4th-ranked Lakers cruise to 71-54 Peach Belt win over Armstrong Thursday
MORROW, GA – Leading by six points three minutes into the second half, the 4th-ranked Clayton State women's basketball team went on 21-8 run over the next 10 minutes to cruise to a 71-54 Peach Belt Conference victory against Armstrong Thursday at the Athletics & Fitness Center.
Forward Jessica Covington ignited the Laker run with a 3-pointer, followed by a basket by guard Drameka Griggs. Another 3-pointer by center Shannon Smith, followed by two free throws by Griggs gave the team a 16-point lead 47-31 with 14:16 remaining.
After both teams swapped baskets, the Lakers reeled off another five straight points to take a commanding 58-39 lead with 8:38 remaining. Guard Bena Hanyard had two baskets in the stretch and center Shacamra Jackson had a free throw.
Armstrong made one last run and cut the deficit to 14 points on a basket by Tori Klewicki-Mcnutt with 7:47 left, but Clayton State immediately answered with a 10-0 run to seal the victory. Guard Arkia Armstrong, guard Kayla Pryce, forward Kayla Mobley all had baskets in the run, while Griggs hit two free throws to cap the stretch, giving the Lakers a 24-point lead with 4:45 remaining.
"We beat a good, well-prepared Armstrong team tonight," said head coach Dennis Cox. "It wasn't our best first half, but I thought we defended well in the second half and ran the floor as well as we have in a while. We found Shay (Jackson) on the inside and she delivered. Kayla Pryce had a good night at the rim and Bena (Hanyard) played a real good all-around game."
With the win, Clayton State improves to 10-0 overall and 3-0 in Peach Belt action, while Armstrong drops to 5-5 overall and 0-3 in league play. The Lakers return league action on Saturday, hosting Flagler in a 1:30 p.m. game.
CSU led 31-26 at halftime and almost the entire game only trailing by a single point on two different occasions in the first half. Armstrong took a 19-18 lead with 6:57 remaining in the first half. Both teams traded baskets for the next five minutes and Covington drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Lakers five-point advantage at intermission.
Clayton State had a balanced attack in the win with four players in double-digits. Jackson led the attack with 14 points, six rebounds and five blocks. Hanyard finished with 12 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals. Pryce added 12 points, followed by Griggs with 10 points, four assists and three steals.
For Armstrong, Klewicki-Mcnutt finished with a game-high 24 points and eight rebounds, followed by Demisha Mills with 12 points.
Once again, the Clayton State defense, which ranks among the nation's best in field goal percentage defense and points allowed, was stellar. The Lakers held the Pirates to 54 points and 30 percent (17-of-57) shooting from the floor.