No. 2 Clayton State women rebound, out-last No. 15 USC Aiken 86-76

MORROW, Ga. – January 28, 2012 – On an evening when Brittany Hall reached a big personal milestone, the Clayton State Laker women's basketball team quickly got back on the winning track.

Hall scored 18 points to pace the Lakers as Clayton State out-lasted USC Aiken 86-76 in a battle of Division II Top 25 teams on Saturday at the Athletics and Fitness Center. The victory improves Clayton State, ranked No. 2 in Division II, to 19-2 overall and 9-1 in the Peach Belt Conference. USC Aiken, ranked No. 15, falls to 16-3 and 9-2 in the PBC.

For Hall, a senior from Smyrna, Ga., she becomes the eighth player in the history of women's basketball at Clayton State to eclipse 1,000 career points. She scored the magical 1,000th point on 3-point basket at the 15:16 mark. She now has 1,013 points in her Laker career.

Clayton State used an early 10-0 run the first half to set the tone. Shannon Smith got the rally started with a lay-up, followed by a 3-point basket by Keona Dixon. Dixon added another 3-point basket to give the Lakers a 21-10 lead with 11:40 remaining.

The Lakers twice stretched the lead to 15 points before USC Aiken trimmed the deficit to seven points. Kayla Harris capped a 10-2 run by the Pacers with a lay-up at the 2:26 mark, cutting the Clayton State lead to 36-29. However, the Lakers closed out the half on an 8-2 run as Tanisha Woodard drained a 3-point basket and Drameka Griggs scored in transition, giving Clayton State a 45-31 lead at halftime.

Clayton State opened the second half on an 8-0 run and twice stretched its lead to 22 points. Hall sank a 3-point basket at the 17:56 mark to give the Lakers a 53-31 lead, and Genesis Kelly nailed a 3-point basket to give Clayton State a 56-34 lead with 16:15 remaining.

That would be the largest lead of the game for the Lakers as USC Aiken methodically trimmed the lead for the remainder of the contest. The Lakers led by 20 points, 67-47 on a lay-up by Shannon Smith before USC Aiken twice cut the lead to 10 points.

A 3-point basket by Porsha Martin trimmed the Laker lead to 71-61 at the 6:14 mark, and two free throws by Hannah DeGraffinreed cut the Clayton State lead to 73-63 with 5:20 remaining. The Pacers trimmed the lead to single digits, 75-66 on two free throws by Brittany Hill at the 3:28 mark. DeGraffinreed then scored on a lay-up with 48 seconds remaining to make the Laker lead 77-69.

However, that was as close as USC Aiken would get.

In addition to Hall, Woodard scored 17 points for Clayton State, followed by Dixon with 14 points. In addition, Kelly scored nine points and Smith and Shacamra Jackson each added eight points. For the game, the Lakers shot 51 percent from the field and a whopping 90 percent (18-for-20) from the free throw line.

For USC Aiken, Harris scored a game-high 25 points, while Hill scored 16 points and DeGraffinreed scored 11 points.

Clayton State is off next week before returning to action with a Peach Belt Conference road contest next Saturday (Feb. 4) at Montevallo.

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