From Staff Reports
AUGUSTA - The 2004-05 Peach Belt Conference Clayton College & State University women's basketball team took its first step toward a PBC Tournament title on Thursday, winning in impressive fashion, pounding the University of North Florida 89-72.
Clayton State was led by the trio of senior Jamika Hindsman, senior April Taylor and junior Shelcey Harp, combining for 64 points.
Hindsman finished with a career high 28 points, including 20 points in the first half, while Taylor and Hindsman each chipped in 18 points apiece for the game.
The Lakers put on a 3-point shooting exhibition in the game, hitting 12-of-23 from behind the three-point arc.
The 12 made three-pointers set a new PBC Tournament record, breaking the previous mark of 11 set by Francis Marion University in 2000 tournament. Clayton State used a 19-4 run to break open a close game in the first half.
The Lakers led 29-23 with 7:15 remaining to play before halftime when the 19-4 run took place. Sophomore Basia Bukowska capped the run with a three-pointer with 1:17 remaining in the half and Hindsman put an exclamation point on the half with another three-pointer at the halftime buzzer.
"In the two previous meetings, we didn't feel like we had done what we are capable of doing." said Senior April Taylor. "We really attacked North Florida. Our press was effective, and we really shot the ball well."
In the second half, Clayton State pushed its lead to as many as 30 points on a three-pointer by Shelcey Harp, one of her six of the game. The three-pointer gave the Lakers a 64-34 lead with 15 minutes remaining.
The Lakers led by at least 20 points for the entire second half until UNF cut into the deficit in the final two minutes.
"I thought it would be a closer game," said Hindsman. "We knew we had to come in and play strong."
CCSU men tip off tonight: The Clayton College & State University men's basketball team will return to action on Friday, opening play in the 2005 Peach Belt Conference Championship at the Christenberry Fieldhouse in Augusta, GA.
Clayton State will open the tournament against the host team Augusta State University at 8 p.m. The Lakers received a bye in the first round of the tourney and will enter as the No. 2 seed from the South, while Augusta State is the No. 3 seed from the South.
The Jaguars will enter the tournament, coming off a rousing 75-73 victory on Wednesday in the first round of the tournament. ASU's Karim Telfer drilled the game-winner with less than two seconds remaining to end GC&SU's season. Telfer finished the game with 24 points, followed by Roberto Aufiero with 17 points.
Clayton State will enter the game on a two-game winning streak and an 18-12 overall record. The Lakers are coming off a 66-59 win over GC&SU. Clayton State has been led so far this season by senior Craig Butts, averaging 17 points and eight rebounds per game.
In the earlier meeting this year against Augusta State, the Lakers fell 65-59 in Augusta. The first meeting between Clayton State and Augusta State was a tale of two halves, as Clayton State led at halftime 36-21 only to fall by seven points.
Augusta State won the game in the second half at the free throw line.ASU took advantage of a 19-8 foul differential in the second half and hit 15-of-16 free throws in the final 10 minutes of the game.
The game will be a big one for both clubs, as Clayton State will enter the contest ranked 10th in the NCAA South Atlantic Region rankings, while Augusta State is eighth in the poll. The top eight teams, barring an upset in one of the three conference tournaments in the region, receive bids to the 64-team NCAA Tournament.
Clayton State trails in the all-time series against Augusta State 7-6 but defeated the Jaguars in last year's tournament in Augusta to advance to the semifinals.