VALDOSTA -- Early in the college basketball season, the Valdosta State women's basketball team reached its first crossroads.

The Lady Blazers had a three-game win streak snapped Tuesday night at Albany State. Next week, VSU opens Gulf South Conference East Division play with two road games.

So this weekend, the Lady Blazers had to choose which path to take. And with Friday's 69-53 win over Nova Southeastern, VSU may have chosen the road head coach Kiley Hill wants traveled.

Hill preached two lessons during the last practices, after the Lady Blazers had a 15-point, 21-turnover first half at Albany.

First, "every day you come and play. It's a privilege to play basketball in college," he said. "And when you come to play, you'd better give an effort every time you step across that line. That'll carry over into life.

"They've learned a very valuable lesson the last two days."

Erin Green led VSU with 17 points and three steals, one of a number of Lady Blazers who contributed in different ways. Jennifer Ehlers and Monique Kyles added 11 points, while Lucy Harris had 10 points.

Kyles added five steals. Courtney Parker added nine rebounds, Ehlers six rebounds. Danielle Hernandez and Harris each had four assists.

"Every possesssion ... we stepped up and tried to do things right -- the right things at the right time," Hill said.

The game was tight for the first 12 1/2 minutes before a 10-2 VSU run gave it a 25-14 lead with four minutes left. Harris had six points during the period.

Nova Southeastern (2-4) got it back within eight, 32-24, early in the second half before a 10-3 VSU run put the lead to 15 (42-27). The Lady Blazers led by as much as 20 points (61-41) with 6:25 left before the teams finished out the game.

Jessie Pate had 17 points and eight rebounds to lead Nova Southeastern, which had 34 turnovers. Meghanne Hickey added 14 points.

In Friday's other Shoney's Inn Classic game, West Georgia defeated Flagler, 70-43. Anika McCoy had 21 points, 10 steals and seven rebounds for the Lady Braves (4-1). Electa Johnson added 17 points and nine rebounds, April Martin 13 points.

West Georgia will play Nova Southeastern at 2 p.m. today, with VSU playing Flagler at 6 p.m. today.

In the men's Park Avenue Bank Classic, Friday's game between Tennessee Wesleyan and Selma was cancelled because of Selma's travel problems. VSU will play Selma at 4 p.m. today. Both VSU games will be broadcast on WVLD-AM (1450) in Valdosta.



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