Valdosta State’s lone senior forward Brittney Nelson came up clutch once again to lead the Lady Blazers to a 68-65 victory over West Florida in her final game in the P.E. Complex Saturday afternoon.
VSU down 64-63 with less than 30 seconds left, Kourtnee Williams connected with Brittney Nelson to hit a three-pointer from deep to put them up 66-64.
“It’s always great to see Brittney hit a big shot at the end, because these kids work so hard and people in the stand don’t see that. The kid can shoot the ball, and we trust her to make those shots,” said Head Coach Kiley Hill.
The Argonauts had a look at the end to tie it up but forward Emily Erland’s three hit the front of the rim giving the Lady Blazers the win.
The scoring duo of Nelson and Williams combined to score the final 26 points for VSU.
For Nelson, she goes out a winner in on senior day recording 18 points and 7 rebounds, despite being limited early due to foul trouble.
“I’m just glad this team sent me out on a high note, I couldn’t be more grateful,” said Nelson.
The Lady Blazers used a hot start to kick off the game win an 8-0 run.
Over the course of the first half, VSU extended their lead up to as much as 16 points.
However West Florida used a 22-4 run to close the first half going into halftime with a 32-31 lead.
“We didn’t do a very good job on the box outs. That was completely us. All their shots came off of second chance opportunities,” Coach Hill said about the UWF first half run.
VSU was out rebounded by UWF 28-17 in the first half, giving up 15 offensive rebounds and plenty second chance opportunities to the Argonauts.
The momentum seemed to really swing into the Argos favor after guard Hanna Vette converted a three-point play to cut the lead to two, eventually taking the lead.
UWF was led by Erland, who recorded 13 of her 20 total points in the first half to spark the late run.
Erland also finished with eight rebounds while Argo’s leading scorer Vette had 19 points.
In the second half both teams were neck and neck, as the largest margin was only five held by UWF.
Williams came up big for VSU in the second half, giving the Lady Blazers a spark to get the offense going.
Williams ended with 18 points.
“I feel like I should take matters into my own hands. If I have to take that next step up my teammates will follow me, it’s all about leadership.” said Williams.
VSU’s Ashley Johnson came up big off the bench scoring 13 points and seven rebounds, giving the Lady Blazers an inside presence right away on offense.
VSU forced the Argos to 20 turnovers, and were able to hold them to 38 percent shooting and 27 percent from three.
Despite UWF’s poor shooting, they stayed in the game by out rebounding VSU by 17, and 23 second chance points.
VSU was able to survive the rebounding woes with good shooting, along with the clutch plays by Nelson and Williams down the stretch.
In the game, VSU shot 40 percent from the field and 81 percent from the free throw line.
With the win the Lady Blazers improve to 15-9 on the season and 8-8 in Gulf South Conference.
VSU will finish the regular-season on the road against Christian Brothers and Delta State, before going to competing in the Gulf South Conference Tournament in Birmingham, Ala.