||DSU’s Roden earns 500th win
CLEVELAND, Miss. (WTVA/DSU Athletics) — Delta State University (4-5, 2-3 GSC) used two big second half runs to upend Valdosta State (7-4, 3-2, GSC), 76-46 and give first-year head coach Craig Rhoden his 500th career win Thursday at Walter Sillers Coliseum.
Trailing by two points at the half, the Lady Statesmen shot 75 percent (15-20) coupled with two huge runs to control most of the half. DSU's defense also responded holding the Blazers to 26 percent from the field and no 3-pointers in six attempts.
Carly Keller made two 3-pointers to open the half and kick-started a 15-4 run, while Rhandi Ball and Chelsey Rhodes added four and five points each to help the Lady Statesmen to a 42-33 lead with 15:00 remaining.
Rhodes scored 10 points during a 20-3 run that spanned from the 13:48 mark to the 5:37 mark with the Lady Statesmen taking a 54-42 lead after two Keller free throws and never looked back.
The Lady Statesmen held an early 7-3 lead following a Mary Carol Davis three-point play just 2:49 into the contest and later claimed their biggest lead at 11-6 after a Rhandi Ball jumper with 14:17 remaining.
Amy Duke sparked a Valdosta 12-11 run with 11:28 on the end of a 6-0 run before Ball, who had nine first-half points, made two free throws to give DSU a 13-12 lead and end a 3:18 scoring drought.
Layups by Seneca Walton and Anissa Jackson and a free throw by Rhodes helped the Lady Statesmen claim a 21-17 lead only to see the Blazers go on a 7-0 run to take a 24-21 lead on a Shaundra Owens jumper at the 3:17 mark.
Maylisa Johnson pushed the VSU lead to 29-25 with under a minute to go before a Rhodes layup cut the VSU lead to 29-27 at halftime.
The Lady Blazers shot 57 percent (12-21) and 71.4 percent (5-7) from 3-point range, while the Lady Statesmen connected on 44 percent (11-25) and made one 3-pointer in seven attempts in the first half.
Rhodes fell three points shy of tying her career-high, scoring 30-points to lead three Lady Statesmen in double figures. Ball followed with 17 points and four rebounds, while Keller chipped in a career-high 10 points. Mary Carol Davis also achieved a career-high with eight points.
Imari Simpson scored 13 points and Aliyah Simpson had nine points and six rebounds for Valdosta State.
Delta State entertains the University of West Florida at Walter Sillers Coliseum Saturday at 2 p.m.