Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

January 3, 2013

Lady Blazers looking to find identity, host Lady Chargers

VALDOSTA — The Valdosta State women’s basketball team is taking it one game at a time.

For head coach Kiley Hill and the Lady Blazers, that next game comes tonight when they host Gulf South Conference rival Alabama-Huntsville at the P.E. Complex.

“Right now, we have to be very solid with our ability to protect our home floor,” Hill said. “There are a lot of games left to play. We’d love to win the league but we want to be in the top three going into the conference tournament, and to have the chance to do that, you have to protect your home court advantage.”

The Lady Blazers and Lady Chargers will meet for the first time this season tonight at 6 p.m. It is the first conference game for either team since Dec. 1.

Valdosta State enters tonight’s contest with a 7-3 overall record, but an 0-2 conference record.

The Lady Blazers lost their conference opener to Union, 69-51, and dropped their next game to North Alabama, 62-54.

“For us, it feels like conference play,” Hill said. “When we played against Union and North Alabama, it didn’t feel like a conference game. We still had some many non-conference games still to play. The sense of urgency wasn’t there. Now for us, it is a standpoint where we are a little bit more focused and we are a little bit better of a team than we were back in November and early December.”

The Lady Chargers (5-7) enter tonight’s game riding a five-game losing streak, losing by an average of 10.8 points per game during that span.

Regardless of the losing streak, UAH still is a     dangerous basketball team with talented players, according to Hill.

“Alabama-Huntsville has struggled here of late, but they are still a very dangerous basketball team,” Hill said. “They’ve played some very good people. They have two first team all-conference players; Jasmine Hammon and Jordan Smith, those two kids are very, very  talented.”

Hammon leads Alabama-Huntsville in scoring this season, averaging 18.2 points per game, while Smith is averaging 15.8 points. Both players currently rank in the top five in the conference in scoring.

For the Lady Blazers, Hill said they are finally getting healthy and moving in the right direction, after starting the season with nearly half the team out with injuries.

As players continue to return from injury, Hill said the Lady Blazers are continuing to figure out their identity, as a team.

“We are still trying to figure out, as a team, what we want to hang our hat on,” Hill said. “As a coach, that isn’t a good thing. But we are further along to get to that point than we were a month ago. We are finally starting to get certain kids healthy, but we are having to play three, four of five kids 30 or 40 minutes. That grind of the season just wears on you.”

One player that won’t likely be returning for the Lady Blazers this season is senior point guard Maylissa Johnson. After tearing her ACL over the summer, Johnson has worked hard through rehab for a chance to return to the team. But Hill says she isn’t quite ready to return and the team is debating on using a redshirt to allow her the ability to play next season.

“May is back on the floor practicing, but we are possibly going to end up redshirting her,” Hill said. “We are so late into the season and I am not sure she is mentally ready coming off that ACL. We’ve had some discussions and you may see her, but I just don’t know.”

While Johnson is out, players like Brittney Nelson, Kourtnee Williams and Kamyia Smith have been clutch for the Lady Blazers.

Nelson and Johnson are each averaging over 14 points per game, while Smith leads the team in assists and steals.

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • 0728-Lowndes practice4.jpg Vikings working out with padded practice, scrimmage on the horizon

    The look was familiar Monday at Martin Stadium.
    The Lowndes High football team’s conditioning practice was essentially a duplicate of the workouts the Vikings have completed throughout the summer.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thomasville_Ryals.jpg South Georgia special for high school coaches

    Phillip Johnson remembers when he had a “Wizard of Oz” moment.
    The North Carolina native moved to Georgia when he was 26 and Johnson, now Lanier County’s second-year head coach, recalls a 7-on-7 tournament leading to the realization that he wasn’t in Kansas — or in his case, North Carolina — anymore.
     

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Nolin settling in as new VSU soccer coach

    Meet Rebecca Nolin, VSU's new soccer coach.

    July 28, 2014

  • Induction Crowd: Honorees were genuine, down to earth

    More than 48,000 people gathered under the scorching sun at The Clark Sports Center for the 75th National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Sunday, including one woman who carpooled to the event with more than 40 other people.

    July 28, 2014

  • Braves trio all business at inductions

    The Braves seemed almost businesslike in their approach -- something you might expect from a trio that won so consistently.
    Managers Joe Torre and Tony La Russa also remained calm and collected throughout their addresses.
    Frank Thomas took care of the emotional side, his voice breaking and his eyes moist during a heartfelt speech Sunday at the Clark Sports Center.
     

    July 28, 2014

  • Cooperstown Merchants: Weekend was a success

    Cooperstown merchants are elated about the exceptionally prosperous Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, several storekeepers said Sunday.

    During an afternoon lull in business, when the National Baseball Hall of Fame's induction ceremony was taking place, area shop and restaurant owners took a quick breath, reflected and expressed satisfaction with their sales for the weekend.
     

    July 28, 2014

  • Hall of Famers thank fathers for stepping up to the plate

    Great ballplayers thanking their dads at a Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is about as original as oil and vinegar are to an Italian restaurant.

    July 28, 2014

  • Hall_Maddux.jpg Hall of Braves

    The weird part was that Jeff Idelson didn't take a lot of time to answer.
    "Is there any word or description that unifies this class?" was the query posed to the National Baseball Hall of Fame's president.
    "The common thread among the six is profound humility," Idelson said of former managers Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa, and former players Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, all of whom will be inducted into the Hall today. "I don't think I realized that fully until I spent time with them in December. It was uncanny to me, for the cumulative star power in that group, the humility among them. I think that's felt really strongly with baseball fans."

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos 1 Story

  • Hall_Cox.jpg Cox’s willingness to defend players stands out to local coaches

    Bobby Cox will be able to add Hall of Famer to his resume when he is inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame today in Cooperstown, N.Y.
    But the former Atlanta Braves manager’s legacy will remain the same to area baseball coaches: his willingness to defend his players.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Valwood_Henderson.jpg Area teams hoping to get over the hump

    Past successes lead to present and future expectations.
    That’s the task faced by pretty much all 12 area high school football coaches present Saturday at In The Game Magazine’s South Georgia Football media day at the Holiday Inn conference center.
    It’s a task that also has the elite group searching for answers as to how to get past the state championship road block in recent years, aside from Valwood’s GISA Class AA crown in 2012.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

Blazers Blog
More