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Lady Blazers fend off second-half rally from Alabama Huntsville, 62-59

Posted at 11:24 PM, Feb 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-04 00:12:20-05

VALDOSTA, Ga. ( — A 20-6 first quarter and strong shooting from beyond the arc led the Valdosta State Lady Blazers to a 62-59 victory over visiting Alabama Huntsville Thursday evening at The Complex. VSU drained 11 shots from beyond the arc for the game and outrebounded the Chargers 46-29 in the victory.

It wasn't a walk in the park, however, as the Chargers (3-13, 2-9 GSC) heated up in the second half and the Lady Blazers missed a number of looks. UAH went 16 of 26 from the field in the second half, making eight buckets in each of the final two quarters and outscored VSU 40-31 in the second half, including 21-13 in the fourth quarter. VSU was just 9 of 27 from the field in the second half.

Blazer graduate student Nicole Heyn had a season-high 20 points in the game on 5 of 12 from the field and 4 of 8 from range, while going a perfect 6 of 6 from the line. She had seven rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals leading three players in double figures. Graduate student Kwajelin Farrar added 11 points and seven rebounds, while sophomore Tamiyah Francis chipped in ten points and six rebounds, along with a team-high five assists.

As a team, VSU (16-4, 11-2 GSC) shot 19 of 59 from the field, after opening the game in the first quarter 7 of 13 from the field. The Lady Blazers tallied 11 triples in the game on 34 attempts, marking the fifth time this season of double-digit shooting from beyond the arc. VSU was 13 of 16 from the line and tallied a 19-6 advantage in offensive rebounds, leading to a 12-6 lead in second chance points.

UAH was led by 14 points from Holly Harris, who was 5 of 10 from the field, 2 of 4 from deep and 2 of 2 from the line. Jirah Rogers added ten points, while Alexis Woods had eight points and ten rebounds. The Chargers finished shooting 21 of 52 from the field (40.4%), while they were 3 of 12 from deep and 14 of 17 from the line.

VSU opened the game with five-straight points on a jumper from Farrar and a trey from Bernard for a 5-0 lead with 6:33 left in the first quarter. Francis stretched the start to 7-0 with a layup as UAH missed its first five shots of the contest. Two free throws from Harris got the Chargers on the board with 5:45 left in the quarter. Two free throws from graduate student Mallory Odell stretched the lead to 9-2 with 4:52 left in the quarter.

Following the fourth miscue by the Lady Blazers, Rogers scored a layup for the first field goal for the Chargers in the game with 4:25 left in the quarter at 9-4. Graduate student Delaney Bernard, following a turnover on UAH, hit her second triple of the frame for a 12-4 lead. Heyn drained a trey for a 15-6 lead with under three minutes remaining in the quarter. Sophomore Kendall Bollmer got into the 3-point act from the corner pocket for an 18-6 lead and freshman Taylor Searcey scored at the buzzer for a 20-6 lead through one frame. VSU went 7 of 13 from the field for the quarter and 4 of 8 from range, while holding UAH to 2 of 13 shooting and 0 of 3 from beyond the arc. VSU ended the quarter on an 8-0 run.

Heyn drained her second trifecta of the half and a 23-8 lead with under eight minutes left in the half. A bank triple from Harris was the third field goal of the half for the Chargers and a 23-11 score with six minutes remaining in the half. A great offensive rebound and score on the harm from Farrar gave her the "and one" for a 26-12 lead with 5:41 in the second quarter. It was just the second made field goal of the quarter for VSU, while UAH began 1 of 6 from the field in the frame.

UAH pulled within 28-19 with two minutes left in the half on a jumper in the paint from Woods for her first bucket of the contest as the Chargers outscored VSU 13-8 to that point in the quarter. Off a great offensive rebound from Odell and a triple from Francis, VSU pushed the lead back to double-digits at 31-19 at intermission.

The Lady Blazers finished the half 10 of 32 from the field for 31.3 percent, while it they were 6 of 17 from deep and 5 of 5 from the line. UAH was 5 of 26 from the field for 19.2 percent, while it was 1 of 8 from range and remained within distance, going 8 of 11 from the line. VSU outrebounded UAH 31-14 in the half and 10-2 on the offensive end. UAH held a 9-4 lead in turnovers and 9-5 in points off miscues for the half.

Individually Francis paced the Lady Blazers with seven points on 2 of 4 from the field, 1 of 2 from beyond the arc and 2 of 2 from the line with three rebounds, two assists and two steals. Harris had a team-high five points for the Chargers with the one trey and two free throws.

UAH buried a trey from Alaina Taylor to pull within nine, once again, at 33-24 early in the second half. Francis knocked down another triple for a 36-24 lead with 7:50 left in the third. Heyn followed with a steal and was hacked going to the bucket, making two free throws and a 38-24 lead. Farrar pushed the run to 7-0 with a bucket inside, but Taylor ended the run with a bucket in the paint at the other end with 6:27 on the clock and a 40-26 VSU lead. Off a great feed from Francis, Farrar scored in the paint for a 42-30 lead with 4:21 left in the quarter.

Harris scored her ninth point of the game and a timeout by UAH with 2:30 left in the quarter as it cut the deficit back to ten at 44-34. Both teams were better opening the second half from the field, UAH was 6 of 9 from the field with a triple and two free throws, while VSU was 4 of 9 from the field, one trey and 4 of 5 from the line.

UAH pulled within eight at 44-36 with 1:17 left in the quarter, but Bollmer answered at the other end with a big triple for a 47-36 lead under a minute left in the frame. Heyn hit two free throws for a 49-38 lead on the third foul from Woods. A backcourt turnover on the Chargers gave VSU one last crack at it in the quarter with 13.2 seconds left. Francis' triple attempt from the corner almost went down as VSU led 49-38 through three frames. UAH finished its best quarter to that point, going 8 of 11 and outscored VSU 19-18 for the frame.

A bucket in the paint from UAH pulled the Chargers within seven, but Bernard buried her third long ball of the night, pushing the lead back to double-digits at 52-42 with 6:57 left in the contest. Heyn recorded her seventh rebound of the game setting up the triple and the 17th offensive rebound of the game for VSU. Heyn buried her third trey of the game and then picked off a pass for her second steal and score for a 57-44 lead with five minutes remaining.

Back-to-back buckets from the Chargers pulled UAH back within nine at 57-48 and four minutes remaining. Heyn drained her fourth from range for 20 points and a 60-48 lead. A steal and score from Bullock cut the VSU lead to ten at 60-50 with 2:46 left.

Rogers and Woods scored inside on back-to-back possessions pulling UAH within six at 60-54 with 1:05 remaining. A turnover in the frontcourt by the Lady Blazers with 57.4 seconds left gave UAH the ball. Woods scored off an offensive rebound for a 60-56 score and 38.8 seconds remaining.

UAH had to foul three four times to get the Lady Blazers into free throw shooting with 17.1 seconds left. Searcey made two free throws for a 62-56 lead. Following a timeout by UAH, with 5.2 seconds left Harris buried a triple for a 62-59 score. Out of a timeout, VSU was called for a turnover, but the Lady Blazer "D" didn't allow UAH to get a shot off.

VSU returns to action on Saturday at 2 p.m. in The Complex versus West Alabama.