Clayton State shocked in Peach semis
No. 1 Lakers suffer first loss to No. 12 USC Aiken in OT
The No. 12-ranked USC Aiken women’s basketball team stunned previously unbeaten and top-ranked Clayton State, 73-72, in overtime, Saturday afternoon in the second semifinal game of the Peach Belt Conference Tournament held in USCA’s Convocation Center.
Down 72-71, USCA’s Triahna Harris sank two free throws with 18 seconds remaining in the overtime period to win the game.
USCA (26-4) will meet Georgia College (21-6) Sunday in the PBC Tournament championship game. With its first loss of the season, Clayton State drops to 29-1. The tournament champion earns an automatic berth into the Division II National Tournament.
Hannah DeGraffinreed led the Pacer attack with 16 points and five rebounds, while Nakia Pinkney and Kayla Harris added 14 each and Harris 12. Deandra Schirmer led the team in rebounds with seven.
Clayton State’s Brittany Hall scored a game-high 22 points, while Drameka Griggs added 13 and Tanisha Woodard 11. Breanna Fort grabbed a team-high six rebounds.
Clayton scored the first goal in overtime when Hall hit a layup to give the Lakers a 66-64 lead at 4:26.
The game was tied four more times at 66, 68, 70 and 72 before Harris’ game-winning free throws.
After leading 30-24 at halftime, the Pacers claimed their first double-figure lead of the second half and stretched their advantage to 43-32 on a Harris layup at 13:40. Schirmer netted two free throws to go up 47-34 at 12:16, then Clayton State cut it to nine at 47-38 on Hall’s three at 11:26.
Down 54-43 with 9:27 left, Clayton rallied behind a three by Renee Jackson, a free throw by Griggs and a Kayla Mobley layup to trim the lead to 54-49 with 8:19 left.
With 3:55 left, Woodard’s layup cut USCA’s lead to 62-59, then Clayton State took its first lead of the second half at 64-62 on Hall’s three with 2:16 left.
Mia Antoine’s two free throws knotted the game at 64-all and neither team scored in the final two minutes to force the overtime.
USCA jumped out to a 5-0 lead on a tip in by DeGraffinreed and a three by Harris, then stretched the margin to 10-4 on a DeGraffinreed layup with 15:44 left.
The Lakers used back-to-back layups by Teshymia Tillman and Griggs to cut the margin to 10-8 at 14:12.
The Pacers extended the lead to 15-9 on a Porsha Martin free throw, but Clayton rallied to cut it to 17-15 on a Woodard free throw at 6:29.
USCA then used an 11-2 run to go up 28-17 on a Antoine layup, but the Lakers bounced right back with seven straight points to cut it to 28-24 with 49 seconds remaining
DeGraffinreed ended the scoring in the first half when her two free throws put USCA up 30-24.
USCA, which outrebounded Clayton, 40-30, connected on 24-of-43 field goals for 55.8 percent, including 5-of-10 threes (50 percent). The Pacers also made 20-of-30 free throws for 66.7 percent.
Clayton State was 22-of-67 from the field for 32.8 percent, including 6-of-19 threes for 31.6 percent. The Lakers sank 22-of-30 foul shots for 73.3 percent.