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Hill records double-double, Lady Senators fall in season opener

Hill records double-double, Lady Senators fall in season opener

MORRISTOWN, TN – Walters State's Kiera Hill tallied a double-double on Thursday evening in the Lady Senators season opener against No.12 Georgia Highlands, however, it wasn't enough as the Lady Senators fell 68-58.


With the loss, No. 22 Walters State moves to 0-1 on the season. 


"We're young," Walters State coach Jasmin Coleman said. "We just need to grow up and keep working. This is a good learning experience for us. Georgia Highlands returned all their starters and an All-American, so this was a good challenge for us right out of the gate." 


Hill finished the game for Walters State with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Hill did a good job of getting fouled and executing from the charity stripe, going 11-14 from the free-throw line.


For Coleman, this is the kind of start she wanted to see from her team leader.


"Kiera has come a long way," Coleman said. "She has worked on her body a lot this year just getting in shape. She hasn't even scratched the surface of what she can do. She just plays so hard. She's going to do whatever she has to for her team." 


Along with Hill, Vertonia Bady contributed 15 points and four rebounds and was 8-10 from the free-throw line. Off the bench, Germariona Hollingsworth added 10 points. 


As a team, the Lady Senators shot 18-49 (36.7%) from the field and just 1-10 (10%) from the 3-point line. Walters State was 21-28 (75%) from the free-throw line.


On the other side, Jashanti Simmons led Georgia Highlands with 20 points on 8-16 shooting. The Chargers shot 40% from the field.


It was a back-and-forth affair to start for both teams as Hill scored the first points of the season. The Lady Senators were up 7-6 three minutes in before the Chargers took command and led 12-7. Georgia Highlands upped their lead to 15-8 and 17-9 before Walters State scored the final two points on Hill free throws that made it 17-11 after one. 


In the second quarter, the two teams battled back-and-forth as Walters State tried to play back into it. The Lady Senators cut the lead to 17-15 on an Izarria Alexander shot early in the quarter. However, the Chargers were right there to answer and make it 22-15. 


Georgia Highlands would build their lead to 29-17 before Walters State finished the half strong on a 7-3 run. Hill scored all seven points and it was 32-24 at the half.


After a shaky first half, the Lady Senators came out with a lot more confidence in the second half. The Chargers had a 13-point lead early but went cold as the Lady Senators made their push. 


First, it was Bady hitting two free throws and a 3-pointer that cut the lead to 8. Hill then made a jump shot before the Chargers ended the drought. After the Chargers built their lead back to 12, Walters State rallied off eight straight points and it was 45-41. However, a foul and technical foul gave the Chargers a seven-point lead that would prove to be enough. 


In the fourth quarter, Walters State continued to fight but could not stop the Chargers offense. The closest the Lady Senators came in the fourth was eight before Georgia Highlands pulled away. 


Despite the loss, Coleman liked her team's approach coming out of the locker room in the second half. 


"We're just trying to gel together and understand the Walters State culture," Coleman said. "The first quarter was really the difference. We just need to come out and compete from the beginning. That's something that starts in practice. We just need to keep on working on it. We're going to watch film and get ready for Shelton State." 


Up Next:


Walters State will be back in action in the finale of the Senators Tip Off Classic against No. 6 Shelton State on Saturday. Tip is set for 2 p.m. 


Rob Harvey

Walters State Community College

Sports Information Director

Cell: (423) 779-8880