VALDOSTA, Ga. – In a game Valdosta State needed, the Lady Blazers showed up in force to beat West Georgia, 65-49, on senior night. The win moves Valdosta State to 13-11 and 6-4 in conference play.
Valdosta State shot an eye-popping 52 percent in the first half and finished at 45.8 percent while shooting 40 percent from long range. Senior Shakeda Richie led the team in three-point shooting, burying three long balls on the night while Alisha Crawford and Sczeny Hartry each hit two. Amanda Haven added one as well.
Hartry’s outside shooting helped Valdosta State, but she did most of her work on the drive Saturday night. She finished with 17 points, six rebounds and five assists. Meanwhile, Richie had an excellent senior night with 11 points and five rebounds on a four for seven shooting night. Brittany Ferguson added 11 points and seven rebounds to lead Valdosta State on the glass while Crawford, the freshman, chipped in nine points.
While the offense hit in a big way for VSU, the Lady Blazers are always known for their defense. They stole the ball nine times to force 18 turnovers and only allowed one double-digit scorer, Thomassian Wyatt with 16 points. West Georgia’s top scorer, Monica Williams, averaging 14.2 points per game, only managed seven on VSU with four turnovers.
Valdosta State came out hot thanks to senior Richie. She started her senior night with two three-pointers that barely hit the net. After that, she corralled an offensive rebound and put back up for two points. With help from Courtney Mitchell and Ferguson, Richie and the Lady Blazers were up 12-4 just five minutes into the game.
After making a free throw, Hartry was able to finish a steal from Ferguson. Ferguson pushed the ball to Hartry, who made a quick spin move on the base line to finish the fast break. Ferguson followed that with two points of her own before West Georgia could finally score to stop a 17-4 run to open the game.
Then the Lady Blazers started heating up from outside. Richie had already buried two three-pointers, but Hartry, Haven and Crawford each made a long ball in the first half to help Valdosta State to a 33-23 halftime lead.
Out of the break, Valdosta State took no time stretching the lead to 15 points. The Lady Blazers would claim their largest lead at 17 points with 14 minutes left to play.
The Wolves made a run and fought to within five, but the comeback would fall short.
The Lady Blazers’ next action comes on the road at 6 p.m. Thursday against West Florida.