VALDOSTA, Ga. - (vstateblazers.com) — WOMEN
Behind a season-high five players in double figures, the No. 10 Valdosta State women's basketball team posted an 89-57 victory over Shorter Saturday afternoon, to improve to 10-1 on the year and a league-best 10-1 in Gulf South Conference play, while Shorter fell to 1-9 on the year in both league play and overall.
VSU graduate transfer Kwajelin Farrar was named Guardian Bank Blazer Player of the Game after scoring a game-high 19 points on 6 of 9 from the field, while she was 7 of 9 from the line and narrowly missed her seventh double-double of the season with nine rebounds. She had two assists, two blocks and two steals in 21 minutes of action. Senior Kayla Bonilla added 11 points, seven assists and six steals, while sophomore Jirah Ards and senior Delaney Bernard each had ten points. Sophomore Kendall Bollmer followed up her career game from last night with 11 points on Saturday, going 4 of 5 from the field and 3 of 4 from range. Junior Abby Rouse had 11 rebounds off the bench in 15 minutes.
The Lady Blazers posted a season-high 89 points in the win and swept the season series with Shorter, 4-0. VSU shot 31 of 71 from the field for 43.7 percent, while going 10 of 24 from beyond the arc and 17 of 22 from the line. VSU dominated the glass again to the tune of a 48-29 lead in rebounding, including 18-5 on the offensive end. The Lady Blazers forced 21 miscues by the Hawks for a commanding 39-8 lead in points off turnovers.
Shorter had 17 points from Jasmine Gaines as she was 5 of 9 from the field and 7 of 8 from the line. Gaines had five assists and four steals. The Hawks, who opened the game shooting 50 percent from the field in the first quarter, cooled off the rest of the game, finishing at 33.3 percent on 17 of 51 from the field for the game. SU was 4 of 19 from beyond the arc and 19 of 23 from the line.
The first quarter saw VSU take command on the glass early, but was unable to get many shots to fall, going 7 of 20 from the field for the frame. The Lady Blazers went 3 of 8 from beyond the arc for the quarter and 2 of 4 from the line. VSU tallied 12 rebounds in the first quarter and had seven offensive rebounds to just one offensive rebound for Shorter for a 19-14 lead.
Shorter, who never led in the game, tied it at seven on a layup from Jamilla Harrison, but a triple from VSU freshman Alexandria Smith and another bucket from her stretched the lead to five, followed by a triple from Bernard for a 17-8 score. The Hawks scored 6 of the final eight points of the quarter.
In the second quarter, VSU went a perfect 10 of 10 from the line and the Lady Blazers stretched the lead to 42-30 at halftime thanks to a 23-16 second quarter. Gaines had 12 points at halftime, while three Lady Blazers had eight points each.
The second half saw VSU wear down Shorter as the Lady Blazers shot 19 of 34 from the field for the half en route to a 47-27 second half margin. Shorter was just 6 of 25 from the field for the second half, but was 14 of 15 from the line over the final two quarters.
The Lady Blazers return to the road next week in a pair of key GSC contests at West Georgia, beginning Friday, Jan. 29 at 6 p.m. Mike Chason will have the call of the game on 94.3 WJEM FM from Carrollton, Ga., and online at foxsportsvaldosta.com. Saturday, Jan. 30's contest is set for a 2 p.m. tip. Fans can access links to live stats, audio/video streaming, ticket information and more at vstateblazers.com.
The No. 19 Blazers recover from its back-to-back losses with a pair of wins over the weekend, defeating Shorter Saturday afternoon by a final score of 97-73.
Today's win gives Blazer head coach Mike Helfer his 497th career win over the span of his 24 years of coaching. Currently, Helfer holds a record of 311-143 at the helm of the Blazers in his 16th year. Helfer hit the 300-win mark as the Blazers head coach last season with an 80-66 win over West Florida on Feb. 27, 2020.
VSU (8-2, 8-2 Gulf South Conference) saw Guardian Bank Player of the Game Cam Hamilton bring down a team-high of six rebounds to go along with his 17 points. Hamilton was three for six (.500) from deep and a perfect six for six from the line. Imoras Agee led the Blazers in the scoring column with 19 points, shooting seven for 13 (.538) from the field with three balls from deep.
The Hawks (1-6, 1-6 GSC) were led by 11 points from both Charles Botchway and Mark Wilcox Jr. The Hawks finished with three players in the double digits for points while shooting 71% from the free throw line.
Graduate transfer Travis Bianco got the ball rolling with a shot from beyond the arc to put the Blazers up 3-0, right before the Hawks answered with a jumper for two. The Blazers dominated from there, going up by a margin of 15 after junior Maurice Gordan converted on a fastbreak lay-in. A three with a little more than halfway to go in the half from the Hawks cut its lead to eight but freshman Ricky Brown answered with a three of his own to put the team up by double-digits, something the Blazers held on to for the majority of the first half. Valdosta State ended the half on a 13-2 run with Shorter's only points coming off free throws to give the Blazers a commanding 43-22 lead at half.
The Blazers went 12 for 37 from the field (.324) while the Hawks shot nine for 30 (.300), as the Blazers hit six baskets from deep (.316) compared to the Hawks lone one. The Blazers saw the line 15 times and converted on all but two where the Hawks only saw the free throw line four times, making three of them.
The Hawks were able to convert on a few buckets but the up-tempo offense from the Blazers made it difficult for the Hawks to defend. Agee sank a deep ball followed by a Jacolbey Owens jumper to put the Blazers back up by 20. Buckets were traded back-and-forth for the next five minutes but a three from the Hawks put its deficit to just 14, which would eventually be the smallest deficit for the Hawks for the remainder of the game. Junior Mohamed Fofana sank a three of his own and it was all Blazers from there. The Hawks couldn't cut its deficit to anything less than 20 and a jumper from redshirt freshman Jeremy Golson gave the Blazers it's largest lead of the game at 30. The Blazers closed out the game to finish the weekend with two wins, beating the Hawks 97-73.
Just like the night before, the Hawks finished Saturday's matchup with an edge in field goal percentage, shooting 29 for 63 (.460) while the Blazers shot 32 for 70 (.457). The big difference in the game, however, was Valdosta State's ability to make shots from deep, shooting 16 for 36 (.444) opposed to Shorter's five three balls. The Blazers saw the line 22 times and were able to make 17 of those attempts (.773) while Shorter saw the line 14 times, making 10 (.714). The Blazers got outrebounded, coming down with just 31 boards as the Hawks came away with 41.
VSU comes back home to face off against West Georgia on Friday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. Fans can access links to live stats, audio/video streaming, ticket information and more at vstateblazers.com on the men's basketball schedule page.