Special to the Times
VALDOSTA -- The Lady Blazers of Valdosta State University dropped their second consecutive Gulf South East basketball game Saturday afternoon.
The Lady Blazers (10-8, 5-3) put forth a solid defensive effort in front of 1,247 in The Complex , but were unable to overcome the clutch shooting of the Argonauts, losing 56-47.
The Lady Blazers jumped on top early, starting the contest with a 7-2 run. That run was soon squandered and the game began to slip away due to an inability to execute the passing game on the offensive end.
"It was a lack of concentration, our guard play just never seemed to get on track in the first half," said Hill.
Forty minutes and 21 turnovers later Hill refuses to attribute the offensive difficulties to the growing pains of youth.
"Right now, it's right between our ears," said a disappointed Hill.
Five minutes from half time the Lady Blazers stepped up their intensity on the defensive end which translated to success offensively and the Lady Blazers began to climb back into the game, cutting the Argonaut lead to just one before halftime on the strength of a 3-point field goal by freshman guard Traci Newton.
"I thought that it would change the momentum of the game," said Newton of her big shot.
While youth is sometimes the reason a team loses, it can often be the reason it achieves victory. Saturday, 38 of VSU's 47 points were scored by players classified as sophomores or freshman.
VSU continued to trail in the second half until Newton stepped up again, tying the game at 15:41 with another 3-point bucket. She finished with a team-high 13 points, four rebounds and a number of the hustle plays for which she has become famous.
"My defenders were getting caught on screens, and I was able to get open for more shots early on," said Newton.
Newton's success comes at the expense of the inside game, with VSU's centers and forwards being effectively shut down. The inside presence of the Argonauts was ultimately too much for the Lady Blazers to overcome Argonaut center Lyndsay Munroe led all players with 16 points and six rebounds.
"We worked hard preparing for the game, but we never created enough movement to shut them down in the paint," Hill said.
Valdosta State's Candice Ferrell added 12 points, while Courtney Parker added eight points and 11 rebounds.
Clenita Jones added 16 points for West Florida (7-10, 4-3).
If the Lady Blazers are to snap their two-game losing skid they must do it on the road versus North Alabama at 7 p.m. (Eastern) Monday.
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