November 17, 2018 / Lady Trailblazers open Classic with a win
VINCENNES, Ind. -- The Vincennes University Women’s basketball team shrugged off a slow start en route to a win in the opening night of the Sodexo Classic inside the P.E. Complex Friday night.
A 13-4 run midway through the first quarter, propelled the Trailblazers to a 66-53 win over State Fair.
With the win, the Trailblazers improve to 5-2 on the season.
The Roadrunners (3-3) scored the first 7-0 points in the opening two minutes, before the Trailblazers got going.
“We got off to bad starts (last weekend) and we were never able to recover, but tonight we did a much better job,” VU coach Harry Meeks stated. “They (State Fair) did a couple things we were not ready for with their trapping in the half court and also full court but we made the adjustments we needed.”
Freshman Reeva Hammelman knocked down a 3-pointer from the wing with 4:58 left in the opening frame giving the Trailblazers an 11-9 lead.
VU would not trail the rest of the game.
The Trailblazers led 15-13 after the first 10 minutes of play and carried a 29-27 advantage into the locker room at the break.
Jhala Henry took a pass from Hammelman and buried a 3-pointer for a 38-31 lead with 6:05 remaining in the third. It was the largest lead of the game, at the time, for VU.
Henry struggled most of the night as the freshman shot just 2-for-15 from the floor, but she made another big play early in the fourth.
Henry came up with a steal near mid court which led to a 3-pointer from Nickelle O’Neil. The shot pushed the Trailblazers lead to 50-43 after State Fair scored the first four points of the quarter.
“That was a crucial spot in the game,” Meeks said of the play by Henry. “They scored two quick and easy baskets so we needed a spark. She (Henry) did not shoot it like we know she can but the one 3-pointer she hit was big and then the defensive play was just as big.”
State Fair would come no closer than six points the rest of the way.
Fess Hawkins scored a career-high 18 points to lead three players in double figures. Hawkins also added 12 rebounds for her second double-double of the season.
Ivanda Hudjakova came two points shy of her second straight double-double as she pulled down 11 boards.
The Lady Trailblazers won the battle on the glass, 41-32, for the game.
“Rebounding is big for us,” Meeks said. “When I see 12 and 11 rebounds from the two players who we need rebounds from, that is what I like to see.”
Hammelman (14) and Jaynice Stovall (10) combined for 24 points in the win.
Stovall, who entered the game leading all NJCAA Division I players with 31 steals, recorded six more Friday night. The redshirt freshman also handed out four assists.
The Trailblazers forced State Fair into 30 turnovers for the game.
“We need to take better care of the ball ourselves (21 turnovers) but it’s always good when you can create that many of your own,” Meeks said.
The Classic wraps up Saturday afternoon as the Trailblazers play preseason No. 3 Gulf Coast State, 3 p.m.
Gulf Coast State dropped its first game of the year Friday night as No. 21 Wabash Valley came away with a 68-65 win.
Wabash Valley, a District P opponent of VU, plays State Fair on on Saturday, 1 p.m.
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