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Valdosta State crushes West Alabama in quarterfinal round of GSC women's basketball tournament

Blazers to play Lee in the semifinal round
Posted at 11:55 PM, Mar 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-02 00:04:01-05

VALDOSTA, Ga. — Using a 24-1 run over the final 7:06 of the game, the No. 21 Valdosta State women's basketball team posted a 72-41 victory over West Alabama in one Gulf South Conference Quarterfinal game Tuesday evening at The Complex.

The Lady Blazers outscored UWA 24-3 in the final quarter after holding a ten-point advantage heading into the fourth.

VSU, who improved to 23-4 on the season, won its season-high ninth-straight game and advanced to the GSC Semifinal to face Lee University on Saturday at 3:15 p.m. ET in Birmingham, Ala., at the Pete Hanna Center on the campus of Samford University. VSU won its 15th home game of the season (15-1) surpassing the previous mark of 14 victories (14-1) set in 2017-18. Overall, it marked the 13th-straight home victory for the ninth-longest current streak in NCAA Division II.

For the quarterfinal, the Lady Blazers shot 26 of 56 from the field for 46.4 percent, while going 7 of 19 from deep and 13 of 20 from the line against the No. 7-seed Tigers Tuesday evening. VSU went 14 of 27 from the field in the second half and keyed the fourth quarter run on 7 of 13 from the field, 3 of 7 from deep and 7 of 8 from the line for the final stanza.

Graduate student Nicole Heyn finished with a game-high 19 points on 6 of 10 from the field, 2 of 4 from deep and 5 of 5 from the line. She had six rebounds with four steals and two blocks leading three Lady Blazers in double figures. Graduate student Kwajelin Farrar scored 17 points on 8 of 15 from the field with one free throw and eight rebounds, while graduate student Delaney Bernard added 14 points on four treys and two free throws. Farrar and Heyn were named All-GSC First Team honors earlier in the day.

UWA finished its season with a 15-13 record as second team all-conference selection Tazsa Garrett-Hammett finished with 14 points as the only player in double figures. She was 5 of 8 from the field 0 of 1 from beyond the arc and 4 of 5 from the line with four rebounds, one assist, one block and finished with five turnovers. Bria Dent added eight points and six rebounds, along with two assists, one steal and four turnovers. She also earned second team all-conference honors on Tuesday. VSU's defense stymied two of the top scorers in the league as Hammett-Garrett entered averaging 18.4 points per game and Dent 14.3 points per game. Dent entered averaging a team-high 9.6 rebounding, but had just six rebounds tonight. In the two regular season meetings with VSU, Hammett-Garrett had a combined 38 points, including 30 in Valdosta on Feb. 5, while Dent combined for 33 points and 23 rebounds.

The Lady Blazers now head to Birmingham, Ala., for the semifinal round of the GSC Championship and will face No. 3-seed Lee for the third time this season. The two teams split the season series in 2021-22, with both winning on their home court.

Top-seeded Union will face No. 5-seed Delta State in the other semifinal. VSU went 3-2 against Lee last season as the Lady Flames defeated VSU in the semifinal round of the conference tournament 74-71 in Birmingham, but VSU answered with a 74-64 victory in the NCAA South Region Semifinal in Dahlonega, Ga.