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Clayton State falls in Elite Eight

Lakers’ run ends with 81-68 loss to Augustana

Special Photo
Clayton State freshman Kayla Pryce attempts to drive against Augustana guard Shaunteva Ashley during the second half of the Lakers’ 81-68 loss on Tuesday in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Div. II tournament in San Antonio.

Special Photo Clayton State freshman Kayla Pryce attempts to drive against Augustana guard Shaunteva Ashley during the second half of the Lakers’ 81-68 loss on Tuesday in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Div. II tournament in San Antonio.

SAN ANTONIO — While one historic run through the NCAA Div. II tournament continues, another one comes to an end.

Unfortunately, Clayton State’s winning streak was stopped at 32 straight games. The Lakers lost for the first time this season with an 81-68 setback to Augustana on Tuesday at the Bill Greehey Arena in the Div. II quarterfinals.

Recently named All-American Drameka Griggs led the Lakers with 22 points, but it wasn’t enough as they finish the season with a 32-1 record.

Despite committing 32 turnovers against the Lakers’ pressure defense, Augustana, which is located in South Dakota, built a 24-point lead that it was able to hold on to for the victory. It is the Vikings first appearance in the Final Four, where they will meet Dowling on today. Dowling defeated Colorado Mesa 60-44 in the other quarterfinals game.

“Usually when we force 32 turnovers and get 20 steals, we come out on the winning end,” Clayton State coach Dennis Cox said. “I give Augustana a lot of credit and wish them luck.”

Clayton State was able to cut the lead to under double digits late in the game, but timely shots and free throws by the Vikings were too much to overcome for Clayton State.

Shaunteva Ashley scored 17 points to lead four other players in double figures.

“I thought their height affected us today,” Cox said. “We were able to get the ball to the rim, but we were unable to finish. They played really well today, and beat us one through five.”

The Lady Vikings connected on 10 of 17 3-pointers and shot an amazing 53 percent from the floor despite the abundance of turnovers.

In addition to Griggs’ game-high 22 points, Shay Jackson had 17 points and 10 rebounds while Bena Hanyard added 16 points and had eight of the team’s 20 steals.

Augustana, a No. 6 seed, is making its first-ever appearance in the Final Four.