From Staff Reports
In an early Southeast Region showdown on Saturday, the Clayton State Laker women's basketball team suffered its first defeat of the 2009-10 season, dropping a close 65-62 decision against Carson-Newman at the Athletics and Fitness Center.
The defeat is the first of the season for the eighth-ranked Lakers, now 4-1 overall. Carson-Newman, meanwhile, stays undefeated and improves to 9-0 overall.
In a game where neither team had more than an 11-point lead, Carson-Newman wiped out a five-point Laker lead with an 8-0 run in the final four minutes of the game. Ashley Kyle put the Lady Eagles up 60-59 with a free throw with 29 seconds remaining, and then Mandy Mendenhall increased the Carson-Newman lead to three points on two more free throws with 10 seconds remaining.
However, Clayton State got new life and appeared on the verge of sending the game into overtime as sophomore forward Tanisha Woodard drained a 3-point basket at the top of the key with three seconds remaining.
But on the Lady Eagles' final possession, Kyle was fouled in the act of attempting a 3-point basket as time expired. The senior guard calmly sank all three free throws for the game.
Clayton State was paced by Teshymia Tillman with 16 points, 14 of which came in the first half when the Lakers twice had as big as an 11-point lead before Carson-Newman cut the margin to 33-30 at halftime. Senior forward LaDe'Sha Stoudemire scored 12 points with nine rebounds, and Woodard scored 11 points.
For the game, Clayton State shot 42 percent from the field, while holding Carson-Newman to only 34 percent from the field, including 20 percent from 3-point range.
For Carson-Newman, Mendenhall scored 21 points, while Kyle, Shari Buford and Zoriah Williams each scored 14 points. Buford and Williams both recorded double-doubles with 13 and 12 rebounds, respectively. Overall, Carson-Newman out-rebounded Clayton State 51-44, recording 21 offensive rebounds.Clayton State returns to Peach Belt Conference action on Tuesday with a 5:30 p.m. showdown at Augusta State.