Lady Blazers Topple No. 22 Union, 61-57

| December 20, 2016

JACKSON, Tenn. – The Valdosta State women’s basketball team finished their week on a high note with a thrilling 61-57 Gulf South Conference win over the No. 22 ranked Lady Bulldogs of Union on Saturday afternoon in Jackson, Tenn.

With the victory, the Lady Blazers lifted their overall team record to 5-4 and 2-1 in GSC action. Meanwhile, Union dropped to 6-3 on the season and 2-2 in conference play.

Valdosta State trailed early in the first quarter, but took a narrow lead less than three minutes into the game and held it throughout the entirety of the first half.

With a 26-25 lead, Kenya Samone’ Dixon opened the second half with a three-pointer to give the Lady Blazers some breathing room. The Lady Bulldogs fired right back, however, as sophomore Jada Perkins knocked down two key free-throws and then followed with a quick layup to knot the score up at 29-29. Union eventually took the lead with a three-pointer at the 5:44 mark to give the Lady Bulldogs their first lead in over two quarters of action. A slugfest ensued, as the two teams traded blows for seven lead changes in the third quarter alone.

The battle continued in the fourth and final period with four additional lead changes. The outcome looked bleak for VSU late in the quarter when Union hit a big jumper at the 3:33 mark to give the Lady Bulldogs a five point edge. Sonya Franklin delivered a big layup, however, and Madi Mitchell followed with two clutch free throws before Franklin hit from close range again at the 1:13 mark to give VSU a one-point lead. Sara Lytle, who came off the bench early in the game and led UU with 17 points on the night, answered with a layup of her own to put Union back in front, 57-56, with 47 seconds to play, but the Lady Blazers held their composure and returned fire with a close range shot by Samone’ Dixon. The VSU defense held the rest of the way and spread the team’s lead to four before the final buzzer with a series of critical free-throws.

For VSU, Cheatham recorded her first career double-double with a team-high 19 points (7-of-12) and ten rebounds. Samone’ Dixon also landed a double-double, as she recorded 13 points (5-of-17) and led VSU with 11 boards. Franklin was consistent throughout the day as well, pacing the Lady Blazers with 17 points on a 6-of-11 shooting effort.

Valdosta State will finally return home to face the Lions of North Alabama in another GSC contest on December 31st in Valdosta, Ga. The game is scheduled for a 1:00 p.m. tipoff time.

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