VALDOSTA, GA. (vstateblazers.com) — The No. 15 Valdosta State women's basketball team suffered its first loss of the season on a cold shooting night, falling 56-45 to Georgia College at The Complex.
The Lady Blazers (2-1) were led by 15 points from sophomore Tamiya Francis as she was the only player in double figures, going 5 of 15 from the field, 2 of 9 from beyond the arc and 3 of 4 from the line. Graduate student Kwajelin Farrar finished with eight points and nine rebounds, while sophomore Jirah Ards had nine points, including 7 of 7 from the line.
As a team, VSU struggled shooting all night, especially in the second half it was 5 of 27 from the field in the final two frames. For the game, VSU finished 15 of 52 from the floor for a 28.8 percentage, while it was 5 of 22 from beyond the arc for the game and 10 of 11 from the line.
Georgia College (2-2) was led by a team-high 15 points from Harper Vick on 5 of 16 from the field with one triple and 4 of 4 from the line. GC shot 18 of 50 from the field, 7 of 22 from beyond the arc and 13 of 14 from the line. The Bobcats held a 39-30 lead in rebounding. While VSU struggled from the field in the second half, GC wasn't much better, but it shot better from beyond the arc on 4 of 10 and went 8 of 21 from the field for the second half, outscoring VSU 29-16 for the final two quarters.
Francis buried two early triples to tie the game at 10 with less than four minutes remaining in the first quarter and then after a steal from Francis, Ards earned the "and one" for a 13-10 lead. Savannah Casey tied the game with a trey at the other end. The Bobcats then hit their second triple of the quarter for a 16-13 lead. GC held an 18-15 lead through the first quarter as VSU began the game 6 of 14 from the field with two triples and GC was 7 of 15 from the floor also with two triples. The Bobcats held the early lead on the 'boards with an 11-5 advantage, including 4-1 on the offensive end.
A bucket from Jada Warren off another offensive rebound put GC up 22-15 with 8:30 left in the half and its largest lead of the game. Francis buried her second triple of the game pulling VSU within 22-18. Following a miss from the Bobcats, Farrar gave sophomore Lili Long a great dish to the hole for a 22-20 deficit. Following an offensive foul, Ards got hacked in the lane as she made two tosses tying the game at 22 with six minutes left in the half.
Farrar scored inside off a miscue by the Bobcats as VSU tied the game at 24 and Ards was hacked in transition for two tosses giving VSU its first lead since the first quarter at 26-24 with 3:30 left in the half. Sophomore Kendall Bollmer hit a trey for a 29-24 VSU lead and its largest of the game with just over a minute left in the half. Vick had the answer at the other end pulling the Bobcats within 29-27. GC's trey at the buzzer rimmed out as VSU led 29-27 at the break.
In an almost even first half statistically across the board, both teams made ten field goals as VSU was 10 of 25 from the field and GC was 10 of 27. VSU was 4 of 12 from range and GC was 3 of 12, while VSU was 5 of 5 from the line and GC was 4 of 4 from the stripe. Both teams had 16 rebounds in the opening half.
Vick led the Bobcats with nine points on 3 of 7 from the field with a made 3-pointer and 2 of 2 from the line, while Francis had eight points on 3 of 9 shooting and 2 of 6 from range. Farrar pulled down six rebounds for the half.
Both teams came out cold in the second half, but Francis ended the drought with a layup for a 31-27 lead with seven minutes left in the frame. A triple from Cassidy Markle got the Bobcats on the board in the second half, pulling within 31-30.
Vick scored inside with a nifty move for her 11th point of the game putting the Bobcats back in front 32-21 with less than five minutes remaining in the quarter, as GC opened the half scoring five of the first seven points. Markle hit another triple putting GC up 37-35 with a minute left in the third quarter in a very low scoring first three frames. The Bobcats hit another trey courtesy of Ashyia Willis for a 40-35 lead heading to the final frame.
The Lady Blazers were just 2 of 12 from the field in the third, while GC was 5 of 12 and 3 of 5 from range for the period.
A turnover and layup from Francis pulled VSU within 40-37 with less than nine minutes to go, but Casey answered with a triple at the other end for a 43-37 GC lead. Anaya Cone scored inside for the largest lead of the game to that point at 45-37 with seven minutes left.
One of two free throws from Francis and a triple from Long, pulled VSU within 45-41 with less than four minutes to go. Vick answered with a score at the other end for a 47-41 VSU deficit. Willis hit two free throws, pushing the lead back to eight at 49-41 with 1:36 left.
Farrar scored inside with 1:12 left for a 49-43 score giving the Lady Blazers life, but VSU had to foul four times to get GC into the bonus. Vick hit two free throws for a 51-43 lead with 1:02 left. Francis made two free throws pulling VSU back within six at 51-45 with 50 seconds remaining.
VSU had to foul again Cierra Foster made 1 of 2 tosses for a 52-45 score with 32 seconds left. Following the final timeout by VSU threw the lob pass inside and couldn't convert as GC collected the rebound with 26.9 seconds remaining. GC made its free throws down the stretch for the victory.
The Lady Blazers host the VSU Thanksgiving Classic next Friday and Saturday, Nov. 26-27, at The Complex. Game times are 12 p.m. and 2 p.m., both Friday and Saturday with VSU facing Columbus State on Friday at 12 p.m. and Bentley (Mass.) on Saturday at 12 p.m.