By Jim O'Hara
ROME -- The Shorter Lady Hawks saw a solid second half comeback and a pair of 16-point performances by Karisma Boykin and Kristin Nash fall by the wayside in overtime when the hot-shooting Valdosta State Lady Blazers handed Shorter a 70-65 defeat in a Gulf South Conference showdown Saturday at the Winthrop-King Centre.
The loss drops the Lady Hawks to 13-8 overall and 8-5 in the GSC heading into a pair of conference road games next week when Shorter visits Delta State on Feb. 14 and Christian Brothers on Feb. 16.
Against Valdosta State, which ended the game hitting a sizzling 57 percent of their shots from the floor, the Lady Hawks found themselves trailing 35-28 at the half then saw Valdosta open the second half with back-to-back three-pointers by Brooke Satterfield and Brittney Nelson – who would later come back to haunt Shorter – that gave the Lady Blazers their biggest lead of the afternoon, 41-28.
But Shorter slowly began to battle back thanks to a seven-point outburst by Nash and with 10:50 left to play tied the game when Lindsey Crawford hit a short jump in the lane. The Lady Hawks made the most of the momentum change and with 6:38 remaining took the lead for the first time since the opening minutes of the game when Crawford canned another shot in the paint to give her team a 51-49 advantage.
After the two teams swapped baskets over the next five minutes, Nash found herself in the open in the left corner of the court where she drilled a three-point bomb that gave Shorter a 62-59 lead. But the Lady Blazers (13-8, 6-7) refused to break and after Boykin missed the front end of a one-and-one situation at the foul line with just over 14 seconds remaining, Valdosta worked to free up Nelson who connected on a three-pointer from the left wing to tie the game and send it into extra time.
After the two teams traded baskets to start the overtime, Valdosta grabbed the lead for good, 66-64, when Courtney Sprague scored on a layup with just over two minutes left and after Ieshia Alexander hit a free throw to make it a one-point game, Kamyia Smith drove in for an uncontested layup against a pressing Shorter defense to give the Lady Blazers a 68-65 edge.
Shorter was unable to convert a pair of offensive possessions the rest of the way and after having to make four quick fouls to send Valdosta to the line saw Kourtnee Williams seal the win for the Lady Blazers hitting two free throws with 4.4 second to go.
Nelson led the way for Valdosta scoring a game-high 21 points, hitting five of eight treys in the game while the Lady Blazers finished hitting 10 of 20 shots from beyond the arc. Williams added 14 points and Satterfield added 12.
Joining Boykin and Nash in double figures for the Lady Hawks, who ended the game connecting on just 37 percent of their shots and were hampered by 20 turnovers, was Alexander, who finished with 13 points, and Crawford, who had 10.