The Lady Blazers postseason run is still alive despite making an early exit from the Gulf South Conference tournament last weekend, falling to North Alabama 50-48 on a buzzer beating shot.
Since VSU lost the first day of the GSC tourney its NCAA entry was in jeopardy and they easily could have found themselves done for the season.
All the finger crossing and hopeful attitudes stopped on Sunday night when the official announcement came from the NCAA which revealed the eight-team South Regional.
VSU received the go ahead with such a strong regular season performance earning the sixth seed of the southern region. It is their sixth NCAA playoff berth in the past eight seasons.
“The feeling is good,” Head Coach Kiley Hill said. “It’s good for the program, and it’s great for the kids. It’s something this program strives themselves on each and every year.”
The top seed Rollins College will host the first three rounds of the tournament in Winter Park, Fla. from Friday to Monday. If VSU makes it through the first three rounds they will travel to San Antonio, Texas for the quarterfinals on Tuesday, March 20.
The first round will be hosted by Rollins College, second seed Florida Southern, fourth seed Alabama-Huntsville, fifth seed Delta State, seventh seed Florida
Tech and the eighth seed will go to Gulf South Conference champion West Alabama.
The first opponent the Lady Blazers will face is the two-time Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champion Fort Valley State Lady Wildcats (23-6) on Friday.
The last time these two teams matched up VSU defeated the Wildcats 50-49 during the 2010 regionals.
Hill believes that his team can ride momentum well and that getting through the first round would be a major boost in team confidence.
“It’s massive,” said Hill. “It’s always about the first game. You get past the first game there is just an immediate sigh and those goes for both sides of the spectrum.”
2012 SIAC Player of the Year Jasmine Birdsong will be leading the Lady Wildcats.
The senior forward averaged nearly a double double this season.
Brittany Ferguson is one of the three seniors on VSU’s roster who is trying to avoid their last game in a Blazer jersey.
Ferguson, who recently made the ALL-GSC first team again for the second year in a row, probably will be shadowing the skilled Birdsong most of the game.
The Lady Blazers will try to repeat history and advance to the second round by defeating the Wildcats again.
GSC entered four teams into this year’s tournament compared to the Sunshine State’s three participants.
Opening round of the NCAA Division II South Regional Tournament takes place at the Warden Arena inside the Alfond Sports Center on the campus of Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., at noon Friday.