Clayton State holds off pesky Hornets 78-68
MORROW, GA – For the second exhibition game in a row, the Clayton State women's basketball team jumped out to a big lead and then had to hold off their opponent in the closing minutes to capture a victory.
Last Saturday, the win came against Emory and tonight it was against another metro-Atlanta team in Southern Poly, as the Lakers held off the pesky Hornets 78-68 at the Athletics & Fitness Center in exhibition play.
The Lakers led for most of the game and after getting off to a slow start kicked it into overdrive five minutes into the first half, thanks to their patented defensive pressure.
Leading 14-11 at the 11:47 mark, Clayton State went on an 18-3 run over the next six minutes to take a commanding 18-point lead, 32-14. A steal by guard Arkia Armstong led to a lay-up by guard Drameka Griggs to cap the run.
Southern Poly came back and cut the deficit to 11 points with 1:48 remaining in the half, but Clayton State scored six of the period's last eight points to take a 15-point lead, 38-23, at intermission.
In the second half, Clayton State pushed its lead to 20 points, early in the period on a 3-pointer by guard Keona Dixon and held at least a 15-point advantage for the first 14 minutes of the period until the Hornets went on a run of their own.
Southern Poly went on a 14-1 spurt over the next four minutes and cut the deficit to 72-68 with 2:17 remaining on a free throw by guard Ashlie Billingslea. Clayton State guard Kayla Pryce answered 30 seconds though later to push the lead to six points. The Laker defense then flexed its muscles again holding the Hornets scoreless over the final minutes, and a jumper by Dixon with 35 seconds remaining sealed the 10-point victory.
For Clayton State, Dixon finished with 18 points, followed by Griggs with 14 points and seven steals. Center Shacamra Jackson finished with a "double-double" with 10 points and 11 boards. Auburn Randolph added nine points for the Lakers.
Southern Poly was led by Sarah Ogoke with 18 points and 16 rebounds, followed by Erica Turner with 16 points and eight boards. Billingslea also chipped in 16 points for the Hornets to go along with six assists.
The Lakers have one more exhibition game on Tuesday, November 13th, playing their annual Alumni game. The contest will tip off at 5 p.m. and be followed by a court-naming ceremony in honor of former athletic director Mason Barfield at 7 p.m.
Clayton State opens the regular season on the road in Jackson, TN, in the Union University Lady Bulldog Classic, facing two of the toughest teams that NCAA Division II and the NAIA has to offer. The Lakers will play perennial Division II women's basketball powerhouse Delta State on Friday, November 16th, followed by facing the host Union, who has captured multiple NAIA National Championships over the last few years the next day.