February 23, 2011

No. 1 Lakers Battle Past Lady Saints, Earn PBC Title

DAHLONEGA, GA – The North Georgia women's basketball team pulled to within a point of top-ranked Clayton State University in the second half, but the Lakers used an 18-0 run to pull away and defeat the Lady Saints 79-44 in Memorial Hall in Peach Belt Conference action.

Clayton State continues their improbable run through the league as the No. 1 team in the country remains undefeated at 27-0 overall on the year and 16-0 in the Peach Belt Conference. The win coupled with a USC Aiken loss gives the Lakers the 2010-11 Peach Belt Conference Regular Season Championship.

The Lady Saints fall to 15-12 on the season and 6-10 in league action, as North Georgia will prepare for Saturday's season-finale with a chance to grab the fourth and final seed in the upcoming PBC Tournament.

North Georgia opened the game on fire, scoring the first five points of the game as Bianca O'Neal drilled a three-pointer, and Lindsey Moss connected on a layup, giving the Lady Saints a 5-0 lead with 17:14 remaining in the half.

The Clayton State defense clamped down from there, holding North Georgia scoreless for over five minutes as the Lakers got right back into the game and took their first lead of the night on a layup from Drameka Griggs, giving Clayton State a 6-5 lead.

The Lakers took their largest lead of the opening half at the 6:22 mark as Brittany Hall was good from long range, giving the top-ranked a team a 13-point lead at 26-13, but North Georgia rallied from there, ending the half on a 13-4 run to trail by just three points heading into intermission.

North Georgia scored the opening bucket of the second half on a Jessica Trice jumper to cut the Clayton State lead to a single point at 30-29, but the Lakers responded quickly, using an 18-0 run over the next six minutes to stake their claim to a 48-29 advantage.

Clayton State continued to pull away from there, using turnovers and offensive rebounds throughout the second half as the Lakers proved they were the No. 1 team in the land. North Georgia was outrebounded 45-20, and committed 27 turnovers as the Lakers held their largest lead of the game at 35 points when the final buzzer sounded.

Moss led the Lady Saints with 14 points, including a perfect 4-for-4 mark from the free throw line, while O'Neal added nine points and Tiffany Marlow tallied eight. Griggs led the balanced scoring attack for the Lakers, putting up 19 points, while Hall chipped in 15 points and Tanisha Woodard added 13 for Clayton State.

The Lady Saints return to action on Saturday afternoon, welcoming Georgia College to town for the final regular season game of the 2010-11 season. Tip-off against the Bobcats in another Peach Belt Conference battle is set for 1:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall.