No. 24 Lander fends off No. 2 Clayton State women 59-57 in Peach Belt Conference showdown
MORROW, Ga. – January 25, 2012 – In a Peach Belt Conference showdown between two Division II Top 25 teams, the Clayton State Laker women's basketball team came up short in dropping a thrilling 59-57 decision against visiting Lander on Wednesday at the Athletics and Fitness Center.
The defeat drops No. 2-ranked Clayton State to 18-2 overall and 8-1 in the Peach Belt. It ends Clayton State's 15-game winning streak and the Lakers' Peach Belt Conference record 28-game home winning streak. Lander, meanwhile, improves to 14-3 overall and 9-0 in the Peach Belt. The Lady Bearcats have now won eight straight.
Lander rode the hot shooting hand of senior guard Jasmine Judge, who connected on eight 3-point baskets for a game-high 24 points. She hit seven of those 3-pointers in the second half as the Lady Bearcats wiped out a five-point Laker lead at halftime.
Judge connected on two straight 3-point baskets to increase the Lander lead to 44-34 at the 11:48 mark. After Clayton State had trimmed the Lady Bearcat lead to six points, Judge struck again with 3-pointer to increase the Lander lead to 49-40 with 8:17 remaining.
Clayton State trimmed the Lady Bearcat lead to three points as Keona Dixon sank two free throws at the 4:01 mark, but Judge once again countered for Lander. She drained a 3-point basket to give the Lady Bearcats a 59-51 lead with 2:44 remaining, but Lander had to hold off a late Laker rally.
Clayton State trimmed the deficit to six points on a driving jumper in the lane by Drameka Griggs, followed by a jumper in the lane by Genesis Kelly off a Lander turnover at the 1:43 mark. On the Lady Bearcats' ensuing possession, Griggs stole the inbounds pass in the press and fed Tanisha Woodard for the lay-up to trim the Lander lead two points with 1:28 remaining.
The Lakers forced a turnover on Lander's next possession, but Woodard missed a 3-point attempt with 43 seconds remaining. The Lady Bearcats' Ciara Lyons was then fouled by Clayton State's Shacamra Jackson with 16 remaining. However, Lyons missed the front end of the one-and-one, giving Clayton State one last opportunity.
Clayton State had an inbounds play with seven seconds remaining, but Brittany Hall's potential game-winning 3-point attempt was off as time expired.
Woodard paced the Lakers with 15 points, while Jackson and Griggs each scored 12 points. Junior forward Kayla Mobley grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds for the Lakers, who shot 43 percent from the field.
In addition to Judge, Janyce Ealey scored 11 points off the bench for Lander, while Lyons and Mukia Myrick each added 10 points. Center Kaylyn Small grabbed 11 rebounds.
Clayton State plays its second straight Top 25 Peach Belt Conference opponent on Saturday when the Lakers play host to No. 15-ranked USC Aiken at the Athletics and Fitness Center. Game time is 3:30 p.m.