Valdosta State hands UNA women first conference loss

FLORENCE  – Valdosta State used a run at the end of the first half to grab a lead, then held off a late North Alabama rally to pick up a 76-60 victory Sunday afternoon in Gulf South Conference women's basketball action at Flowers Hall. The loss evens the Lions conference record at 1-1 while VSU opens GSC play with a 1-0 mark.

Valdosta State (6-7 overall) was ahead 39-29 at the half and led by as many as 19 in the second period. The Blazers were on top 48-31 early in the second half when UNA made a run to cut the lead to single digits. A basket by Sanqueeta Meardith cut the lead to four at 59-55 with 5:53 remaining. VSU answered with 12 straight points to put the game out of reach.

Niala Harris had five field goals and seven free throws to lead UNA with 18 points on the day. Meardith also reached double figures with 11 points for the Lions. Amanda Haven led the Blazers with 20 points.

The Blazers used a 23-7 spurt to turn an early 16-11 deficit into a double-digit lead in the first half. The Lions tried to cut into the lead before the half with a three-point basket by Meardith to make the score36-29 with 21 seconds remaining. VSU, however, countered with a three-pointer at the buzzer to regain the 10-point advantage.

The Lions will hit the road for its next GSC contest. UNA will take on West Alabama on Jan. 14, with tip-off set for 5 p.m. at Pruitt Hall on the UWA campus.