kayla bonilla

Juston Lewis | Special to the Times

Valdosta State guard Kayla Bonilla (3) takes instruction from head coach Deandra Schirmer during a game against West Georgia Saturday at The Complex.

VALDOSTA — In the first home athletic competition for VSU since March, the Lady Blazers flipped a 10-point deficit at halftime into an 18-point lead halfway through the fourth quarter as they defeated West Georgia 82-69 on Saturday.

Led by Kwajelin Farrar’s 23 points and 11 rebounds, VSU pulled away late in the contest for its first win of the season.

The Lady Blazers started slow, allowing West Georgia to score the first six points of the game and trailed throughout the majority of the first half.

VSU outscored the Wolves 34-12 in the third quarter, taking firm control of the game.

“It’s always good to get a win and especially against a quality opponent,” second-year head coach Deandra Schirmer said after the game. “West Georgia is a very good team and they’re going to get a lot of wins. They were undefeated when they faced us, so we feel good about that. The other thing that I feel good about is our team had to respond. We were down at halftime and we had to come out with some urgency. I feel like we not only responded, but we put an exclamation point on it.”

VSU outscored the Wolves 34-24 in the paint, 25-8 on points from turnovers and 19-9 on second chance points.

They were bolstered by the play of the several first-year players on the team, including Farrar, who were responsible for 51 points for the Lady Blazers.

“I think they’re exactly what we thought they would be,” Schrimer said of the newcomers. “They came in and they have been high impact players from the jump. In our practices they’re very, very aggressive; very, very competitive. It makes us a better team because 1 through 12, we have solid players.”

Maybe the most solid of those players is Preseason All-Gulf South Conference selection Kayla Bonilla, who finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in 35 minutes.

Bonilla went 6-for-6 at the free throw line and had three of the Lady Blazers’ 12 steals.

With the win, the Lady Blazers shift their attention to a road matchup against Montevallo on Dec. 16, before hosting Lee on Dec. 19 in the final game before the holiday break.

Lee and Montevallo were ranked as the top two teams in the GSC East Division preseason poll.

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