Lady Cougars fall to Clayton State

Clayton State 79, CSU Women 69

COLUMBUS – The Columbus State Lady Cougars fell to No. 7 Clayton State 79-69 on Tuesday night in their last outing before the Christmas holidays. CSU is now 6-2, 1-1 in the PBC while the Lakers improved to 6-1, 2-0 in the conference.

Asha Alexander had a game-high 21 points to lead CSU's offense and posted a double-double with 10 rebounds. Chatil Bradford also recorded a double-double of 11 points and led the boards with 11 rebounds. Britteny Tatum had 14 points in the effort.

The Lakers were led by Yishica Sims with 20 points. Shacamra Jackson had a double-double performance of 17 points and 13 rebounds. Bena Hanyard had 14 points and Andrea Benford pumped in 12 to round out Clayton State's top scorers.

Alexander scored the first four points for the Lady Cougars but missed three free throws along the way, and CSU racked up nine turnovers as Clayton State marched out to an early 12-4 lead seven minutes in. Tatum dropped in a pair of free throws at 13:04 which was the beginning of a four-minute back-and-forth run between Columbus State and the Lakers.

Clayton State crept out to its largest advantage in the half of 12 points with two straight layups in 18 seconds and went up 28-16 with 5:57 on the clock. The Lady Cougars then turned up the heat and went on a 14-4 run. Bradford hit a layup with one second left and Clayton State's lead was sliced to two with CSU trailing just 34-32 at the break.

The Lakers caught up with CSU in the turnover category and totaled 15 as the Lady Cougars settled down and finished the half with 14. Both teams shot under 40.0 percent in the period. Clayton State was 13-for-34 for 38.2 percent, and Columbus State shot 33.3 percent, 12-for-36.

Bradford scored the first points of the second half with a jumper in the first minute to tie the game for the first time since it was 2-2. Clayton State's Kiana Morton quickly answered with one of her own for the Lakers and three CSU turnovers helped Clayton State to nine consecutive points, launching them ahead 44-35 with 16:29 on the clock.

The Lakers steadily worked over Columbus State and led by as much as 17 points, 65-48 at 9:09 left. Clayton State improved to 47.4 percent, 18-for-38, from the floor to seal the deal at 79-69.

The Lady Cougars shot 45.2 percent in the second half, 14-for-31. While Columbus State racked up 23 turnovers, Clayton State had 20 total. Both teams had problems from the charity stripe. CSU was 15-for-28 and the Lakers hit 12-of-19.

Columbus State will return to action after the holidays on January 2 when they head to Lander. After a January 4 stop at USC Aiken, the Lady Cougars will be back at the Lumpkin Center on Friday, January 10, facing Francis Marion at 5:30 p.m. ET.