By James Vallone
VALDOSTA, Ga. – The Lady Blazers used strong performances from Brttney Nelson and Kourtnee Williams to defeat the Lady Hawks, 51-40.
Valdosta State took advantage in the second half of the Lady Hawks (6-5, 2-2 GSC) shooting 38 percent, compared the 50 percent for the Lady Blazers (9-3, 2-2 GSC), to turn the three point halftime lead into an 11 point victory.
Coach Vic Mitchell shook up the starting lineup, inserting Milena Samson and Madison Rice for their first starts of the season in the Gulf South Conference road game. Rice quickly made her presence known with a 3-pointer less than one minute into the game.
Valdosta State took a 9-1 run midway through the first half to overcome the Shorter lead and run the score to 16-9, with 7:14 remaining. Shorter would draw close thanks to Shelby Farrer connecting multiple times from the free throw line, and Kristin Nash making a 3-pointer, and a Lindsey Crawford lay-up to enter the break down by three, 22-19.
In the second half Shorter would be able to draw near, and Boykin would tie the game, 26-26 with 15:28 left to play, when she hit a 3-pointer.
Valdosta State would then utilize a 19-5 run over the next 9:12 to push the lead to 45-31. Nash would connect on a 3-pointer, and a few layups by Boykin and Crawford would complete the scoring.
Nash would lead the scoring with a team high 10 points, coming off the bench, while pulling in four rebounds and distributing a pair of assists. This was the fifth time this season in which Nash would lead the Lady Hawks in scoring.
Both Boykin and Crawford would score seven points; Boykin grabbed seven rebounds and added three steals and three assists, while Crawford would have five rebounds and two steals.
Rice connected twice from behind the arc for her six points on the night.
Farrer would add seven rebounds, while going 3-for-4 from the free throw line.
Nelson was the top player for the Lady Blazers, racking up 16 points and 10 rebounds – both game highs for either team. While Williams would score 15 points and add eight rebounds.
The Shorter bench did outscore the bench of Valdosta State, 24-6, aided by the efforts of Nash and Boykin.
The Lady Hawks would convert 11 VSU turnovers into 11 points, while scoring seven points on the fast break.
The Lady Hawks return to action on January 10, as GSC foe Delta State visits the Winthrop-King Centre for a 6 pm tip-off.