By Doug Gorman
There's still plenty of basketball to be played, but Clayton State women's coach Dennis Cox is happy with the way his team has started the season.
With good reason.
The Lakers have sprinted to a 10-0 record and are ranked sixth in the latest NCAA Division II poll.
Wednesday and Thursday, they continue the annual holiday tradition when they play host to the Heritage Bank Holiday Classic. The Lakers will take on Lenior Rhyne on Wednesday day and Lincoln Memorial on Thursday.
It will give the Lakers a chance to play for the first time in more than a week. In its last outing, Clayton State set five team records in a 112-43 win against Peach Belt foe Augusta State.
The easy victory even surprised Cox, who was expecting a win, but not a rout. It's also a sign that Clayton State has emerged as one of the squads to beat in the Peach Belt Conference.
"We have had some lopsided scores this year, but you usually don 't see that in our league. Our conference is very competitive. They were a 6-2 team, coming off a big win at West Georgia and was receiving votes (in the Top 25 poll)," he said. "If it wasn't the best game we have played here, it was one of the best games."
The Lakers enter the holiday event dominating on both sides of the floor. Offensively, the team is averaging 86 points per game. It is only giving up 57.3 points per contest.
Despite the loss of his senior point guard, Cox is getting plenty of production and depth from the rest of his squad.
Heading into this week's action, Teshyima Tillman leads the season with 15 points per game. Woodward is averaging 14 points per game and former Jonesboro High School standout Drameka Griggs is averaging 11 points.
About the only setback so far this season was an injury to Genesis Kelley, who hurt her knee in the third week of the season. She will be granted a redshirt and is expected to return next year.
The success of this year's team is drawing comparisons to CSU's Final Four team from 2006-07.
That squad went 29-6.
"We are constintly comparing our teams to that team, because there was obviously a formula that worked. What they team had andwas depth. We had depth on the permiter and depth in the post."
"One of the things that is different about this team is the chemistry," Cox said. "This kids seem to generally like it each other, and you don't always get that."