VALDOSTA, Ga. (VSU ATHLETICS) — A 28-4 run in the second quarter and early part of the third, sparked the Valdosta State Lady Blazers to an 81-44 victory over visiting Shorter Saturday afternoon at The Complex. VSU improved to 1-2 on the year and 1-1 in Gulf South Conference play, while Shorter fell to 0-4 overall and 0-2 in league play.
Following a 23-16 start by the Hawks in the first quarter, VSU settled down and outscored Shorter 55-21 the rest of the way. Four different Lady Blazers were in double figures led by 17 points from sophomore Taylor Searcey on 8 of 12 from the field with a team-high eight rebounds and three steals. Sophomore India Jordan finished with 15 points off the bench on 5 of 10 from the field, 2 of 2 from deep and 3 of 4 from the line, while junior Tamiya Francis went 5 of 6 from the field and 3 of 3 from beyond the arc with a team-high four assists and four steals for 13 points. Senior Kendall Bollmer finished with 11 points on four of 10 from the floor and 3 of 9 from beyond the arc.
As a team, VSU shot 44.8 percent for the game on 30 of 67 from the field, while the Lady Blazers drained a season-high 12 triples with six different Blazers connecting from long distance and the team was 9 of 13 from the line. VSU held a 37-31 lead in rebounding, including 18-11 on the offensive end, while forcing Shorter into 30 turnovers and a commanding 33-7 lead in points off turnovers, including 30 points off 28 miscues by the Hawks over the final three frames.
Shorter finished 18 of 49 from the field, after starting 9 of 14 from the floor in the first quarter. The Hawks went 3 of 17 from beyond the arc for the game and 5 of 6 from the line. No Shorter player was in double figures, as Lindsey Hardin led the team with eight points – all coming in the first half.
Searcey scored the first five points for the Lady Blazers with a bucket on the first possession of the game and a "hoop and harm" for a 5-3 lead with nine minutes left in the opening quarter.
Back-to-back buckets from the Australian connections, in sophomore Kate Tanner and junior Lili Long, put VSU up 9-5 with seven minutes left in the opening frame. Hardin hit her second trey of the opening quarter for a 16-15 Hawk lead with just over three minutes to play in the frame. Shorter extended its lead to 21-16 with one minute to play on a triple from Derrica McCall and then she scored at the buzzer for a 23-16 Shorter advantage through one frame.
Both teams began the game well from the field as VSU was 7 of 14 from the field and 2 of 3 from the line, while Shorter made 9 of its first 14 shots for a 64.3 average and was 3 of 6 from distance, while going 2 of 2 from the line. Both teams had six rebounds, while Shorter led 6-0 in points off turnovers.
Four free throws and the first triple from Bollmer tied the game at 23 with a 7-0 run by VSU to begin the second quarter as Bollmer provided a spark off the bench for the red and black. A steal from Francis and a bucket from Searcey in transition swelled the run to 9-0 and a timeout by the Hawks with 7:19 to go in the half. Bollmer buried her second one from distance for a 27-23 lead and then hit a deep two off a steal by Searcey for a 30-23 lead with 3:35 remaining in the half. Searcey scored on a driving layup extending the run to 16-0, but SU ended the drought of 8:15 with a bucket from Tylia Kemp for a 32-25 Lady Blazer lead with 1:45 remaining in the half. A steal from Aleisha Curry and a triple from Francis ended the half with VSU leading 35-25, as VSU outscored Shorter 19-2 in the second quarter.
For the half, VSU shot 13 of 31 from the floor for 41.9 percent, while going 3 of 9 from deep and 6 of 7 from the line. VSU led 18-13 in rebounding, including 7-2 in offensive rebounds. Searcey led the way with 11 points on 5 of 9 from the field and one free throw to go along with four rebounds.
The Lady Blazer "D" stepped up in the second quarter, forcing the Hawks into ten turnovers and ten points on the miscues, while Shorter was just 1 of 10 from the field for the frame. The Hawks were led by eight points from Hardin for the half.
Senior Jirah Ards scored a bucket extending the run to 21-2, since the final seconds of the first quarter for the Lady Blazers and a 37-25 lead with 8:50 left in the third. Following a turnover on the Hawks and trey from Francis for a 40-25 lead, Francis then drained another trey for a 43-27 lead followed by triples from sophomore Emma Martin, and Ards for a commanding 55-33 lead through three frames.
Jordan had a huge fourth quarter for VSU as she began with one from deep for the eighth of the game to that point and a 61-33 score early in the fourth. Bollmer drained her third from beyond the arc for a 64-35 lead with eight minutes to go and the strong shooting continued with one from Martin, followed by another one from Jordan for a 70-35 score with 6:08 to play. Senior Shanice Nelson became the sixth different Lady Blazer to drain a 3-pointer in the game for a 75-35 lead and just over four minutes to play. VSU outscored Shorter 23-11 for the final frame for the final margin of 37.
VSU continues at home on Tuesday versus Georgia Southwestern at 6 p.m. Fans can access links to live stats, audio/video streaming, ticket information and more at vstateblazers.com on the women's basketball schedule page.