CARROLLTON, Ga. - A furious defensive effort in the second half on Thursday evening at The Coliseum fell just short for the West Georgia Wolves, as the visiting Valdosta State Blazers hung on for a 70-67 victory over the homestanding Wolves.
Head coach Scott Groninger and his team, trailing 42-31 at the half, put together a masterful second half, allowing the Blazers to shoot just 20 percent from the field in the final period. But in the end, the Blazers hit 16-of-23 from the free-throw line in the period, keeping the hard-charging Wolves at bay.
In the first quarter, the two teams battled back-and-forth for the first five minutes of the period, but in the final five minutes, Valdosta State took control of the half. The final five minutes saw VSU go from a tie at 6-6 to a 16-6 run that resulted in West Georgia trailing by a 22-12 count at the end of the period. In the second quarter, the Blazers pushed their advantage out to as many as 15 points before the Wolves trimmed the lead down to 11 at the break.
In the second half, Valdosta State kept their advantage in double-digits for the bulk of the third quarter, and the lead extended to 17 at the 6:47 mark with VSU leading 53-36. But at that point, the Wolves began to cut into the Blazer lead and slowly claw back into the game. As the third quarter came to an end, the Wolves were in striking distance, trailing by just seven at 62-55.
The VSU lead continued to disappear in the second half, and with 2:59 remaining in the game, a three-point play from Aysha Harris cut the Wolves lead to three at 68-65. Over the next three minutes, both teams were cold from the field, as neither team scored until a free-throw from Kenya Samone' Dixon gave the Blazers a 69-65 advantage with 22 seconds left in the contest.
Senior Kayla Carter led four Wolves in double-figures on the night, scoring 15 points with four assists and three steals. Kilah Nixon and Harris each added 14 points to the tally and A'Kia Harris picked up fifth double-double of the season with 11 points and 12 rebounds. That makes three-straight games with a double-double for Harris and four out of the last five.
West Georgia falls to 13-10 on the year and 9-7 in Gulf South Conference play while VSU moves to 17-7 overall and 11-5 against league competition. The Wolves will host West Florida on Saturday afternoon, with the first tip scheduled for 2 p.m. at The Coliseum.