– The North Georgia women’s basketball team continued
to struggle on Wednesday evening, facing the #22 team in the
country and falling 71-63 to Clayton State University in Memorial
Hall in Peach Belt Conference action.
The Lady Saints drop their fifth straight, falling to 9-16 overall on the season and 4-12 in the Peach Belt Conference’s West Division, while the 22nd-ranked Lakers still have a shot at the West Division title, improving to 20-6 overall and 11-5 in the league.
Clayton State used pressure defense to score the game’s first four points before jumping out to a 14-7 lead at the 14:48 mark on a Genesis Kelly jumper to give the Lakers a seven-point lead.
The Lakers extended their lead to double digits at the 10:48 mark as LaDe’Sha Stoudamire knocked down a pair of free throws to give Clayton State a 10-point lead at 20-10, but North Georgia answered right back in the next possession, using a three-pointer from Kari McCann at the top of the key to make it a seven-point game again at 20-13.
Janyce Ealey and Tiffany Marlow cut the Laker lead to just three on the next two possessions, knocking down back-to-back jumpers to make it a 20-17 lead with just 7:39 remaining in the first half. Clayton State would take over from there, scoring 14 straight points, capped by another bucket from Kelly to give the Lakers a 17-point advantage, their largest lead of the half, at 34-17. Marlow hit a pair of free throws with 28 seconds remaining, making it a 34-19 CSU lead heading into intermission.
North Georgia would go on a run to open the second half, cutting the Clayton State lead to just eight points at 40-32 on a jumper from Ealey with 15:11 remaining. The Lakers answered right back with a run of their own, scoring 10 straight, capped by a layup from Teshymia Tillman with 12:33 remaining to make it a 50-32 Clayton advantage.
After Clayton State hovered near a 10-point lead for the majority of the second half, North Georgia cut the Laker lead to just five at 64-59 on a Whitney Randolph layup with 3:33 remaining. Clayton State would end the game on a 7-4 run however, coming away with the 71-63 road victory.
Four players finished in double figures for the Lady Saints, led by Sarah Stinson’s 17 points and nine rebounds, while three other players finished with 10 points. Ealey tallied 10 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double, while Randolph and Marlow added 10 points apiece.
Clayton State was led by 21 points from Tillman, while Tanisha Woodard added 13 points and six rebounds. Latonda Bruce and Stoudamire also finished in double digits, tallying 11 and 10 points respectively.
North Georgia returns to action on Saturday, playing host to Georgia College in both team’s regular season finale. Tip-off against the Bobcats is set for 1:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall.