#1 ranked Clayton State finishes regular season undefeated
Columbus, GA – The No. 1 ranked Clayton State women's basketball team put the finishing touches on a perfect regular season Saturday, defeating Columbus State 80-47 in Columbus, GA.
The Peach Belt Conference champion Lakers finish the regular season with a perfect 26-0 record, the second time in the last three seasons the Lakers have finished the regular season undefeated. The program also finished the 2010-11 regular season undefeated en route to the NCAA Division II National Championship.
Clayton State will enter next week's Peach Belt Conference Tournament Championships, which will also be held in Columbus, as the league's top seed. The Lakers, 19-0 in the PBC, will play on Thursday at 5 p.m. in the opening round.
"We had a ton of respect for a red hot Columbus team and came in focused today," said head coach Dennis Cox. "Meme (Drameka Griggs) got us started again and we really got it rolling in the second half. Our bigs played really well inside and Bena Hanyard was everywhere today."
In Saturday's game, Clayton State's defense was the difference, as the Lakers held the Cougars to only 28 percent (16-of-57) shooting for the game. The Lakers did not allow a field goal for over a 20-minute stretch in the game.
Columbus State raced out to an early lead 8-2 lead only to have Laker senior All-American hopeful Drameka Griggs take over the game. She scored 14 of Clayton State's next 16 points, and the Lakers led 18-15 with 10:50 remaining in the first period.
Moments later Laker forward Kayla Mobley rattled off six points in a two-minute stretch to give Clayton State a 24-19 advantage with 7:53 remaining, followed by fellow senior Shannon Smith scoring six more to push the Laker lead to 30-20 with two minutes in the half. After both teams exchanged free throws, the Lakers led 32-22 at intermission.
In the second half, Clayton State opened the period with a 13-0 run to take control of the game. Mobley capped the game-deciding stretch with a basket to give Clayton State a 45-22 lead with 14:24 remaining in the game.
The Lakers extended their lead even further over the next three minutes taking a 55-24 lead with 11:31 left after a steal by Bena Hanyard and layup by Griggs. Clayton State led by at least 30 points for the final five minutes of the game and by as many as 38 points on basket by center Shacamra Jackson with 3:24 left.
Griggs, the Peach Belt's second leading scorer, finished with 22 points, hitting 9-of-14 from the floor, including 2-of-2 from 3-point range. She also had three steals and three assists. Smith finished with 14 points, hitting 6-of-9 from the field, to go along with seven rebounds.
Jackson had 12 points, hitting 5-of-8 from the floor and pulling six boards. Hanyard posted a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds, while Mobley finished with 10 points and seven rebounds. Hanyard also had a team high five assists.
Clayton State shot 51 percent (32-of-63) from floor and outrebounded the Cougars 32-17 in the game.
With the win, the Lakers have a 34-game regular season winning streak, dating back to last year. The Lakers are always riding a 34-game road winning streak with the team's last road regular season loss (not counting games at netural sites) in the 2009-10 season against Montevallo on February 20th, falling 65-60.
The Clayton State women's basketball program is 90-5 (.947) over the last three years, the top winning percentage of any program at the NCAA Division II level.