CLEVELAND, Miss. –The No. 5-seed Valdosta State women's basketball team outscored No. 4-seed Delta State 13-4 in the second quarter and never trailed the rest of the game en route to a 54-46 win in the 2018-19 Gulf South Conference Women's Basketball Quarterfinal.
The Lady Blazers won their 20thgame of the season as they improved to 20-9 on the year and won two of three meetings with Delta State this season, both wins came on the Lady Statesmen's home court. VSU head coach Carley Kuhns improved to 6-1 in her three seasons against Delta State.
VSU had three players in double figures led by 15 points from senior Maddy Corazza on 6 of 14 from the field with a team-high three treys. Senior Sonya Franklin , who hit a huge three with 1:06 left in the game, finished with 13 points and senior Crystal Townsend added 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
VSU now heads to the Pete Hanna Center in Birmingham, Ala., for a 1 p.m. ET tip Saturday against top-seeded Union University. Check the link at the top of the page for the complete GSC Women's Basketball Central. The Lady Blazers lost the only meeting with then No. 2-ranked Union this season in a 62-47 setback in Valdosta on Nov. 29 in the conference opener for both teams. Union is ranked 10thin the latest WBCA Top 25.
The Lady Blazers improved to 21-24 all-time in the GSC Championship. This will be the team's 16thtrip to the semifinals and first since 2016-17 when it won its third conference tournament title. VSU has made seven finals appearances.
The Lady Blazer "D" held Delta State to just 32.7 percent shooting for the game on 17 of 52 from the field, while the Lady Statesmen were just 3 of 18 from beyond the arc and 9 of 14 from the line. Quantesha Patterson had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds leading two DSU players in double figures. She was 4 of 4 from the field and 5 of 8 from the line, while grabbing seven offensive rebounds and three defensive stops. Nia Johnson added 12 points on 5 of 13 from the field with one triple and one free throw.
The 46 points scored by Delta State was the second-lowest output for the season and the lowest in a loss for the Lady Statesmen this year. DSU won 45-35 over Lane early in the season. It also marked the sixth time VSU has held the opposition under 50 points this season.
VSU shot 36.5 percent for the game on 19 of 52, while going 7 of 20 from beyond the arc marking a key stat in the contest. The Lady Blazers were 9 of 13 from the line. Delta State held a 40-31 lead in rebounding, but VSU forced 16 miscues.
Coming out of the gates on fire, VSU began the game with an 8-0 run through the first two minutes and change, but the Lady Statesmen rallied scoring 14 of the final 19 points for a 14-13 lead through one quarter.
In the second frame, Corazza buried a triple right out of the gate giving VSU a 16-14 lead as the Lady Blazers swelled the lead to as many as eight in the frame capped with a triple from junior Nari Garner . After Aliyah Herald hit just the second field goal of the frame for DSU with 1:37 let, senior Kendra Green scored inside for a 26-18 lead at intermission.
Herod hit two free throws pulling DSU within 38-34 with 1:22 left in the third, but a free throw from Franklin pushed the lead to five at 39-34 through three frames. In the fourth, VSU pushed the lead back to eight, but a 5-0 run from the Lady Statesmen pulled within 44-41 with 5:29 left.
Corazza had the answer with a jumper in the paint, but two free throws from Patterson pulled DSU back within three at 46-43 with 3:11 remaining. Kitchens buried two big free throws, but DSU's Alondrea Rush buried just the third triple of the game for the Lady Statesmen making the deficit two at 48-46 with 2:10 left.
With the shot clock at one, Franklin made the biggest shot of the season with a triple for a 51-46 lead on an assist from sophomore Kayla Bonilla . Townsend added one free throw and Bonilla added two in the closing seconds for the 54-46 win. VSU outscored DSU 6-0 over the final 2:10 of the game.