The Valdosta Daily Times
The women’s basketball teams from Valdosta State and Eckerd battled for 40 minutes of regulation and two overtimes Friday night at The Complex, before the Lady Blazers came away with a 67-63 victory.
It was the Lady Blazers’ second consecutive overtime victory. They beat Fort Valley State 56-51 in overtime on Dec. 4.
The win improved Valdosta State’s record to 6-2.
With 2:17 left in the second overtime and the score tied 57-57, VSU’s Kamiya Smith stole the ball and sprinted down the court for a layup to give the Lady Blazers the lead. Eckerd missed a layup and Smith grabbed the rebound. At the other end of the court, Williams made a layup, giving VSU a 61-57 lead with 1:32 left.
A free throw by Smith with 43 seconds left gave the Lady Blazers a five-point lead, 62-57. Eckerd’s Taylor Bestry made two free throws to make it 62-59, and the Lady Tritons went to a full court press to try to force a turnover. But VSU freshman Jasmine Mapp, a Quitman native who was making her debut for the Lady Blazers, slipped unnoticed to the other end of the floor, and Brittney Nelson threw a long pass to her for an easy layup, making it a five-point game once again with 34 seconds left.
Bestry made a layup, but Smith answered with two free throws, giving the Lady Blazers a 66-61 lead with 23 seconds left. Eckerd missed its next two shots, then Rana Thomas was fouled and made two free throws, cutting VSU’s lead back to three, 66-63, with four seconds left. But VSU’s Courtney Sprague put the game away by making the first of two free throws.
Smith and Williams scored 17 points apiece in the victory. Nelson added 13 points, 12 of which came in the first half.
Valdosta State led for most of regulation, including a 26-23 lead at halftime, and held a four-point lead with less than a minute remaining in regulation.
But with 49 seconds left in the second half, Eckerd’s Krystal Charles stole the ball and passed to Kayla Bowlin, whose layup cut VSU’s lead to 51-49. The Lady Blazers brought the ball down the court and tried to kill as much time as possible. But with 15 seconds left and the shot clock nearing zero, Eckerd’s Annie Armstrong stole a pass.
Eckerd head coach Paul Honsinger called a play, and the play opened a hole for Armstrong to drive to the basket. VSU center Ivana Domljanovic ran over to contest the shot, but fouled Armstrong with four seconds left. Armstrong stepped to the line and made both free throws, tying the score at 51-51 and sending the game to overtime.
Eckerd started the first overtime with five quick points. Armstrong gave the Lady Tritons the lead with a layup four seconds into the first extra period, then Bestry got open behind the arc and drained a three-pointer, giving the Lady Tritons a five-point lead, 56-51.
But those were the last points Eckerd would score in the first overtime. VSU got a free throw by Nelson and a layup by Williams to cut its deficit to 56-54. Then with 27.2 seconds left, Sprague tried to drive to the basket. Liga Vente, Eckerd’s 6-foot-3 center, was waiting, and tried to block the shot. But Vente was called for a foul, and Sprague went to the line and made both free throws, tying the score at 56-56. A 30-foot shot by Bowlin as time expired was off the mark, and the game went to a second overtime.
Bestry led Eckerd with 12 points. Vente and Charles scored 10 points each.
Valdosta State will host Saint Leo next Wednesday at 7 p.m.