In a rematch of last year’s first round of the Division II South Region tournament, the injury plagued Blazers take on Fort Valley State tonight in Fort Valley, Ga.. The ladies kicked off their season with a victory over Trinity Baptist 64-51.
Kamyia Smith, junior point guard, is new to VSU this season but led the team with 15 points in the season opener. Smith, along with freshman Jasmine Mapp, was picked as top newcomers in the Gulf South Conference.
The Lady Blazers are playing short on the bench with a lot of injuries. Coach Kiley Hill says that the team needs more chemistry because the team does not have a lot of experience.
“We’ve got to develop experience,” Coach Hill said. “We are bitten by injuries. We basically have seven or eight healthy kids out of our thirteen. It’s a matter of continuity and getting kids experience and then figuring out what our strengths are with the small numbers that we have.”
In the first game three of the top four scorers for the Lady Blazers. Along with Smith, the other two with 10 points each were freshman, Courtney Sprague and junior, Derricka Griffis. As Coach Hill starts to learn how these players mix, the Lady Blazers will earn their experience.
Tonight’s game will be Fort Valley States first game of the season as they look to get revenge on the Lady Blazers for ending their season last year. Coach Hill noted that offensive rebounds would be the key to netting the Lady Blazer’s second win.
“We’ve got to limit the offensive boards for them and keep them off of those opportunities,” Hill said. “They are going to come out and press and do so many different things, so our ability to handle pressure and our ability to do a good job rebounding are going to be the most important keys.”
Last season the Lady Blazers went 22-8 and 10-4 in Gulf South Conference play and they went farther than any other team in the GSC in the NCAA Division II tournament. However, despite their post-season success, VSU was voted to finish third in the GSC this season.
They won’t play their first conference game until November 29th, but in today’s game the Lady Blazers can show they belong higher than third.