No. 5 Clayton State women take 55-54 thriller at in-state rival Columbus State
COLUMBUS, Ga. – December 19, 2011 – When the Clayton State Laker women's basketball team needed it the most, it turned to Tanisha Woodard down the stretch on Monday.
And she delivered.
Woodard scored a season-high 14 points and made some key steals defensively late to propel Clayton State to a thrilling 55-54 victory over Columbus State in Peach Belt Conference action at the Lumpkin Center. The victory is the seventh straight for No. 5-ranked Clayton State, which improves to 10-1 overall and 2-0 in the Peach Belt.
Columbus State falls to 5-5 overall, 1-1 in the Peach Belt.
"We survived," said Clayton State head coach Dennis Cox. "Obviously we didn't shoot the ball well, but we rose to the occasion defensively down the stretch. Considering I was very disappointed with the effort, we pulled it out."
Clayton State had one of its poorer shooting performances of the season. The Lakers shot only 34 percent from the field, including only 16 percent (3-for-19) from 3-point range. On top of that, Clayton State was meager 8-for-23 from the free throw line.
The Lakers didn't have the intensity in the second half compared to the determined Lady Cougars. Columbus State went on an 11-1 run to take a seven-point lead as Lauren Grisham nailed two straight 3-point baskets, followed by a 3-point play by Dominique Gilbert. That gave the Lady Cougars a 45-38 lead at the 10:16 mark.
A 3-point basket by Marina DeFoor gave Columbus State a 50-43 lead with 7:16 remaining.
However, Clayton State finished the game on a 12-5 run. Woodard scored twice in transition, and a jump shot by Jessica Covington trimmed the Columbus State lead to 53-49 at the 4:02 mark. Woodard followed with two more transition lay-ups off Lady Cougar turnovers, and Clayton State had rallied to tie it 53-53 with 2:50 remaining.
After Columbus State took a one-point lead, Clayton State's Shacamra Jackson scored on a put-back with 28 seconds remaining. The Lakers then forced a Lady Cougar turnover with eight seconds remaining.
However, Clayton State's Drameka Griggs missed the front end of a 1-and-1, but she recovered and made the steal from behind on Gilbert as time expired.
"We just didn't have the intensity at the start of the second half, but we sure picked it up in the end." Cox said. "Woodard was huge down the stretch when we needed her to be the most, and we did a very good job on the glass against a good rebounding team."
Jackson scored nine points with five rebounds and two blocks for Clayton State, while reserve center Shannon Smith scored eight points with nine rebounds. She scored six points with eight rebounds in the first half as the Lakers led 27-22 at halftime.
Gilbert paced Columbus State with 17 points.
Clayton State is off for the holiday break. The Lakers return to action on Dec. 29-30 with the Heritage Bank Holiday Classic at Clayton State.