Valdosta Daily Times

January 18, 2014

Blazers close out road trip at Shorter

Staff Reports
The Associated Press

Atlanta — Lady Blazers seek to end losing streak

The Lady Blazers have an opportunity on Saturday to finish what has been an agonizing stretch of road games off on a positive note. To accomplish the task, the team will have to take down the Shorter Lady Hawks in the Winthrop-King Centre in Rome, Ga.

Shorter is coming off of a big win over West Florida after defeating the Argonauts 66-56 in Rome, Ga. on Thursday.

Shorter pulled off the impressive win after taking an early lead over UWF and staying in front for the length of the contest.

The Lady Hawks feature a balanced roster that can attack using a variety of offensive weapons. Karisma Boykin, Ieshia Alexander, and Lynette Harris are each averaging double digit figures in Shorter's scoring column this season.

In addition, Kristin Nash, who scored a team high 14 points against the Argonauts on Tuesday, is just under the mark with a 9.7 average on the year.

According to the numbers heading into the afternoon contest, Valdosta State edges out the Lady Hawks in a majority of the major statistical categories including scoring, free throw percentage, field goal percentage, three point field goal percentage, and total rebounds. Yet, Shorter leads in offensive rebounds and total three pointers made on the year.

Valdosta State enters the game in the midst of a slide after losing their last three contests, all of which were against conference foes on their home turf. In their latest showdown, the Lady Blazers fell 51-55 in a tight matchup against the West Georgia Wolves in Carrollton.

Valdosta State established as high as an eight point lead in the second half against the Wolves, but the Lady Blazers were unable to hold off a late surge by UWG and were forced to watch their lead slip away in the final minutes.

On average this season, VSU is second in the conference in points allowed per contest, giving up 56.1 points per game. The team's offensive production hasn't complemented their defensive efforts, however, resulting in several narrow losses in low scoring affairs.

In games this year when the Lady Blazers have scored 65 points or more, they have yet to be beaten and hold a 6-0 record. In contrast, the squad's record when scoring less than 65 points is 2-5.

That being said, expect the red and black to adjust their attack accordingly in an effort to outscore their opponents in the contests that lie ahead.

The matchup today between these two teams is the first this season, and only the third in the history of the two programs. Valdosta State defeated the Lady Hawks both times they squared off last year.

Most recently, the Lady Blazers knocked off Shorter 70-65 on Feb. 9, 2013 in Rome.

Blazer fans can follow the game live with live stats and audio, both of which will be available at www.vstateblazers.com.



Blazers look to

gain momentum

 Valdosta State closes out its four-game road trip Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. when the Blazers visit Shorter in Rome, Ga. for a Gulf South Conference

match-up at the Winthrop-King Centre.

After droppings its three previous road games, Valdosta State is coming off a 72-64 victory at West Georgia Thursday evening, a victory that snapped a five-game losing streak in road games in GSC play which dated back to last season.

The Blazers shot 46.0 percent from the field against the Wolves and relied upon a stingy defense that held UWG to 33.3 percent shooting.

Valdosta State enters the game averaging 80.7 points per game while allowing 75.8 percent. The Blazers shoot 42.5 percent from the field while holding opponents to 41.9 percent shooting.

Blake Justice scored 25 points at West Georgia and now leads the Blazers with 15.0 points per game while Jalen Crawford scores 14.5 and Jeremy McKay 13.8. David Murray tallied 14 rebounds against the Wolves, his 11th game this season with double-digit rebounds and now leads the GSC and stands 12th nationally in rebounding at 10.8 per game.



Scouting the Hawks

One of the top offensive programs in the Gulf South Conference, Shorter has tallied a record of 6-8 on the season while averaging 86.0 points per game. The Hawks, who are 3-5 in GSC play, are particularly successful at home, where they have gone 5-2 while out-scoring opponents 90.9 to 80.6.

Shorter features a talented roster that sees five players average double figures in points, led by Dedric Ware, who has also dished out 60 assists, at 19.5 per game. Kurtis Woods follows at 14.1 and Jordan Jacks averages a double-double with 14.1 points and 10.1 rebounds an outing. Brandon Pullman contributes 12.4 points a game and Travis Jones 10.1 while also leading the team in assists with 64.

The Hawks have topped the 100-point barrier three times this year and have scored at least 90 points in six of their 14 contests. As a team, SU shoot 46.7 percent from the field and holds opponents to 43.1 percent. However, the hot shooting doesn't translate to the free throw line, where Shorter connects on just 59.6 percent of its attempts.



A Quick Look at the GSC

Delta State continues to lead the conference as it is now 13-2 overall and 6-1 in league play while West Alabama follows at 9-5 and 6-2. Valdosta State (10-3 overall), Christian Brothers (8-5) and Union (8-5) are tied for third at 4-3 in conference action while North Alabama (9-6) and Alabama-Huntsvillle (7-7) are sixth at 3-4. West Georgia (10-6) and Shorter (6-8) are tied for eighth at 3-5 while Lee (6-7) and West Florida (3-10) are 2-5.