CCSU women lose to Carson-Newman

From staff reports

The Clayton College & State University women's basketball season came to an end on Saturday, as the Lakers fell 75-61 to Carson-Newman College in the semifinals of the NCAA Division II South Atlantic Regional in Raleigh, NC.

The Lakers had an off-night shooting, hitting 32 percent (23-of-71) from the field and only 11 percent (3-of-28) from behind the three-point arc, a season low.

Carson-Newman got a heroic performance from freshman 6-4 post Brooke Johnson with 39 points and 10 rebounds.

Johnson hit 13-of-15 shots from the field and 13-of-14 from the free throw line.

"I am disappointed that we lost, but I am proud of our team," said head coach Dennis Cox. "We had a great year, winning both the Peach Belt Conference regular season and tournament championships. We are good-shooting team, but just couldn't get anything to fall tonight."

The loss drops Clayton State to 25-7 on the year, while Carson-Newman also improves to 25-7 on the year.

Clayton State's magical season comes to end but not without many firsts, including the program's first Peach Belt Conference regular season and tournament championships. The program went from a 10-18 record in 2003-04 to posting its first 20-win season this year. Despite its tough shooting night, the Lakers still had a chance in the second half.

Trailing 36-28 at intermission, Clayton State went on a 12-4 run to open the second half and knotted the score at 40 with a three-point play by junior Shelcey Harp with 17:03 remaining.

Clayton State took its only lead of the game seven minutes later, taking a 51-49 advantage on a basket by senior April Taylor. Carson-Newman answered on its ensuing possession and went on a 7-0 run to reclaim the lead 56-51 with 6:48 remaining.

The Eagles took control of the game over the next four minutes with a 12-4 run, taking a 13-point advantage with 2:05 remaining on two free throws by Johnson. She scored 11 points in the game-deciding stretch.

Clayton State got off to a slow start and trailed by 14 points, 25-11, 13 minutes into the game before the club responded with a run to close the half.

The Lakers cut the deficit to five points in the final seconds of the half only to have Johnson convert a three-point play and push the Carson-Newman lead to eight points at intermission.

For Clayton State, Hindsman finished with 21 points and seven steals, while Harp added 18 points and six rebounds. Taylor chipped in 12 points. Behind Johnson's 39 points, Brittany Gooch added 12 points, followed by Tiffany Parker with 12 points and 12 boards.

Carson-Newman shot 58 percent (26-of-45) from the floor and a whopping 71 percent (12-of-17) in the second half. Clayton State was able to remain within striking distance thanks to 17 offensive rebounds and forcing C-N into 28 turnovers.