VALDOSTA, Ga. (VALDOSTA STATE ATHLETICS) — Despite not playing the last two weekends of the regular season, with one being the bye week and the other for Gulf South Conference medical procedures, the No. 6 Valdosta State women's basketball team earned the GSC East Division Title and the No. 1-seed in the upcoming Gulf South Conference Basketball Championship.
VSU (16-2, 16-2 GSC) will host No. 4-seed from the West Division Delta State (7-10, 7-10 GSC) on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at The Complex in the quarterfinal round otherwise known as "Super Tuesday." If the Lady Blazers were to win Tuesday, they would host the winner of the No. 2W-seed West Alabama/No. 3E-seed Lee winner on Friday, Mar. 5 at either 5 p.m. in a doubleheader with the men if both VSU basketball teams advance following Tuesday's games or at 7 p.m. in a single game. The GSC Championship game is set for Sunday, Mar. 7 at a neutral site location and time which is to be determined.
FloHoops will stream all GSC postseason games as a part of its contract with the GSC. A subscription is required. Per game or monthly rates are available and can be canceled at any time. Audio for the Lady Blazer game can be found on either 92.1 WDDQ FM or 94.3 WJEM FM locally and online at talk921.com or foxsportsvaldosta.com with Mike Chason having the call. Fans can find links to FloHoops live streaming, live audio, or live stats by going to vstateblazers.com on the women's basketball schedule page. For more information on FloHoops and on how to sign up for it, please click on the links to the right of this story and for the GSC Women's Basketball Championship page.
FloSports is the exclusive home for all GSC Championships. With a monthly or annual subscription to FloSports, Gulf South fans will have the ability to access live and on-demand coverage of exclusive content and games.
VSU and Union both earned the No. 1 seeds in each division this season. Union was 15-5 overall and in league play and will face No. 4E West Florida Tuesday. The fourth game in Tuesday's quarterfinal action pits No. 3W Alabama Huntsville at No. 2E Montevallo. Check back with the GSC Women's Basketball Championship page for results and much more throughout the tournament.
Tickets for "Super Tuesday" GSC quarterfinals and potential semifinal round games are $10 for reserved seats (all ages), $7 for adult general admission and $3 for youth (ages 5-College w/ID) and senior (65+).
All current season ticket holders will have until Monday, Mar. 1, 2021, at 1 p.m., to purchase their current seats for "Super Tuesday". Any reserved seat tickets not purchased by Monday, Mar. 1 at 1 p.m., will be released to the general public. If the Lady Blazers advance to the semifinals on Friday, Mar. 5, ticket holders will have until Thursday, Mar. 4 at 1 p.m., to purchase their current seats for the semifinals on Friday, Mar. 5. Any reserved seat tickets not purchased by Thursday, Mar. 4 at 1 p.m., will be released for purchase to the general public.
Season ticket holders MUST purchase their seats by either phone (229) 333-SEAT (7328) or in person at the Blazer Athletic Ticket Office (Face Masks are required). The ticket office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there will be a limited seating capacity for "Super Tuesday" and face coverings will be required at all times for all guests over the age of two (2) at The Complex.
VSU last played sweeping Auburn Montgomery on Feb. 12-13 in The Complex, 75-53 and 67-52. The Lady Blazers then had their bye week and then the regular season finale series at West Florida (Feb. 26-27) was cancelled. The Lady Blazers are 7-1 this season at the friendly confines of The Complex.
Against AUM, VSU shot .458 for the two games on 55 of 120 from the field, while draining 14 treys and went 18 of 27 from the line. The Lady Blazers dominated the glass, outrebounding the Warhawks 77-55 and 38.5 to 27.5 in rebounding per game. VSU tallied 28 assists, six blocks and nine steals while scoring 71.0 points per game and held AUM to 52.5 points per game. Senior Delaney Bernard led the team averaging 15.5 points per game as she was 11 of 22 from the field and 8 of 15 from beyond the arc. Graduate Kwajelin Farrar averaged a double-double with 14.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. She was 13 of 22 from the field (.591), while pulling down 21 rebounds. Freshman Alexandria Smith averaged 11.0 points per game for third on the team. She was 8 of 14 from the field with three triples and averaged 6.5 rebounds per game.
VSU moved up to No. 6 in the latest D2SIDA Top 25, while it jumped to eighth in the newest WBCA Top 25, both released this past week. In addition, the Lady Blazers learned last Wednesday evening they are one of eight teams from the South Region under consideration for the NCAA postseason in the second weekly announcement by the NCAA. Next Wednesday, the teams who are under consideration will be ranked in order if the NCAA postseason field were announced then.
The NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Selection Show is scheduled for Sunday, Mar. 7 at 10 p.m. and will be streamed live on NCAA.com. The NCAA South Region Championship will be held at the University of North Georgia, Mar. 12-15. Lander, Clayton State and North Georgia out of the Peach Belt Conference were the other three teams listed among teams under consideration for the regional.
VSU head coach Deandra Schirmer is in her second season at the helm of the Lady Blazers. She is 34-13 overall and 26-12 in the Gulf South Conference. Schirmer is 0-2 against Delta State. DSU head coach Craig Roden is in his seventh season and is 115-73 there, while he is coaching in his 31st season overall with a 451-399 record, with previous stops at West Alabama, West Georgia and UTEP.
Delta State clinched the spot in the conference tournament on Saturday with a 61-42 victory over West Alabama. DSU's Zyaire Ewing had a career-high 24 rebounds and 27 points as she was 10 of 21 from the field, 7 of 8 from the line and pulled down a staggering 10 offensive rebounds and 14 defensive rebounds in the game. She was the only DSU player in double figures.
The Lady Statesmen are making their 34th appearance in the Gulf South Conference Women's Basketball Championships. DSU is 60-17 all-time, reaching the semifinals 25 times, finals 24 times and has won 16 titles. VSU is second league history with 29 appearances as the Lady Blazers are 22-26 all-time in the tournament. VSU has qualified for the semifinals 16 times, the finals eight times and has won three titles in 1983, 1984 and 2017. The 22 victories by the Lady Blazers in the conference tournament are good for second-most all-time in league history.
VSU and Delta State have played in the conference tournament ten times with DSU leading 7-3. The Lady Blazers have won the last two meetings in 2017 and 2019 in the quarterfinals in 2017 at VSU, 66-42 and at DSU in 2019, 54-46. VSU reached the conference title game in 2019, falling to Lee, 81-73. This marks the fifth time DSU and VSU have played in the quarterfinal and fourth time since 2015.
The Lady Statesmen got off to a slow start this season starting 1-6, but have gone 6-4 since. DSU did split with Union this season (2-2) winning once in Jackson, Tenn., and once in Cleveland, Miss. DSU was the only team Union split with all season. DSU was 2-5 on the road this season with the one win at Union and a victory at Christian Brothers.
Delta State is led by Ewing at 17.6 points per game and a blistering 14.1 rebounds per game. Ewing is 117 of 257 from the field for a 45.5 average, while she is 66 of 94 from the line (70.2) to lead the team in free throws made. Ewing has 85 offensive rebounds for the season with 155 on the defensive end for 240 for the season. Shaniyah Buford is second in scoring at 15.0 points per game. She is 91 of 214 from the field (42.5) and leads the team from distance at 37 of 105 for a 34.6 clip. Burford is 36 of 44 in free throws for a team-best 81.8 average. She has a team-high 55 assists and 18 steals for the season. T'Kyra Hicks is third in scoring at 10.3 points per game. She is 57 of 150 from the field and 16 of 31 from beyond the arc, while going 24 of 30 from the line. Hicks has 47 assists for second on the team and 17 steals for second on the team.
As a team, the Lady Statesmen are shooting at a 41.5 clip on 411 of 981 from the field. DSU is 58 of 196 from range (29.6) and 207 of 287 from the line for a 72.1 average. The Lady Statesmen are averaging 38.5 rebounds per game and allowing 32.9 per contest, while averaging 63.9 points per game and allowing 63.2 per outing.
Heading into the last NCAA national statistics ranking on Thursday before the cancelled West Florida games, VSU is shooting at a 43.4 clip this season on 470 of 1083 as the field goal percentage is good for 39th nationally and third in the league. The Lady Blazers are holding teams to a .353 clip for 26th nationally and first in the conference. VSU is 128 of 396 from beyond the arc, while it is 231 of 328 from the line. The Lady Blazers are averaging 42.2 rebounds per game for second in the league and 34th nationally, while the team has 760 rebounds for 14th nationally and second in the league. VSU is outrebounding teams by a margin of 9.9 for sixth nationally and first in the conference. The Lady Blazers have 247 assists on the year with 58 blocks for second in the league and 157 steals for 29th nationally.
Individually, senior Kayla Bonilla and Farrar lead the team scoring 14.2 points per game. Farrar leads the team averaging 9.9 rebound per game and has ten double-doubles on the year for tenth nationally and second in the league. Farrar is a team-best 111 of 182 from the field (.610) for seventh nationally in field goal percentage and second in the league. Her 111 field goals made are good for 29th nationally and second in the GSC. Farrar's 9.9 rebounds per game is 32nd nationally, while she is averaging 4.4 offensive rebounds per game for 11th nationally and second in the league. Farrar's 179 rebounds are good for 18th nationally and third in the league.
Bonilla has played in 108 games with 96 starts for her storied career. She as 1,296 points for her career for 14th all-time in school history. She needs 55 points to pull even with former Lady Blazer great Pam Johnson (1,351) as Johnson played for the red and black from 1981-84. This season, Bonilla is 84 of 182 from the field (.462), while she is 19 of 58 from beyond the arc (.328) and a team-best 68 of 83 from the line (.819). She leads the team with 64 assists and 46 steals as her thefts are good for 13th nationally and second in the league.
Freshman Alexandria Smith is third in scoring at 9.8 points per game. Smith has started all 18 games for the red and black and is 61 of 135 from the field (.452) and second on the team in 3's, going 24 of 61 from distance. Smith is averaging 5.7 rebounds per game for third on the team. Ards is fourth in scoring at 8.2 points per game as she is second on the team in rebounding at 6.3 per game. Bernard leads the team with 30 made treys on the season and fifth in points at 7.6 per game. Each of the five players listed above have started all 18 games this season.