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Strong second half propels Lady Blazers past Delta State

The Lady Blazers and their conference-leading scoring defense continue to cause opponents trouble.

After cruising past Mississippi College (4-15, 3-13 Gulf South Conference) 82-31 on Jan. 19, the Lady Blazers (15-3, 14-2 GSC) stifled Delta State (7-13, 6-10 GSC) in the second half en route to a 59-40 win on Hall of Fame weekend. The Lady Blazers have now won 15 of 16 after starting the season 0-2.

Despite a strong showing the second half, the team did struggle to get things going offensively. VSU found themselves trailing 9-6 after the first quarter as the team went 2-13 from the field.

Still, Head Coach Deandra Schirmer had faith that the shots would eventually fall.

“We talked about in the first quarter, even though we struggled before, that we were getting the exact looks that we wanted, and they were giving wide open looks to our shooters,” Schirmer said. “We talked about having the maturity to keep shooting the wide-open shots and to keep executing because we were getting the looks that we wanted, and that we know that the shots will fall.”

The cold shooting continued into the second quarter as the Lady Blazers finished 6-26 for the first half. However, the Lady Blazers still found themselves leading 20-16 at halftime.

The team found their groove in the second half as the shots began to fall. The Lady Blazers went a sizzling 8-12 from the floor in the third quarter.

Schirmer credits the start of the offensive surge to a play the team drew up to open the third quarter.

“We had a play call out of halftime where we look to get a certain look inside, and we scored on it, and then we scored on the next three possessions,” Schirmer said. “I feel like once we got our wind under us a little bit and once we were able to score, we loosened up a little bit offensively.”

The score, which came from sophomore guard Taylor Searcey, kicked off a 19-5 run that saw seven players score. By the time the third quarter ended, the Lady Blazers had built a 44-26 advantage.

Part of the team’s success came from a strong showing from range. The Lady Blazers went 4-6 from three in the third, doubling what they made in the entire first half (2-9).

The fourth quarter featured the charity line early and often as the game became chippy on both sides. The Lady Blazers attempted just six shots in the final frame but went 11-14 from the free throw line.

Players from both sides found themselves in foul trouble. That included sophomore center Kate Tanner, who fouled out in the fourth quarter. Tanner finished the game with nine points and five rebounds.

Additionally, two Lady Statesmen finished the game with four fouls, including Camryn Davis. Davis is the GSC’s eighth leading scorer, averaging 13.2 points per game. She also ranks ninth in rebounding, averaging 6.6 boards per game.

The Lady Blazers were able to shut down Davis, limiting her to five points and no rebounds.

“She’s a phenomenal player, and for us, it’s kind of like take away what they do well, and what they do well offensively is she gets to work inside,” Schirmer said. “We put a concerted effort to make sure that we were packing it in and not allowing her to get any wide-open books. Credit to our team as well, because once she was shooting it, she didn’t get the offensive rebounds to then put it back up because she’s also excellent at getting her own offensive rebounds. We did a great job of eliminating her off the boards as well as making her take tough shots.”

The Lady Blazers will be back in action on Jan. 28 when they kick off a three-game road trip with a showdown against West Georgia at 4 p.m.

Written by Austin Bruce, Sports Editor. Photo courtesy of VSU.

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