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Patterson lifts Clayton St. to Peach Belt championship

From Staff Reports

After capturing its first Peach Belt Conference regular season crown, the Clayton State women's team added another title to its trophy case Sunday, capturing the 2005 PBC Tournament Championship with a trilling 83-76 overtime victory at Christenberry Fieldhouse.

"I am so proud of our kids," said head coach Dennis Cox. "We knew we would have to battle to win. " Jasmine (Patterson) had an unbelievable game, and another factor was our ability to rebound on the offensive glass. I thought our kids did a really good job of that."

Junior Jasmine Patterson was the hero, pouring in a career and school record 35 points in the game, garnering the Most Valuable Player award for the tournament.

Patterson hit big shot after big shot down the stretch and came just two points shy of tying the single game PBC Tournament record for points in a game of 37 set by Columbus' Que Gilliam in 1997.

"I was confident coming into this game and tried to get my teammates confident as well," said Patterson. Without the help of them finding me open and getting me good looks, I wouldn't have been capable of this."

Her biggest threes of the game came in the clutch and when the Lakers needed them the most. With the Lakers trailing 66-62 and only 1:50 remaining in regulation, Patterson drained a three-pointer, cutting the Columbus State lead to a single point, 66-65.

After a Columbus basket by Tabasha Taylor extended the lead for Columbus to 68-65 with 1:13 remaining,

Patterson drained another three-pointer from the baseline with 51 seconds remaining to knot the score at 68 apiece, the third tie of the contest.

A Clayton State steal by Jamika Hindsman on Columbus' next possession, setup a final shot for the Lakers but a jumper by Patterson bounded off the back rim.

In the overtime period, Clayton State outscored Columbus 8-2 in just a little over three minutes taking a six-point advantage on a basket by Brandi Catia.

A 3-pointer by Columbus' Noelle Griffin cut the deficit to three points with 1:23 remaining, but the Lakers won the game at the free throw line in the final 30 seconds, draining 5-of-6 attempts form the stripe.

Shelcey Harp and Shanakie Ward both hit pressure free throws in the final seconds.

It's a wonderful feeling," said Jamika Hindsman, who was also named to the All-Tournament team. "We stayed together, we had good chemistry, we all played together. It's a dream that I want to never end."

With the win, the Lakers improve to 24-6 on the season and receive the automatic bid from the Peach Belt Conference to the 64-team NCAA Division II National Championships.

The NCAA South Atlantic Regional Tournament will be played Friday through Monday of next week at site to be determined. The win extends the Clayton State winning streak to a school record 10 on the season.

Of Patterson's 35 points, 26 of them came after halftime when the Lakers trailed 37-33 at the break. Hindsman finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and five steals, while Harp had 15 points, eight boards, three assists and three steals.

Catia also chipped in nine points along with six rebounds. For Columbus, Taylor finished with 23 points and six rebounds, followed by Griffin with 16 points. CSU leading scorer Lucia Heston was held to 13 points, while Cherwonna Walker, the team's leading rebounder, and one of the top rebounders in the PBC, was held to only five boards.

Clayton State shot only 34 percent (25-of-73) from the floor, compared to a whopping 49 percent (31-of-63) for Columbus State.

The Lakers won the game with their work on the offensive boards, outrebounding the Cougars 23-12 on the offensive end, leading to 10 more shots.