Dominant first half propels No. 5-ranked Clayton State women past Francis Marion 68-56
FLORENCE, S.C. – January 7, 2012 – The Clayton State Laker women's basketball team put together a dominant first half, and then the Lakers cruised in the end for a 68-56 victory at Francis Marion in Peach Belt Conference action on Saturday.
The victory was the 12th straight for Clayton State, ranked fifth in the nation in Division II. The Lakers are now 15-1 overall and 5-0 in the Peach Belt, while Francis Marion falls to 5-6 overall and 1-4 in the Peach Belt. The Lakers have now won seven straight head-to-head against Francis Marion and nine of the last 10.
"We were ready to play and we jumped on them," said Clayton State head coach Dennis Cox. "This was probably the first time this season we have been so dominant. Our defense, both in the press and in the half court, was tremendous."
The Lakers shot 55 percent from the field in the first half, including 56 percent from 3-point range. 3-point baskets by Brittany Hall, Keona Dixon and Genesis Kelly staked Clayton State to an early 11-point lead in the opening six minutes of the contest. Kelly converted another 3-point basket and a lay-up by Hall gave the Lakers a 24-9 lead with 7:58 remaining.
That was part of a 12-0 Clayton State run as the Lakers increased the lead to 23 points. Tanisha Woodard converted two straight lay-ups off Francis Marion turnovers to give the Lakers a 19-point lead. Kayla Mobley's lay-up at the 5:45 mark gave Clayton State a commanding 32-9 lead.
The Lakers pushed their lead to as many as 27 points in the first half. Hall's lay-up off a Lady Patriot turnover gave Clayton State a 41-14 lead with 1:28 remaining. In the first half, Clayton State scored 20 points off Francis Marion turnovers.
For the early part of the second half, Clayton State did not let up on the attack. The Lakers led 41-18 at halftime, and twice pushed the lead to 27 points in the first four minutes of the second half. Woodard scored on a lay-up to give Clayton State a 49-22 lead at the 16:48 lead, and a lay-up by Dixon with 15:48 remaining gave the Lakers a 51-24 lead.
Clayton State took its first 30-point lead in the contest as Drameka Griggs scored on a lay-up at the 13:27 mark. The Lakers' largest lead of the game was 32 points, 60-28 on a 3-point basket by Dixon with 12:32 remaining.
Francis Marion made a late run to make the contest respectable. The Lady Patriots out-scored Clayton State 24-8 in the final 10 minutes.
Woodard and Hall both Clayton State with 13 points, while Dixon scored 11 points off the bench and Kelly scored 10 points. Woodard accomplished a big career milestone as she became the all-time leader in blocked shots at Clayton State. Woodard now has 144 career blocks, eclipsing the old mark of 143 held by Joya Collier from 1997-2000.
For Francis Marion, Daphne Walker scored 11 points off the bench.
Clayton State is off this next week before returning to action next Saturday (Jan. 14) at home against Augusta State.