Photo by Heather Middleton
By Doug Gorman
The saga continues for the nation's top-ranked NCAA Division II women's basketball team.
After rolling through the regular season with the only undefeated record in the country, the Clayton State Lakers opened the Peach Belt Conference Tournament Wednesday night at home with an easy 90-48 victory against Montevallo.
The victory helped Clayton State (29-0) tie a school record for most wins in a season. Now, they move on to the semifinals of the tournament where they will play USC Aiken on the Pacers' home floor at 3 p.m today.
Clayton State is hoping to win the Peach Belt Conference Tournament for the second year in a row.
It's part of a larger quest--bringing home the school's first ever national title in any sport.
The Lakers are on a collision course to meet Lander in a rematch Sunday in the Peach Belt tournament finals. When the two teams played at Clayton State last month, Lander was ranked No. 1 in the country, while the Lakers were ranked No. 2.
After CSU's dramatic 83-81 victory, the Lakers took over the top spot in the NCAA Division II poll. They have been there ever since, winning five games in a row
Of course, both teams would have to win Saturday in the semifinals. Lander plays Georgia College in its game.
You can bet, Clayton State won't be looking ahead.
In the regular season meeting between the two teams, Clayton State knocked off USC Aiken 66-60.
The Lakers come into the rematch averaging 80.5 points per contest. They are giving up a stingy 57 points per game.
Clayton State's offense is led by three players, all averaging double figures for the Lakers. Teshymia Tillman leads the way with 15.1 points per game. Tansiha Woodard is chipping in 11.8 points per game and Drameka Griggs, who played high school ball at Jonesboro, is averaging 10.4 points per game.
The Pacers perfer a lower scoring game. They come into the contest averaging 67.4 points per contest, while giving up 54.3.
Kayla Harris is the Pacers' leading scorer, chipping in 12 points per game average. Hann DeGraffinreed is averaging 11.6 points per game.
The rest of the tournament will be now played at USC Aiken, including the finals on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.
The tournament winner gets an automatic bid to the NCAA Division II Tournament. At-large invitations go out Sunday night to help fill out the rest of women's field.