From Staff Reports
The Clayton College & State University women's basketball team captured its first Peach Belt Conference Championship last week, and on Thursday will take its first step toward a PBC Tournament Championship opening play in the league tournament.
After receiving a bye in the first round of the tournament hosted by Augusta State University at the Christenberry Fieldhouse, the Lakers will face the University of North Florida in a 3 p.m. second round game.
Clayton State enters the contest with a 21-6 overall record, while North Florida is 13-15 on the year and coming off a 59-57 victory in the first round of the Peach Belt tournament against the University of South Carolina Upstate.
UNF held off a late USC Upstate comeback to knock off the Spartans. Brittany Davis led UNF with 11 points, followed by Kim Smith with 10 points.
The Lakers swept North Florida during the regular season, defeating the Ospreys 58-46 in Jacksonville, FL and 51-46 in Morrow.
In the first match-up between the two squads, the Laker defense was the key, as the squad held the Ospreys to 30 percent shooting from the floor.
Clayton State was led by senior April Taylor with 11 points and eight rebounds, followed by senior Shanakie Ward with 10 points. In the second game between the two teams, Clayton State overcame some cold shooting of its own but pulled the victory thanks to 31 North Florida turnovers.
Junior Shelcey Harp (College Park, GA) led the Lakers with 12 points and nine rebounds, followed by Ward and Brandi Catia with nine points apiece. On the season, the Ospreys have been led by Davis at 10 points and seven rebounds per game, followed by Alana Mountfield at eight points per game.
Clayton State has a trio of players, averaging in double digits, led by Jamika Hindsman at 14 points per contest, followed by Harp at 13 points per game and junior Jasmine Patterson at 12 per game. The Lakers trail in the all-time series against North Florida 10-7. The Clayton State women's last win in the Peach Belt tournament came in 2002 when the Lakers defeated Augusta State 68-65 in the first of round of the tourney. With a win on Thursday, the Lakers will advance to the semifinals on Saturday at 2 p.m. and face the winner of Thursday's contest between the University of South Carolina Aiken and Lander University.
Clayton State's men's squad also received a bye in first round play of the tournament and will open the tournament on Friday, facing the winner of Wednesday's game between host Augusta State and GC&SU.