From Staff Reports
WINGATE--Out of all the players that are stepping up for the Clayton State Laker women's basketball team, the one that is impressing head coach Dennis Cox the most is Tanisha Woodard.
The sophomore forward recorded her first double-double of the season on Friday, sparking a furious second-half rally in leading Clayton State to a thrilling 69-65 victory at Wingate in the opening game of the OrthoCarolina Classic. The victory improves the 15th-ranked Lakers to 6-1 overall, while Wingate is 4-4.
Clayton State is back in action in the OrthoCarolina Classic on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. against Tusculum at Wingate's Cuddy Arena. Tusculum dropped an 83-71 decision against Francis Marion in game two on Friday.
If the first half was any indication, it appeared as if Wingate would run away it. The Bulldogs shot 57 percent from the field in the opening stanza, including hitting 5-for-6 from 3-point range.
Wingate used a 14-2 run to take a 31-15 lead at the 7:08 mark. Then after Clayton State answered with a 12-0 run, the Bulldogs responded again, this time on a 13-4 to take a 44-31 lead at halftime on a 3-point basket by Kurie Washington at the buzzer.
Clayton State gradually fought its way back into it early in the second half. A 7-0 run brought the Lakers to within three points, 53-50 on two free throws by Woodard with 12:52 remaining. Wingate pushed its lead back to five points, but Clayton State answered with an 11-3 run. The Lakers took their first lead of the game 59-58 on a 3-point basket by Teshymia Tillman with 8:04 remaining.
Wingate trimmed the Laker lead to one point, but Woodard answered with a huge 3-point basket at the 3:55 mark, stretching the Clayton State lead to 66-60. Following a key defensive stop, the Lakers got another big 3-point basket, this time from Genesis Kelly with two minutes remaining.
The Bulldogs cut the deficit to four points on a 3-point basket by Washington at the 1:39 mark. However, Clayton State had two huge defensive stops down the stretch to preserve the victory.
Tillman scored 16 points to pace the Lakers, while Brittany Hall scored 12 points off the bench. Woodard scored 11 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to go along with five assists, four blocked shots and five steals. Kelly also scored 12 points for Clayton State.
For Wingate, Washington was tremendous with a game-high 28 points on a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line. Erica Crumlin scored 14 points off the bench for the Bulldogs.
Clayton State men fall to Shaw: Aiming to snap a two-game losing skid, the Clayton State Laker men's basketball hoped to get back on the winning track on Friday at home against Shaw.
But the visiting Bears made some clutch baskets down the stretch and held off a tremendous Laker rally to defeat Clayton State 68-64 at the Athletics and Fitness Center. Clayton State drops to an even 4-4 with the defeat, while Shaw improves to 5-2 overall.
Everything went right for Clayton State in the first half as the Lakers limited Shaw to 38 percent shooting from the field, including 25 percent from 3-point range, and out-rebounded the Bears 21-17. However, the Lakers shot only 33 percent from the field, including only 25 percent from beyond the arch.
At one point in the opening half, Clayton State was 4-for-19 from the field. Meanwhile, Shaw built a 24-17 lead on 3-point baskets by Darryl Johnson and Raheem Smith. Clayton State, however, answered on a 3-point basket by Jonathan Austin, and a dunk by Torrin Greene with seven seconds remaining trimmed the Bear lead to 26-23 at halftime.
Shaw shot 58 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range in the second half, six times building a double-digit lead. Rodney Calwood gave the Bears their largest lead of the game 51-39 on a turnaround lay-up with 8:27 remaining, and a free throw by Michael Smith staked Shaw to a 61-50 lead with 2:34 remaining.
That's when Clayton State answered. The Lakers stormed back with a 7-0 to cut the lead to four points as Timmy Downs drained a 3-point basket, and then a 3-point play on a driving lay-up by Robert Murry got the Lakers to within three, 63-60 with 25 seconds remaining.
But Michael Smith connected on 7-for-8 from the free throw line down the stretch for the Bears, including two with eight seconds remaining to put the icing on the cake.
Murry paced Clayton State with 20 points, while Downs scored eight points with seven assists. Center Armon Jones added seven points and eight rebounds. But free throw shooting was the Lakers culprit as they connected on only 16-for-25 from the charity stripe.
For Shaw, Raheem Smith scored 21 points, followed by Michael Smith with 18 points on 11-for-12 from the free throw line. Rodney Calwood added 12 points for the Bears.
Clayton State will aim to break this skid on Monday night at home against Southern Polytechnic State - the Lakers' final game before the holiday break.