The Lady Blazers basketball team opened the season Saturday in the Complex with a 60-53 victory over Edward Waters. Despite a late charge by Edward Waters, the Lady Blazers held on for their first victory of the season.
Leading the way was Western Carolina transfer Brittany Ferguson, who finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Valdosta native Alisha Crawford, a freshman, added 13 points in VSU’s home debut.
Lady Blazer Head Coach Kiley Hill was not fully content with the way his team played on offense or defense, although he credited the Tigers for an impressive shooting night, in which they shot 47 percent from the field and 60 percent behind the three point line.
“It was a ‘W’, it was a win,” Hill said. “That’s my main thought. We got some first-game jitters out of the way. We just did not shoot the basketball well at times. We got up by 12 or 14 and had a chance to completely blow them out of the water. We made a couple poor decisions with the ball and couldn’t put the ball in the hole which allowed them to make some shots which were unbelievable. Things got close but the bottom line, we found out how to win no matter who we’re playing.”
Despite the seven point win against Edward Waters, Hill knows that there are several keys that his team needs to improve on to be successful down the road.
“I think we have to do a better job in our defensive conversion, better job in our defensive rotations, and then we got to understand where people need to be and who needs to be getting the touches,” Hill said. “So with those four concepts that we’ve worked on the last couple days, we can get that across and do that consistently, good things will happen for this club.”
As for Ferguson, she believes she has a few keys to improvement herself.
“Executing game plans better, knowing where we’re supposed to be going, knowing our positions a little bit better,” Ferguson said. “Overall, just getting comfortable – comfortable with ourselves and with each other.”
To start the season, the Lady Blazers will be playing without star forward Brittany Daniels, who, according to Hill, is likely out until the end of the semester.
As a result of the loss of Daniels, Hill and company will be depending heavily on first-year Blazers, like Ferguson and Crawford, to help carry the load.
“We got players that are not able to be on the court with us yet,” Ferguson said. “We all have to take an extra step and make up for the difference.”
After a 62-56 loss to Fort Valley State on Tuesday night, it is clear that the Lady Blazers miss the inside presence of Daniels.
VSU returns to action on Saturday night when they welcome an in-region and pre-season top 25 Tampa team to the P.E. Complex. Game time for Saturday has been pushed back to 7 p.m. due to the home playoff football game.