By Doug Gorman
Just call it the one that got away.
That's how the Clayton State Lady Lakers will no doubt remember Monday afternoon's championship game of the Arrowhead Clinic Tournament.
In a game that featured 16 lead changes, Clayton State let a 12-point second-half lead disappear against Carson-Newman as the Lady Eagles claimed the tournament title with a 66-64 victory.
Andrea Fitzgerald's basket with seven seconds remaining clinched the victory for the Lady Eagles. Fitzgerald, who finished with 21 points, was named the MVP of the tournament.
Clayton State still had a chance to possibly send the game into overtime after Fitzgerald hit her shot, but Brandi Catia's layup rolled around the rim and fell back out as the buzzer sounded.
Catia, who along with teammate Carlie Anderson, made the all-tournament team for Clayton State, hit four straight free throws in the final 2:19 to keep the Lady Lakers in the game.
Catia's final two free throws gave Clayton State its last lead at 64-62.
"We didn't hit our shots down the stretch," said Clayton State coach A.C. McCullers. "I guess we are still going through some growing pains, but I am pleased with the effort and I think we are going to be a good basketball team down the stretch."
Jamika Hinesman led three Clayton State players in double figures with 21 points. Apryl Brown added 12 and Catia dished in 10.
Madar Kedrin joined Fitzgerald as the other Carson-Newman player in double figures after tossing in 13.
In the first half Carson-Newman built its largest lead of the game at 18-12 when Nicole Averett, who was also named to the all-tournament team, connected on a 3-point shot to give the Lady Eagles an 18-12 lead.
Clayton State, which hit a school record 11 3-point shots in its first-round game against St. Paul's, found the range six times from long range in the title game, including on back-to-back treys from Shanakie Ward and Catia.
The treys cut Carson-Newman's lead to 18-17.
With 7:50 left in the first half, April Taylor put the Lady Lakers back in the lead at 22-19. It was a lead that Clayton State held until late in the second half.
Late in the first half, Clayton State took its largest lead of the game at 38-25 when Brown drilled a 3-point shot. Brown's basket was part of a 25-11 run.
Carson-Newman cut the margin back to 38-28 to close out the first half win Gretchen Geyer hit a 3-pointer.
In the consolation game of the tournament, West Georgia won for the first time this season after beating St. Paul's, 64-51.
St. Paul's attempted 47 3-point attempts, but only made nine in the loss.
West Georgia was led by Quamesha Mcdowell and Nik Blakely with 12 each.
St. Paul's Quisannah Noel scored 25 to lead all scorers .