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Lady Blazers Upset No. 21 Lee in Overtime, 80-76

Posted at 1:00 AM, Dec 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-20 01:00:33-05

VALDOSTA, Ga. — VALDOSTA, Ga. – For the second-straight year, the Valdosta State women's basketball team upset a ranked Lee University squad at The Complex. This time, the Lady Blazers erased a 12-point deficit early in the fourth quarter for a thrilling 80-76 overtime victory, behind a career-tying 30 points from senior Kayla Bonilla.

The Lady Blazers improved to 3-0 on the year and 3-0 in Gulf South Conference play, while Lee fell to 2-1 in both league play and overall. Bonilla had an outstanding game finishing 10 of 16 from the field, 4 of 5 from beyond the arc and 6 of 8 from the line, along with four rebounds, six assists, one block and four steals. Bonilla didn't score in the first quarter and was just 2 of 4 from the field in the first half. Her 30 points marked the second time scoring 30 points as she had 30 in the GSC semifinal victory over Union two years ago.

In an entire team effort on both ends of the floor, graduate transfer Kwajelin Farrar finished 9 of 11 from the field and 11 rebounds for her second double-double in her first three games as a Lady Blazer for 20 points and four blocks. They were the only two players in double figures for VSU, but the Lady Blazers turned Lee over 24 times in the contest.

Following the game, Bonilla was named the Guardian Bank Blazer Athlete of the Game for the second-straight game. She earned the honor in the thrilling 62-61 win at Montevallo on Wednesday evening.

VSU shot 44.6 percent for the game on 29 of 65, while going 7 of 24 from range, including 6 of 15 in the second half and overtime as the team began 1 of 9 from beyond the arc in the first half. The Lady Blazers finished 15 of 20 from the line.

Lee was led by five players in double figures and a team-high 23 points from Haley Schubert. She finished 8 of 18 from the field with one trey and 6 of 6 from the line along with six assists, but had seven turnovers. Hannah Garrett had 14 points and a team-high eight rebounds. The Flames shot 28 of 59 from the field for 47.5 percent, while going 11 of 24 from beyond the arc and 9 of 13 from the line.

Last season VSU downed then-No. 5 Lee 74-68 in the only meeting of the two teams on Dec. 17, 2019. Bonilla finished with 21 points in that game and now-senior Delaney Bernard added ten points among returners this season.

A trey from Addison Smith pushed the Lee lead to 59-47 with 9:52 left in the fourth quarter and the largest lead of the game. Bonilla answered at the other end with a trey, followed by a trifecta from senior Delaney Bernard. Bonilla had another bucket and a triple from freshman Alexandria Smith pulled VSU within 59-58 with 7:27 left and an 11-0 run.

Smith had a big layup for a 62-61 VSU lead with 4:51 left for the first Lady Blazer lead since the second quarter. With 2:28 left in regulation, Bonilla buried another trey, breaking a 68-68 tie. After a Garrett triple, both teams had a chance at a winner in their final possessions, but both turned it over as the game headed to overtime.

In the extra frame, Farrar scored the first bucket and then had the biggest rebound and put back of her Lady Blazer career for the 80-76 lead with seven seconds left for the bookend baskets. VSU led by as many as four in the extra session as it outscored Lee 10-6 in the period. It was the first overtime game for VSU since the Lady Blazers defeated Georgia Southwestern 82-69 on Nov. 29, 2019.

VSU was picked fourth in the GSC Preseason East Division Coaches Poll and now has knocked off each of the three teams picked ahead of it to begin the season (Lee, Montevallo and West Georgia). The Lady Blazers open the 2021 portion of the season at Auburn Montgomery on Jan. 2-3.

Saturday's game began with a quick 6-0 lead from the Lady Blazers. A trey from Garrett gave Lee its first lead of the game at 8-6 with 5:27 left in the first quarter in a contest that saw six lead changes and ten ties. The Flames swelled the lead to six late in the quarter and settled for a 20-15 advantage following the first frame.

Lee pushed the lead to seven in the second quarter, but the Lady Blazers came roaring back and took the lead on a layup from senior Delaney Bernard at 28-26 with 3:40 left in the half. Garrett had the answer at the other end with a triple, but VSU junior Abby Rouse had a good score in the paint for a 30-29 lead with 2:07 left. Lee finished the half scoring the final four points for a 36-33 advantage.

For the half, Lee shot 57.7 percent on 15 of 26, while going 5 of 13 from range and 1 of 2 from the line. VSU was 13 of 30 from the field, but was 1 of 9 from beyond the arc and 6 of 7 from the line. Garrett had 11 points in the first half for the Flames and Farrar had a team-high 13 points for the Lady Blazers.

In the third, the Flames extended the lead to eight courtesy of a pair of treys from Halle Hughes, but the Lady Blazers wouldn't go away as Bonilla cut the deficit to three at 49-46 with 3:58 left. Lee ended the frame on a 7-1 run for a 56-47 lead.