PBC Tournament - Clayton State Edges 65-64 Over Columbus State
By Lee Wright, Clayton State
Playing host to in-state rival Columbus State in the PBC
quarterfinals, the Lakers scored the final six points in the game
and had two crucial defensive stops to edge Columbus State 65-64 at
the Athletics and Fitness Center. 21st-ranked Clayton State
improves to 22-6 overall and will play in the Peach Belt semifinals
on Saturday at 1 p.m. against ninth-ranked Lander at the
Convocation Center at USC Aiken.
Columbus State (17-11) took a 64-59 lead on two free throws by Ashley Stafford with 4:05 remaining. That finished off a 17-6 run by the Cougars, who appeared in control at that point.
However, Clayton State slowly trimmed the Columbus State lead. After she made two free throws to cut the lead to three points, the Lakers’ Latonda Bruce scored on a jump shot with 1:37 remaining, cutting the Cougar lead to 64-63.
Columbus State’s Phoebe Smith missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Clayton State had the ball with 1:13 remaining. Tanisha Woodard then scored on a driving lay-up to give the Lakers a one-point lead with 57 seconds remaining.
The two teams traded turnovers before Columbus State had the ball with 24 seconds remaining. After two timeouts, the Cougars took possession with six seconds remaining. Monique Jefferson took the ball around the top of the key and took a 12-foot jump shot. Clayton State’s LaDe’sha Stoudemire was there to block shot, but Smith got the offensive rebound for the Cougars.
However, her last second baseline jumper rolled around and off the rim as time expired.
Clayton State persevered despite shooting only 28 percent from the field in the second half, including only 14 percent from 3-point range. For the game, the Lakers shot only 37 percent from the field, including 33 percent from 3-point range. However, Clayton State was stellar at the free throw line, connecting on 90 percent (9-for-10).
Bruce paced the Lakers with 16 points – 10 of which came in the first half as the Lakers led by as many as 11 points and had a 40-30 lead at halftime. Woodard scored 15 points with six assists, followed by Genesis Kelly with 13 points and Stoudemire added 10 points.
For Columbus State, Smith recorded a double-double with 21 points and 17 rebounds. Nikki Urbizo scored 14 points off the bench for the Cougars, who shot 48 percent from the field and out-rebounded Clayton State 45-31.