the glass in the first half. In addition, three Lady Blazers notched an assist in the opening frame, led by Johnson with four.
Valdosta State’s work in the first half led to a 32-21 scoring advantage at the break, but the Lady Blazers led by as much as 15 points in the half. With the game tied at four, Courtney Mitchell made a jump shot from Johnson for a lead five minutes in. Hartry scored next followed by two free throws from Ferguson. Hartry forced a steal and finished on the other end for a lay-up for a quick 8-0 run in just two minutes.
After pulling away, VSU kept a steady 10-point lead throughout the rest of the half. Valdosta State again built up to a 15-point lead in the second half, but Albany State slowly started chipping away at it. After a three-pointer from Satterfield, the Golden Rams went on a 7-0 run to close the lead to eight with 8:37 left.
With just over four minutes left, Albany State was able to pull within four on free throws from Kedeemya Cooper, but Hartry answered with a run all on her own. She buried a three-pointer and a free throw after a steal from Ferguson. Satterfield stole the ball next and Hartry scored another three-pointer to bum the lead back to 11. Ferguson followed that with a lay-up to claim a 13-point lead with 2:09 left to play, and Albany State would never threaten again.
Valdosta State will next be in action against Palm Beach Atlantic at 2 p.m. on December 3, then will revisit the Golden Rams on their floor at 7 p.m. December 12. The Lady Blazers will return home to face Columbus State at 6 p.m. December 15.