By Chris Kessler
Tonight, Valdosta State Lady Blazers come home to play inside The Complex. VSU, 10-5 on the year, is coming off a three game road trip that ended with a 62-59 road victory at West Florida last saturday. The team was lifted by Ashley Johnson’s 20 points off the bench.
Coach Kiley Hill believes his team is starting to turn the corner and play consistent basketball. “We probably played the most consistent level of play on Saturday. Even though it was back and forth, we responded well to adverse situations,” Coach Hill said. While the team is starting to improve Coach Hill has yet to find a consistent set rotation and will continue to be a game by game process. “We’ve had two or three kids plays consistent, we try to figure out pretty quickly who’s on and who’s off, and find out which match-ups work best for us.”
The Lady Bucs enter the game off a victory of their own against West Alabama, but sport a miserable 4-11 record. The Lady Blazers are 3-4 in conference play, and a home win tonight would be crucial getting them back to .500.
Coach Hill is focused merely on the Lady Blazers doing their job to get a win. “We don’t talk about must-win games. You got to do your job and your role, and that’s where the wins and losses will come from. If we do our job consistently, then we’re going to put ourselves in a position to get a W. If we don’t do those things, it doesn’t matter what (Christian Brothers) does,” Coach Hill said.
The Lady Blazers are undefeated (7-0) at home. The team has been much stronger at home, averaging 60.8 points per game, about six more points per game at home compared to on the road. VSU has also held opponents to 53.5 points a game, six less points a game at home than on the road. “You should be playing better at home. Look across the country, there’s a major disparity between home wins and home losses. To win a championship, you must hold serve on all your home games.”
VSU should be able to take advantage aginst a struggling Christian Brothers’ offense, which is last in the Gulf South Conference in averaging just 55.1 points per game and shoot at low rate of 35%, which is second to last in the conference. Despite the Lady Blazers playing two games in the next three days (hosting Delta State on Saturday); Coach Hill is not worried about saving legs during tonight’s game for Saturday’s game. He and coaching staff are focused solely on getting a win tonight against Christian Brothers.
“We’re beyond that point. The only way we adjust is our practice setting, but once the game’s on you play for that day,” Coach Hill said.
A win tonight would help move the Lady Blazers up in the conference standings, who currently are tied for seventh, and continue to build some momentum going into Saturday’s big nationally televised game versus Delta State.
The game is scheduled to tip-off at 6PM tonight inside The Complex, and will be followed by the men’s game.