In their first time back in the P.E. Complex since Jan. 6, the Lady Blazers fell 65-61 to Gulf South Conference leaders No. 10 Delta State Thursday night.
The Lady Statesmen (14-1) extend their current win streak to 13 games.
“We did not seize the opportunities that we were given on a consistent basis,” Head coach Kiley Hill said.
Despite Goliath, in the form of Delta State, pulling out the win, David did everything in its power to keep this game tight, battling against DSU’s scoring spurts.
VSU (9-6) held a four point lead in the first half before allowing DSU to finish out the half on a 16-4 run, the Lady Statesmen led 28-20 at halftime.
DSU forward Senaca Walton was held to just 5 points on 2-7 shooting in the first half. Walton leads the team in scoring and rebounding. Lady Statesmen Chelsey Rhodes led all scorers with 11 points.
VSU shook off the bad ending to the first half by closing the gap to just one point early in the second half.
“We made some mistakes in the first half which allowed them to go into the half with an 8 point lead. We made some adjustments at halftime and we did a pretty good job,” Hill said.
However, as VSU was correcting some of its mistakes, so did Walton.
Walton found her groove in the second and became the dominating presence that most are accustom to. She scored 19 of her team’s 37 points in the second half.
Soon another offensive run pushed DSU’s lead to its largest of the contest, a 50-39 advantage.
The Lady Blazers fought back again, cutting the down deficit to just six points, before DSU bounced back to a 10-point lead with 3:26 left in regulation.
Just as it seemed like a sure loss for VSU, transfer guard April Thomas came through in the clutch, scoring nine straight points. With the help of Thomas, the Lady Blazers were behind 61-58 with 30 seconds remaining.
DSU’s Shanae Govan, missed her ensuing one and one free throw, which gave VSU a chance to tie the game in a one possession game.
VSU opted going for the quick two however, but freshman Rashaundra Owens missed the attempt.
“We talked about trying to get the ball into the paint situation… we were trying to draw a foul and get to the free throw line, and try to use the clock as our friend and get a defensive stop. We just didn’t capitalize,” Hill said.
Rhodes’s two made free throws sealed the victory, handing the Lady Blazers their first home loss this season.
Thomas had a team-high 20 points. Owens finished with 11 points and 4 rebounds. Maggie Davis added with 10 points and 7 rebounds.
Rhodes had a big night, topping all scorers with 25 points, on 3-9 shooting from behind the arc. Walton added 19 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks.
VSU will have another chance at home on Saturday against Christian Brothers. Saturday’s game begins at 6 p.m. in the PE Complex.
Note: Saturday’s game is the annual pink out game. Fans are encouraged to wear pink in support of breast cancer awareness.
This article is written by Neil Frawley.