Valdosta Daily Times

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December 5, 2013

Next Up for Lady Blazer Basketball: West Florida

VALDOSTA — Competition heats up soon for the Lady Blazers when Gulf South Conference rival West Florida comes to town to open up league play on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. in The Complex.

The visiting Argonauts have enjoyed a successful 2013-14 so far this season with a 5-1 start. The lone blemish on their record came at the hands of Lynn on opening night, as they fell 54-58. Since the loss, West Florida has reeled off five straight wins.

UWF has seen offensive contributions from an assortment of players, including five players who are averaging 9.7 or more points per game. Leading the pack for the Argonauts on the attack is Tessah Holt with an average of 12.7 points per game.

The Lady Blazers will look to neutralize Holt, who also has 25 assists on the year with only seven turnovers.

In addition, Valdosta State will need to be aware of the defensive presence of Raquel Miller, a 6'-2" senior from Jackson, Tenn.. Miller has racked up nine blocks already this season for an average of 1.5 blocks per game.

As for VSU, the Lady Blazers will look to rebound from their first loss of the season to the Saint Leo Lions back on Nov. 30. As they look to bounce back, VSU will be counting on a continuance of strong play from junior Amy Duke, who enters the contest with an 11.4 points per game average and currently carries the hot hand on a deep Valdosta State team.

Thus far, Duke has shown to be highly efficient from any range, proven by her 46 percent shooting from the field and 43 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Duke has led the team in scoring in each of the last two games with 19 points vs. Eckerd and 15 vs. Saint Leo.

Contributions from the bench have also been a boost for VSU this year, as the reserves have combined for an average of 12.0 points per game.

April Thomas has fueled bench production for VSU with a 14.8 points per game.

The junior transfer's stellar shooting from long range (12-26, 46 percent) has given Head Coach Kiley Hill a reliable offensive option to utilize when the need arises.

On the defensive boards, the Lady Blazers and Argonauts matchup well with only 1.1 rebounds per game separating the two. When it comes to offensive rebounds, however, West Florida holds the upper hand on paper. UWF is averaging 16.3 offensive rebounds per contest against VSU's 11.8.

Through the years, Valdosta State has performed well when facing the Argonauts, racking up 23 wins while losing only 13. The most recent matchup between the GSC rivals was a thriller at The Complex late in the 2012-13 season on Feb. 23, when the Lady Blazers claimed a 66-64 lead on a three point basket with less than one minute remaining in regulation.

VSU went on to win the contest 68-65 to complete the season sweep of West Florida.

Conference play starts in less than two weeks, and now is a great time to purchase a new Blazer mini-plan, which includes six undated general admission tickets, one coupon for a large popcorn, one coupon for a beverage, and a coupon for 20 percent off Blazer merchandise.

Call the Blazer Ticket Office at 229-333-SEAT or the Blazer Athletic Department at 229-333-5890 for more information.

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