From Staff Reports
Four pre-conference classics and a rematch of last season's NCAA Division II National Tournament game highlight the 2010-11 Clayton State Laker women's basketball schedule, which head coach Dennis Cox released on Tuesday.
Clayton State will play 14 home games and host two classics in the process. In addition, the Lakers will travel to two more classics prior to starting the bulk of Peach Belt Conference play. Overall, Clayton State will play five teams that advanced the NCAA Division II National Tournament last season - including in-conference rivals Lander and Francis Marion.
The Lakers are coming off another impressive season in 2009-10, finishing 24-7 overall while winning a third Peach Belt Conference Tournament championship and advancing to NCAA Division II National Tournament for a sixth straight season.
"It should be a very challenging schedule, as usual," said Cox, who is 149-44 entering his seventh season at the Laker helm. "In addition to the always tough Peach Belt Conference, we play five additional in-region contests this year with five teams from the South Atlantic Conference that will be pivotal to any success that we might have this year.
"The good news is that all five of those key games are here at home."
The season officially opens on the weekend of Nov. 12-13 when Clayton State plays host to the Chick-Fil-A Southeast Region Challenge at the Athletics and Fitness Center. The Lakers will play host to both Catawba and Brevard from the South Atlantic Conference. That's followed by the North Georgia Tip-Off Classic the next weekend at North Georgia when the Lakers play 2010 NCAA Division II National Tournament qualifier Lynn the first night, and Chowan the second night.
The highlight of the non-conference schedule, however, will be on Sunday, Nov. 21 when Clayton State plays host to Tusculum in a rematch of last season's first-round NCAA Division II National Tournament when the Lady Pioneers upset Clayton State 69-63. Tusculum went on to advance to the NCAA Division II "Elite Eight."
After a road contest at Albany State prior to Thanksgiving, the Lakers will head to St. Petersburg, Fla., on the weekend of Nov. 26-27 for the Eckerd Thanksgiving Classic. Clayton State will play Florida Southern on Nov. 26 and Eckerd on Nov. 27. It will be a homecoming for Cox, who played collegiately at Eckerd.
The 2010 Heritage Bank Holiday Classic should be another stellar field as Clayton State welcomes Lander, NCAA Division II National Tournament qualifier Lenoir-Rhyne and Lincoln Memorial to the Athletics and Fitness Center on Dec. 29-30. Clayton State will play host to Lincoln Memorial on Dec. 29, followed by Lenoir-Rhyne on Dec. 30.
The final non-conference game of the season will be on Jan. 3 at home against Palm Beach Atlantic. Clayton State opens Peach Belt Conference play on Dec. 4 at UNC Pembroke.