BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (vstateblazers.com) — The No. 17 Valdosta State women's basketball team fell 74-61 to Lee University in the Gulf South Conference semifinals Saturday afternoon. The Lady Blazers now will await an at-large berth in the NCAA South Regional, scheduled to be announced Sunday evening at 10 p.m. ET on NCAA.com.
VSU never led in the contest as its nine-game winning streak came to an end in the loss. Graduate student Kwajelin Farrar led the team with 20 points on 7 of 12 from the field, 1 of 1 from deep and 5 of 6 from the line. Graduate student Nicole Heyn added 15 points, while sophomore Tamiya Francis chipped in 13 points. VSU now stands at 23-5 on the year.
Lee had a game-high 30 points from Haley Schubert on 11 of 19 from the field, 2 of 5 from range and 6 of 6 from the line. Julia Duncan finished with 16 points and Anna Muhomen added 14 off the bench.
Lee began the game with a 11-0 spurt to begin the game courtesy of a jumper from Haley Schubert and a triple from Hannah Garrett a jumper from Camryn Grant and a bucket from Macy Woodworth for a 7-0 lead as VSU began the game 0 for 4 and needed a timeout. Lee made four of its first six shots to begin the game.
VSU freshman Taylor Searcey scored the first bucket of the game for an 11-2 deficit as Lee had stretched the run to 11-0 before the VSU score. Heyn buried a triple for a 13-5 deficit with 5:45 left in the first quarter. Lee stretched the lead to 19-7 with a bucket from Schubert with 1:23 left in the frame for her eighth point of the game and then Duncan hit a 3 for a 22-7 lead with 33 seconds left in the frame. Francis scored with one second left in the quarter for a 22-9 deficit. VSU began the game just 4 of 15 from the field, while Lee was 9 of 15. VSU was 1 of 6 from deep and Lee was 2 of 2. Lee held a 12-5 lead in rebounding for the quarter.
Two free throws from sophomore Lili Long pulled VSU within 24-16 with 7:39 left in the half and a 7-2 start to the second quarter for the Lady Blazers. Heyn recorded a steal and Searcey scored off the miscue for a 24-18 deficit and a timeout by the Lady Flames as VSU stretched the start to 9-2.
A turnover on the Lady Flames and two free throws from Farrar pulled VSU within 24-20 with 6:39 left in the half and an 11-2 start for the quarter. Halle Hughes hit a triple, pushing the Lee advantage to seven at 29-22 with 4:33 to play in the half. A layup and a free throw for Heyn pulled VSU within 29-25 with 3:39 remaining in the first half. Graduate student Mallory Odell pulled VSU within 29-26 and a turnover on Lee followed with 2:34 left in the half. Heyn made the Lady Flames pay with score and a 29-28 deficit. Four quick points from Lee stretched the lead back to five at 33-28 with just over a minute left in the half, but Francis had the answer with a floater in the lane for a 33-30 deficit. Lee held a 35-30 lead at the break.
VSU struggled shooting for the half on just 9 of 28 from the field for a 32.1 clip and was just 1 of 12 from deep, while keeping in the game on 11 of 12 from the line. Lee Shot 53.8 percent for the half on 14 of 26, while it was 3 of 8 from deep and 4 of 4 from the line. Heyn had a team-high eight points for the half, while Schubert had 14 points for Lee.
The Lady Blazers pulled within three at 40-37 with 6:56 left in the third on a layup from Farrar, but the Lady Flames stretched the lead back to seven on a pair of buckets from Schubert. VSU went cold as Lee expanded its lead to 14 at 53-39 with two minutes left in the frame, using a 10-2 run since the Lady Blazers had trimmed the deficit to three. VSU ended the frame, scoring the final six points for a 53-45 deficit through three quarters.
In the fourth, a trey from Francis pulled VSU within a bucket at 55-53 with 7:20 remaining, but a Halle Hughes jumper and a Muhonen bucket quickly pushed the lead back to six at 59-53 with six minutes left. Schubert then buried a long one for a 62-53 lead with 4:33 to go. Two free throws from Searcey pulled VSU within seven at 62-55 with 3:20 to play, but Lee ended the game on a 12-6 run for the 74-61 final score.
For the game, VSU shot 36.4 percent on 20 of 55 from the field, while it was just 5 of 21 from deep and 16 of 19 from the line. Lee countered shooting 54.9 percent on 28 of 51, while it was 7 of 16 from rage and 11 of 12 from the line. Lee held a 37-22 lead in rebounding and 28-23 in points off turnovers as VSU forced 24 miscues by