VALDOSTA -- Valdosta State's Lady Blazers broke into the USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Division II Top 25 Coaches Poll for the first time this season Tuesday, debuting at No. 22.

Valdosta State, 16-2 on the season and 6-0 in Gulf South Conference play, received 72 votes in the poll, up from just 10 votes a week ago. The poll did not include the Lady Blazers' 73-64 win over Montevallo Monday night, which pushed their winning streak to 11 games.

Lady Blazers head coach Kiley Hill wasn't all too excited about the new ranking at first.

"Not really," Hill said. "We just want to win the next ball game."

However, Hill was pleased that his team's exceptional start is being noticed.

"It just speaks volumes about the character of these kids, that their focus and drive are being rewarded, but come Saturday that could all change."

Valdosta State is ranked atop the South Region rankings and should remain there when the new region rankings are released today. The Lady Blazers continue to lead the nation in scoring defense, allowing a Division II low 45.6 points per game.

There are seven teams ranked ahead of the Lady Blazers with more than two losses and Valdosta State is the only GSC team ranked in the poll. There are also no GSC coaches on the 25-member voting panel.

"I don't know if you can go into bias," Hill said. "It's a very political poll. We just want to put Valdosta State basketball out there and let people make their own judgments. If we win that will take care of itself."

The Lady Blazers travel to West Florida, second in the GSC East Division, Saturday for a 3 p.m. tip.

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