VALDOSTA -- Valdosta State's women's basketball team has now won six of its first seven games of the 2005-06 season.
Valdosta State improved to 6-1 with a 75-47 rout of St. Leo on Sunday afternoon at The Complex, in the final game of the Ramada Limited Classic.
"We're happy for the victory," Valdosta State head coach Kiley Hill said. "Yesterday was a tough loss (54-47 to Florida Gulf Coast) to a good team, and we wanted to improve our intensity level. I think we did. I thought we played a good game.
"We're 6-1, I'm real happy about that. But we've still got to keep improving as a basketball team. We're a good basketball team. But I want us to be a great basketball team. Hopefully we can get better each time we come out and play."
Janelle Collazo went off Sunday, turning in one of the best performances of her career. The sophomore guard from Orlando scored a game-high 20 points, making 8-of-14 shots, including 4-of-9 from three-point range. She also had five assists.
"I felt like I did (shoot the ball well)," Collazo said. "I felt like I had been in a slump the last couple of games, and I've been working on it. Tonight... I went out there and didn't think about it. I just went out and shot it."
"Tonight, Collazo got back her rhythm, and scored 20 for us," Hill said. "I was proud of the way she played, and the way the whole team played."
The game was pretty much decided almost from the start. Valdosta State opened the game on a 10-0 run, which included three-pointers from Traci Newton and Nichole Jernigan. Meanwhile, St. Leo came out ice cold, missing its first eight shots, and did not score until 9:59 remained in the first half.
The Lady Lions managed to get back in the game briefly, cutting the VSU lead to 11-6. But then Hill called a time out, and the Lady Blazers regrouped with five straight points.
At the end of the half, Valdosta State went on a 12-0 run, and opened up its biggest lead of the half, 30-9. The Lady Blazers led 34-16 at halftime.
After the intermission, the Lady Blazers picked up right where they left off, hitting their first three shots from beyond the arc. Their shooting actually improved in the second half, as they hit 51.5 percent of their shots from the floor.
Valdosta State played virtually the entire second half with a 20-plus point lead. Their best stretch of basketball was a 9-0 run over a span of 2:07 late in the game. The Lady Blazers extended the lead to as many as 32 points, 71-39, before eventually prevailing by 28.
"Today, the team gave a great effort," Collazo said. "We played hard on defense. We all played our roles, and did everything coach asked us to do, like boxing out, getting rebounds, getting good ball pressure, making sure they didn't get easy looks inside."
Without leading scorer Candice Ferrell (out with a high ankle sprain) and her presence in the post, the Lady Blazers began shooting from long range. The strategy worked nicely. In the first half, VSU drained seven three-pointers (and attempted 15). For the game, VSU was 11-of-25 from beyond the arc.
"I think we did a good job shooting the basketball," Hill said. "We shared the basketball, we took good shots, we shot the ball well from the perimeter."
Every player but Ferrell played and scored for VSU. Carley Peterson was the only other Lady Blazer in double figures, scoring 10 (ironically, also her uniform number).
Marquita Fenn led St. Leo with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
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