BEHIND A CAREER-HIGH 18 POINTS AND 15 REBOUNDS FROM VALDOSTA STATE FRESHMAN ALEXANDRIA SMITH, the Lady Blazers posted a 72-55 victory over visiting Auburn Montgomery Saturday evening at The Complex. — Behind a career-high 18 points and 15 rebounds from Valdosta State freshman Alexandria Smith, the Lady Blazers posted a 72-55 victory over visiting Auburn Montgomery Saturday evening at The Complex. VSU had three players in double figures with two double-doubles as it improved to 4-0 on the season, while AUM fell to 0-3.
Smith, a Cincinnati, Ohio, native, finished the game 6 of 11 from the field with one triple and 5 of 6 from the line, while pulling down 15 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end earning Guardian Bank Blazer Player of the Game honors. Senior Kayla Bonilla also had 18 points on 7 of 9 from the field with one trey and three free throws. She scored 15 of her 18 points in the second half as VSU outscored AUM 47-33 in the final half after leading just 25-22 at intermission. Graduate transfer Kwajelin Farrar recorded her third double-double in four games with 11 points and 12 a VSU career-high 12 rebounds.
As a team, the Lady Blazers (4-0, 4-0 Gulf South Conference) shot 43.5 percent for the game on 27 of 62, while draining four treys and were 14 of 19 from the line. After a sluggish start in the first half, VSU shot 18 of 30 from the field in the second half after opening the game just 9 of 31 from the floor in the first two quarters.
AUM (0-3, 0-3 GSC) was led by Jordan Brewster with 15 points on five treys, with four coming in the second half for the Warhawks. Catlin Carter added 12 points as AUM shot 19 of 53 from the field for the game and was 8 of 23 from beyond the arc, while going 9 of 13 from the line.
VSU absolutely dominated the glass to the tune of 48-24 in rebounding, including 21-8 on the offensive end, while leading 17-6 in second chance points and 44-22 in the paint. The game saw three ties and two lead changes.
The Lady Blazers raced out to an 11-4 lead through the first four minutes and change of the game capped with a layup from Smith. The Warhawks used a 9-2 run to tie the game at 13 with 2:32 left in the quarter on a trey from Makaylla Bullard.
A triple from sophomore Kendall Bollmer broke the tie and later sophomore Jirah Ards added two free throw tosses at the end of the quarter for an 18-15 VSU lead. Both teams really struggled in the second quarter as they were a combined 5 of 32 from the field for the frame. VSU made just two field goals in the quarter and was 3 of 4 from the line with both teams scoring seven points. Smith had eight points and ten rebounds for the Lady Blazers in the first half, including six offensive rebounds.
The Warhawks opened the second half with five quick points taking the lead for the first time in the game on the first trey of the half from Brewster with 9:11 left in the quarter. Bullard later buried her second triple of the game for a 30-27 AUM lead with 7:45 left. Back-to-back buckets from Farrar put VSU up 33-30 with 5:52 left and a timeout by the Warhawks.
The Lady Blazers extended the run out of the timeout to 39-30 capped with a steal and layup from Smith with 4:31 left in the quarter highlighting the 12-0 run. During the run, Bonilla got going, scoring on back-to-back buckets as she scored 13 of her 15 second half points in the third quarter alone.
Back-to-back treys from Brewster pulled AUM within 39-36 with 3:44 left in the quarter and later Jamya Tyus scored inside for a 40-38 VSU lead with 3:02 remaining. A big offensive rebound and two free throws from Farrar put VSU up 42-38 and Bonilla scored the next five points for VSU for a 47-44 lead with 1:40 left in the frame. Junior Kayla Frey put VSU up 49-44 with a layup at the end of the quarter.
VSU took over in the fourth outscoring AUM 23-11 and built the lead to as many as 19 with 3:08 remaining in the game. The Lady Blazers shot 9 of 16 from the field in the final frame with two treys and 3 of 5 from the line, while holding AUM to just 2 of 13 from the field, one trey and 6 of 8 from the line for the 17-point victory.
The Lady Blazers and Warhawks battle once again on Sunday at 2 p.m. at The Complex. Mike Chason will have the call of the game on WJEM 94.3 FM Fox Sports Radio Valdosta and online at foxsportsvaldosta.com. Find links to live stats, audio/video streaming, ticket information and more at vstateblazers.com on the women's basketball schedule page.