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Trips to Vandy, Puerto Rico highlight CSU’s schedule

Photo by Derrick Mahone
Clayton State women’s basketball coach Dennis Cox has schedule a game with Vanderbilt and a trip to Puerto Rico for his defending Div. II national champions this season.

Photo by Derrick Mahone Clayton State women’s basketball coach Dennis Cox has schedule a game with Vanderbilt and a trip to Puerto Rico for his defending Div. II national champions this season.

A preseason exhibition against a perennial Southeastern Conference power and a holiday trip to Puerto Rico highlight the 2011-12 Clayton State Laker women’s basketball schedule, which was released on Thursday.

Coming off a NCAA Division II national championship season, Clayton State head coach Dennis Cox has put together another challenging schedule as the Lakers prepare to defend their title. Clayton State finished last season with an impressive 35-1 record, which included a 69-50 win over Michigan Tech 69-50 for the national championship.

“We will be faced with another challenging schedule this year for sure,” said Cox, who is 184-45 entering his eighth season at the Laker helm. “Opening on the road in Florida will be no easy task as we face two of the best teams in the Sunshine State Conference, and the rest of the non-conference schedule includes three NCAA tournament teams from last year.

“And of course the Peach Belt Conference will be as strong as ever.”

The “headliner” on this season’s schedule is a Nov. 5 preseason exhibition for the Lakers at Vanderbilt. This marks the second time in the last four seasons that Clayton State has played a preseason exhibition against a team from the SEC. The Lakers played at Georgia in the 2009-10 season.

Also, Clayton State will enjoy a nice holiday getaway following final exams with a weekend trip to Puerto Rico. Clayton State will play at Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras on Dec. 10, followed by Puerto Rico-Bayamon on Dec. 11.

“We are especially looking forward to two trips on our schedule this year,” Cox said. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to go to Vanderbilt to play an exhibition game against a perennial Division I power. Plus, this will be the first time for most of us to take a trip to the Caribbean, and we are excited for that opportunity.”

The season tips off on Nov. 11-12 when Clayton State travels to Tampa for the Spartan Challenge Tournament at Tampa. The Lakers will battle Tampa on Nov. 11, followed by Rollins on Nov. 12. The 2011-12 home opener is set for Nov. 19 against Newberry in which there will be a ring ceremony and the raising of the 2011 NCAA Division II National Championship banner.

Clayton State will participate in two more pre-conference tournaments. The Lakers will play both Tusculum and Brenau in the Chick-Fil-A Thanksgiving Classic at North Georgia on Nov. 26-27, and then play host to West Georgia and Wingate in the annual Heritage Bank Holiday Classic on Dec. 29-30.

Other non-conference home games for Clayton State include Chowan on Dec. 2 and Barton on Dec. 3. The Lakers open Peach Belt Conference play on Dec. 14 at home against Georgia Southwestern.

The 2012 Peach Belt Conference Tournament will be on March 1-4 at the Lumpkin Center at Columbus State.