VSU women tip off 2019-20 season against Albany State, Fort Valley State

Shane Thomas | The Valdosta Daily TimesValdosta State guard Delaney Bernard (11) dribbles around Florida's Zada Williams (12) during the third quarter of an exhibition game Oct. 30 at the O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Fla.

Begin forwarded message: From: "Valdosta State Blazers" Subject: Lady Blazers Set to Open Season with GSC/SIAC Challenge Date: November 6, 2019 at 3:17:21 PM EST To: "Derrick Davis, VDT" Reply-To: kstrief@valdosta.edu Lady Blazers Set to Open Season with GSC/SIAC Challenge 11/6/2019 | Women's Basketball VALDOSTA, Ga.- The Valdosta State Blazers women's basketball team is set to open its regular season this weekend, as they host the Surcheros Lady Blazers GSC/SIAC Basketball Challenge. The opening weekend tournament features Albany State and Fort Valley State from the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC), while VSU is joined by West Florida from the Gulf South Conference. The Lady Blazers face Fort Valley State first on Friday at 5 p.m. VSU then plays on Saturday, facing Albany State at 12 p.m.

Who is Albany State? The Golden Rams were picked to finish fifth in SIAC East, after finishing 9-19 overall last season.

Junior guard Alexandria James returns as the leading scorer, averaging 11.8 points and 1.4 assists per contest.

Senior guard Ashley Johnson also return , after averaging 8.8 points and 2.4 rebounds per game.

ASU is led in the frontcourt by junior forward Tyra Thompson, who averaged 7.0 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.

Who is Fort Valley State? The Wildcats were picked sixth in the SIAC East, according to preseason polls. Senior Alicia Franklin was named 2019-20 SIAC All-SIAC First Team, after averaging 14.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists last season.

The Wildcats also return junior guard Nola Carter, who averaged 11.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per contest.

FVSU dropped its exhibition match against DI Troy (Ala.) 101-52. Who is VSU? VSU was tabbed fifth in the preseason Gulf South Conference polls last week. Junior guard Kayla Bonilla returns as the leading scorer and rebounder for the Lady Blazers, averaged 12.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.

Senior Nari Garner , sophomore Kayla Frey , sophomore Abby Rouse and junior Germani Abram also return for the 2019-2020 season.

VSU welcomes transfers Cheray Saunders (Nova Southeastern), Saniah Simpson-Patu (Saint Martin's) and Delaney Bernard (Saint Leo's).

Saunders and Patu were named to the GSC Top Newcomer's Squad for the 2019-2020 season. The duo provides experience and immediately becomes the major source of offense for the Blazers.

Quick Facts: VSU faced Fort Valley State and Albany State last season, winning both games. Friday will mark the official debut of first-year head coach Deandra Schirmer . The Lady Blazers look to continue their success at The Complex, after going 11-4 at home last season.

Where to Watch/Listen: The games will be broadcasted on both nights. Friday night's games can be found on Talk 92.1 and Talk921.com and then on Saturday on Fox Sports Radio Valdosta 1150 AM and 94.3 FM. Longtime broadcaster Mike Chason will have the call. The game will also be streamed and have live stats. Fans can find the links for both broadcast information and live stats on the Lady Blazers schedule page at vstateblazers.com.

Up Next: Following this weekend, the Lady Blazers will make their first road trip of the season as they travel to play Lynn University on November 15 at 3 p.m. Check back with vstateblazers.com for the latest updates on all things Blazer basketball.

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