Written by Chris Kessler
With just nine games left, and a record of 10-7, it’s gut-check time for the Lady Blazers.
“We’re in a nine game season, our focus is to be the best team we can be each and every day. It’s the small things can be the big things and that’s our focus. We’ve got to figure out as a group how to make things happen,” Kiley Hill, head coach said.
Valdosta State hosts Union, tonight inside the complex, in a much important Gulf South Conference game.
Union comes into the game with a 12-5 record.
Last week, the Lady Blazers suffered two tough, disappointing losses to Christian Brothers and Delta State.
“We didn’t play well at all, but we played with better intensity, a sense of urgency increased,” Hill said about the recent performances.
The team was plagued by a bevy of turnovers and poor shooting.
In their previous two games, VSU has had 37 combined turnovers and shot under 35% from the field and 20% from three-point range.
“We’ve got to have better discipline by our guards, the post players have to give up their position to keep possession. We’ve just got to be better decision makers,” Hill said.
Union guard Amy Philanderer, who averages 13.8 points per game for Union, will sure be VSU’s main focus on defense tonight.
VSU hopes to limit their turnovers, which should help them get better shots on offense and limit easy buckets for their opponent.
Coach Hill believes if his team can cut down on their turnovers, the team will see their shooting percentage go up.
“No doubt, we end up taking shots late (in the shot clock), and we’re not getting high percentage looks because we’re putting ourselves in poor positions because of our passing.”
While Union is good shooting team, 35% from three and 40% overall, the Lady Blazers should be able to exploit Union’s lack of size.
Forward Britney Nelson, who leads the team in scoring and rebounds, is a prime candidate to have a big game.
“We’ll see, I think she’s due for a big game,” Coach Hill said.
VSU will need to get Guard Kourtnee Williams back on track. Williams averaged just 3.5 points per game last week.
Coach Hill said of Williams and her recent struggles, “She’s been asked to do so much, playing 40 minutes a game, and I think it’s just taking a toll across the board.”
Brooke Satterfield, who is suffering from an ankle injury from last week’s game, is questionable after missing the game on Saturday.
“I don’t know if she can be on the floor or not. She practiced with us, but will her ankle survive during the game? I don’t know,” Coach Hill said.
Union is tops in the Gulf South Conference with a 7-2 conference record, but are ineligible for the conference tournament after transferring from NAIA this year.
A win against the conference leaders would be huge for VSU, who are 3-6 in conference.
It could be the win the Lady Blazers’s have been looking for to get some momentum going as they head into the final stretch of the season.
Tip-off is scheduled for 6PM at The Complex and will be followed up by the men’s game.