MORROW, GA – The North Georgia women's basketball team looked to upset their first ranked opponent of the season on Saturday evening, but 3rd-ranked Clayton State took over early and ran away with an 87-63 victory in the Athletics and Fitness Center in Peach Belt Conference action.
Lady Saints were unable to win their second straight, falling to 11-6 overall on the season and 2-4 in Peach belt Conference action as Clayton State takes an 11-10 edge in the all-time series between the two squads.
The Lakers, ranked 3rd in the latest USA Today/ ESPN Division II Top 25 Poll, continue their best start in school history, improving to 17-0 overall and 6-0 in league action.
North Georgia led the game for just 15 seconds as Janyce Ealey came out and hit the game's opening bucket, a layup at the 19:41 mark. The Lakers would answer on the ensuing possession however, using a three-pointer from Tanisha Woodard to give the Clayton State the lead for good, as they would race out to a 10-point lead just five minutes into the contest.
The Lady Saints were unable to handle the pressure in the first half, turning the ball over 19 times, including a miscue with 44 seconds remaining the period, resulting in a layup the other way by Teshymia Tillman, giving the Lakers their largest lead of the half at 25 points.
Clayton State continued to pull away in the second half, opening the final stanza on a 14-5 run to extend the lead to a game-high 33 points at the 15:23 mark on a layup by Tillman, making it a 65-32 Laker lead.
North Georgia made a run in the second half, cutting the lead down to 20 points on two different occasions inside the 10-minute mark, but Clayton State never let up, coming back and going up by as many as 29 points before coming away with the 87-63 victory.
Lindsey Moss led four North Georgia players in double figures, finishing with a game-high 18 points on an 11-for-12 performance from the free throw line. Ealey tallied 13 points, while Bianca O'Neal and Brooke Garmon notched 10 points apiece in the losing effort.
The Lakers had five players in double figures, led by 18 points from Tillman, while Woodard and Kayla Mobley added 15 each.
Turnovers were the story of the night as North Georgia finished with a season-high 38 turnovers, while Clayton State added 18 of their own. The Lady Saints held a slight 43-39 lead in rebounds, but tallied just six steals to 23 takeaways for the Lakers.
The Lady Saints will have Saturday off before starting their busiest home stretch of the season with three games in six days. North Georgia will welcome the University of Montevallo to town on Monday evening as part of a Peach Belt Conference doubleheader. Tip-off against the Falcons is set for 5:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall.