Lady Blazers Down Shorter 81-44 for first win of the season

VALDOSTA, Ga. (VSU ATHLETICS) — A 28-4 run in the second quarter and early in the third handed the Valdosta State Lady Blazers an 81-44 win over Shorter’s visit Saturday afternoon at The Complex. VSU improved to 1-2 year-over-year and 1-1 in Gulf South Conference play, while Shorter fell to 0-4 overall and 0-2 in league play.

After a 23-16 start by the Hawks in the first quarter, VSU settled down and beat Shorter 55-21 the rest of the way. Four different Lady Blazers were in double digits, led by 17 points by sophomore Taylor Searcey on 8 of 12 from the field with a team-high of eight rebounds and three steals. Sophomore India Jordan finished the tournament with 15 points off the bench on 5 of 10 from field, 2 of 2 from deep and 3 of 4 from the line, while junior Tamiya Francis had 5 of 6 from field and 3 of 3 from beyond of the arch went with a team-high of four assists and four steals for 13 points. Senior Kendall Bollmer finished with 11 points on four of 10 from the floor and 3 of 9 from beyond the arc.

As a team, VSU shot 44.8 percent for the game on 30 of 67 from the field while the Lady Blazers siphoned a season-high 12 triples with six different Blazers connecting from afar and the team was 9-of-13 from the line . VSU had a 37-31 lead in rebounding, including 18-11 on the offensive end, while Shorter was forced to 30 turnovers and a commanding 33-7 lead in points off turnovers, including the Hawks’ 30 points off 28 miscues over the latter three frames.

Shorter finished 18 of 49 from the field after starting 9 of 14 from the floor in the first quarter. The Hawks went 3 of 17 from beyond the arc for the game and 5 of 6 from the line. No shorter player was in double figures as Lindsey Hardin led the team with eight points – all in the first half.

Searcey scored the first five points for the Lady Blazers with a bucket on the game’s first possession and a “hoop and harm” for a 5–3 lead with nine minutes remaining in the opening quarter.

Back-to-back buckets from the Australian connections, sophomore Kate Tanner and junior Lili Long, put VSU 9-5 with seven minutes remaining in the opening frame. Hardin hit her second three of the opening quarter for a 16-15 Hawk lead with just over three minutes to play in the frame. Shorter extended his lead to 21-16 with a minute to play with a Derrica McCall three and then hit her by a frame on the buzzer for a 23-16 Shorter advantage.

Both teams started the game well from the field as VSU was 7 of 14 from the field and 2 of 3 from the line, while Shorter made 9 of his first 14 shots for a 64.3 average and was 3 of 6 from distance during he 2 went off the line from 2. Both teams had six rebounds while Shorter led 6-0 in points after turnovers.

Four free throws and Bollmer’s first three ended the game at 23 with a 7-0 run from VSU to start the second quarter when Bollmer delivered a spark off the bench for red and black. A steal from Francis and a bucket from Searcey in transition swelled the run to 9-0 and a Hawks timeout at 7:19 at halftime. Bollmer buried her second from distance for a 27-23 lead and then hit a deep two from a steal from Searcey for a 30-23 lead, staying 3:35 at the half. Searcey struck on a layup that extended the run to 16-0, but SU ended the 8:15 drought with a bucket from Tylia Kemp for a 32-25 lead from Lady Blazer, leaving 1:45 at halftime. A steal from Aleisha Curry and a triple from Francis ended the half with VSU leading 35-25 while VSU topped Shorter 19-2 in the second quarter.

In the half, VSU shot 13-of-31 from the floor for 41.9 percent while scoring 3-of-9 from deep and 6-of-7 from the line. VSU led 18-13 in rebounds, including 7-2 in offensive rebounds. Searcey led with 11 points on 5 from 9 from the field and a free throw and four rebounds.

Lady Blazer “D” rose in the second quarter, forcing the Hawks to ten turnovers and ten points on miscues, while Shorter came just 1 of 10 out of field for the frame. The Hawks were led by Hardin at the half by eight points.

Senior Jirah Ards grabbed a bucket that extended the run to 21-2 as the closing seconds of the first quarter left for the Lady Blazers and a 37-25 lead with 8-50 in the third. After a turnover with the Hawks and Francis’ Trey for a 40-25 lead, Francis dumped another Trey for a 43-27 lead, followed by triples from sophomore Emma Martin and Ards for a commanding 55-33 lead across three frames.

Jordan had a great fourth quarter for VSU, starting with one of deep for the eighth of the game to that point and a 61-33 score early in the fourth. Bollmer clinched her third shot from beyond the arc for a 64-35 lead with eight minutes remaining and the strong shooting continued with one from Martin followed by another from Jordan for a 70-35 result with 6:08 to play . Senior Shanice Nelson was the sixth Lady Blazer to sink a 3-pointer in the game for a 75-35 lead and just over four minutes to play. VSU outscored Shorter 23-11 for the final frame for the final 37 lead.

VSU resumes Tuesday at home against Georgia Southwestern at 6 p.m. Fans can access links to live stats, audio/video streaming, ticket information and more at vstateblazers.com on the women’s basketball schedule page.

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