Top-ranked Clayton State women drop first contest of the season 63-51 against Tusculum
DAHLOENGA, Ga. – November 25, 2011 – After winning its first three games of the 2011-12 season, the Clayton State Laker women's basketball team suffered its first defeat of the season on Friday, falling 63-51 against a determined Tusculum squad in the X-Trem Thanksgiving Classic at North Georgia.
The top-ranked team in Division II, Clayton State falls to 3-1 overall. Tusculum, meanwhile, improves to 2-0 overall. The 51 points was the lowest offensive output for the Lakers since the 2008-09 season, and Clayton State head coach Dennis Cox summed it up very simply with the defeat.
"We got beat because they (Tusculum) played much harder than we did," said Cox. "We did not answer the bell with our intensity, defensive effort, offensive effort and rebounding. It's disappointing we got out-worked and we are just not hungry right now.
"We need to get back to playing hard and with a sense of urgency."
Clayton State struggled offensively, shooting only 30 percent from the field and 24 percent from 3-point range. In addition, Tusculum out-rebounded the Lakers 47-38.
The Lady Pioneers wiped out an early five-point Clayton State lead with a 14-0 run midway through the first half. Jama Hammontree drained two straight 3-point baskets to give the Lady Pioneers a four-point lead. Another 3-point basket by Kendal Baxter gave Tusculum a 24-15 lead at the 5:51 mark.
Clayton State cut the lead to two points on two free throws each by Brandice Howard and Brittany Hall. But Tusculum answered with the last six points of the half to lead 32-24 at halftime.
The Lakers cut the lead to three times on four occasions in the early part of the second half. Shacamra Jackson's lay-up trimmed the Lady Pioneer lead to 43-40 with 12:10 remaining. That, however, was as close as Clayton State would get.
Tusculum responded with a 13-0 run to put the game out of reach. April McCann scored three lay-ups during the rally for the Lady Pioneers, including one that gave Tusculum a 56-40 lead at the 3:54 mark. The closest that Clayton State would get in the final minutes was eight points.
Hall paced the Lakers with 12 points, while Jackson recorded a double-double with 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Tanisha Woodard added eight points and seven steals.
McCann paced Tusculum with 15 points, followed by Linda Aughburns and Staci Hicks with 10 points each. Baxter added nine points for the Lady Pioneers.
Clayton State plays Brenau in the X-Trem Thanksgiving Classic on Saturday at 2 p.m. at North Georgia.