BEHIND A GAME-HIGH 18 POINTS FROM SENIOR KAYLA BONILLA, the Valdosta State women's basketball team held on for a 62-61 victory Wednesday evening at Montevallo. — MONTEVALLO, Ala. – Behind a game-high 18 points from senior Kayla Bonilla, the Valdosta State women's basketball team held on for a 62-61 victory Wednesday evening at Montevallo. VSU improved to 2-0 on the year, while Montevallo fell to 0-2 on the year.
Bonilla was the lone Lady Blazer in double figures, finishing 6 of 10 from the field, 1 of 2 from range and 5 of 7 from the line. Graduate transfer Kwajelin Farrar finished with nine points and eight rebounds. On a tough shooting night, the Lady Blazers went 21 of 61 for 34.4 percent, while going 5 of 18 from beyond the arc and 15 of 27 from the line. Bonilla was named the Guardian Bank Blazer Player of the Game.
Montevallo had three players in double figures, led by 14 points from Jordan Jones, while Marisa Snodgrass finished with 13 points and Kiya Sain added 11 points. Kourtnie Smith had a game-high ten rebounds. In a very even game statistically between both teams, the Falcons shot 21 of 68 from the field, 5 of 25 from beyond the arc and 14 of 22 from the line.
With another strong second half, the Lady Blazers outscored the Falcons 19-11 in the third for a 47-36 lead through three frames. Freshman Taylor Searcey pushed the lead to 13 with 9:25 left at 49-36, but the Falcons scored 11 of the next 12 points cutting the deficit to 50-47 with 3:31 left.
One of two free throws from junior Kayla Frey and a bucket from Bonilla pushed the lead back to six at 53-47 with three minutes left. Bonilla then added an "and one" for a 58-50 lead with 58 seconds left.
Montevallo wouldn't go quietly, however, as Snodgrass buried a pair of treys and Jennifer Andrew tied the game at 60 with 25 seconds left. Two clutch free throws from sophomore Jirah Ards broke the tie for a 62-60 lead with ten seconds remaining. A foul at the buzzer on the Lady Blazers gave Montevallo two tosses as Andrew made one of the two free throws as time expired.
Despite going 3 of 14 from the field and 0 of 4 from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter, VSU was 9 of 13 from the line in the frame to hold on for the win. Montevallo had its best frame of the game going 9 of 19 from the field, 2 of 6 from beyond the arc and 5 of 9 from the line for the final stanza. The game saw four ties and two lead changes. VSU head coach Deandra Schirmer won her 20th game at VSU with the victory.
The Falcons had their lone lead of the game at 3-2 on a trey from Snodgrass with 8:31 left in the first quarter. Snodgrass finished the game with a game-high three treys. VSU responded and built a 12-5 lead capped with a layup from Farrar with 5:24 left in the quarter.
Montevallo used a 7-0 run to tie the game at 12, but junior Kendall Bollmer ended the quarter with a trey and a 15-12 VSU advantage. Frey scored in the paint and junior Shanice hit a 3 for a 26-19 lead with 2:31 left in the half. Frey scored her second bucket of the quarter and Sain pulled Montevallo within 28-25 at halftime.
The Lady Blazers opened the second half with a 13-2 run for a 41-27 lead with 5:41 left capped with a layup from Farrar. VSU led by 11 heading into the fourth quarter.
VSU returns home to host No. 21 Lee on Saturday at 2 p.m. at The Complex.