No. 5 Clayton State women roll 85-50, clinch eighth straight 20-victory season
MONTEVALLO, Ala. – February 4, 2012 – When Dennis Cox took over as head coach of the Clayton State Laker women's basketball team in 2004, the Lakers had never experienced a 20-victory season. Now, it's become the expected norm.
Behind two stellar games from seniors Brittany Hall and Tanisha Woodard, the Lakers rolled to an impressive 85-50 victory in Peach Belt Conference action at Montevallo on Saturday. The victory improves Clayton State, ranked No. 5 in the latest USA Today/ESPN Division II Top 25 Coaches' Poll, to 20-2 overall and 10-1 in the Peach Belt.
In addition, it also marks the eighth straight 20-victory season for the Lakers under Cox.
"20 victories is still a benchmark for any program," said Cox. "But it's not about victories for us, it's about championships. That is why every game from here on out is critical."
The Lakers easily handled a Montevallo squad that had previously lost to No. 19 Lander by only two points and No. 16 USC Aiken by only five points – both at home. However, Hall and Woodard proved to be the difference-makers for the Lakers.
Hall scored a game-high 20 points on five 3-point baskets for Clayton State, while Woodard broke her own Laker single-game assist record with 14 assists.
"This has been a tough place for us to play since Montevallo joined the league two years ago," Cox said. "But our two senior captains had tremendous games for us. Brittany and Tanisha each had unbelievable games."
Hall scored 17 of her points in the first half as Clayton State pulled away early from the Falcons. It started with a 21-2 run as the Lakers wiped out an early 4-2 Montevallo lead and built a 23-6 lead with 10:26 remaining.
Montevallo trimmed the lead to 11 points, but the Lakers answered with a 9-0 run and Hall nailed a 3-point basket and Keona Dixon hit for two 3-point baskets. Clayton State stretched the lead to 45-20 at halftime on a driving lay-up by Drameka Griggs as time expired.
The Lakers shot 53 percent from the field in the second half as they pushed the lead to 34 points in the first five minutes. Clayton State's largest lead of the game was 43 points on two occasions. A free throw by Hall at the 4:21 mark gave Clayton State an 83-40 lead, and a jumper by Brandice Howard with 3:06 remaining made the Laker lead 85-42.
For the game, Clayton State forced 27 Falcon turnovers, and the Lakers scored 31 points off those turnovers. Clayton State shot 48 percent from the field for the game, including 35 percent from 3-point range.
In addition to Hall, Dixon scored 13 points and center Shacamra Jackson scored 10 points. Howard, Griggs and Shannon Smith each added eight points. For Montevallo (8-12, 3-8 PBC), Davia Harris scored 14 points, followed by Zena Nasilowski with 13 points and Taylor Beverly with 12 points.
Clayton State plays Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at rival Georgia College in Peach Belt action.