Valdosta, GA - Valdosta State put on a dominating performance against Concordia-Selma, led by freshman guards Alisha Crawford and Bena Hanyard. The Lady Blazers move above .500 with the 57-24 victory to 12-11 on the season before the final stretch of Gulf South Conference East Division games.
Crawford and Hanyard showed some impressive chemistry throughout the game. In fact, three of Hanyard’s four assists went to Crawford, helping the freshman from Valdosta to finish with a game high 14 points. Crawford added six rebounds to her stat line while Hanyard finished with 10 points, seven boards, four assists, a block and a steal.
Crawford and Hanyard helped Valdosta State score 26 points off the bench, but starter Amanda Haven dropped 11 points with two assists, two rebounds and two steals.
Valdosta State crashed the boards, gaining a 51-33 advantage to help VSU score 20 second chance points and 28 points in the paint. Six Lady Blazers corralled five rebounds or more in the game.
The VSU defense clamped down to hold Concordia-Selma to just 18.8 percent shooting from the field and a mere 10 percent from long range. The Lady Blazers racked up 12 steals to force 20 turnovers that led to 18 points for VSU.
The only Lady Hornet to reach double figures was Kieanna Richardson, who finished with 11 points. Tiffany Hill and Shakiyla Heslip led the team in rebounding with six each..
After falling behind 4-0, Valdosta State went on a run sparked by Crawford’s three-pointer. After that, Haven made a three-point play to give VSU its first lead of the game, 6-3. Then Courtney Mitchell hit a shot from the short corner off a pass from Haven to make it an 8-0 run before Richardson scored to break it.
Then Crawford and Hanyard started their show. Hanyard scored with a layup on the break after a Crawford rebound. After a free throw from Haven, Hanyard found Crawford with a pass the freshman guard turned into a three-point play.
Just 16 seconds after Crawford’s made free throw, Haven stole the ball from the Lady Hornets. Haven passed it up to Hanyard, who provided the highlight of the night with a look away, behind the back pass to Crawford for two points and a 16-6 VSU lead. Valdosta State would push the lead to 25-8 at halftime.
Out of the break, VSU continued to push the pedal down. Haven buried a three-pointer on a Brittany Daniels pass from the post. The next play showed great teamwork for VSU. Shakeda Richie stole the ball and found Haven on the left side. Haven drove across the lane to draw the defense when she found Hartry cutting to the basket from the weak side for an easy two points.
The next VSU position, Haven followed Richie’s missed jump shot with a short jumper. Hanyard would score another layup before Concordia-Selma would score another point. Hill’s free throw made it 34-11 in favor of VSU less than five minutes into the second half.
Valdosta State did not look back after that, building a lead as big as 34 points before the game would end.
The Lady Blazers welcome West Georgia to the Complex at 6 p.m. Saturday for senior night as well as VSU’s Hall of Fame Celebration night. Valdosta State encourages everyone to “Black Out the Plex” this Saturday.