BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament run for the Claflin University women’s basketball team ended with a 62-59 semifinal loss to Clark Atlanta at the Bill Harris Arena in Birmingham, Ala., Friday.
With the loss, the Lady Panthers finish the season with a 17-13 overall record.
Clark Atlanta improved to 19-8 and advanced to SIAC Championship to face the winner of Central State/Kentucky State semifinal.
Senior Jhanice Stokes finished the game with a double-double, 17 points-10 rebounds and two blocks.
Deja Dickens had 14 points and Ashley Fields contributed 11 points with six rebounds and two steals in the loss.
Clark Atlanta was led by Naomi Holloway with a game-high 26 points, including six three pointers. Marissa Mandledove scored 20 points including a perfect 7-of-7 from the charity stripe and Lauren Turner led Clark Atlanta in rebounding with seven points.
The second half of the game was one of runs with Clark Atlanta owning the last run.
Claflin had the first run of the half, scoring the first four points of the third, pushing its five point halftime lead to nine, 35-26. Clark Atlanta offensive became aggressive, using an 8-2 run to close the gap to three, 37-34. Claflin owned the one point lead after three, 49-48.
Claflin remained poised to start the fourth despite the aggressive play of Clark Atlanta. The Lady Panthers scored the first four points to push its lead to five once again, 53-48, with 6:16 remaining.
Clark Atlanta then used a 5-0 run over the next two-minutes to tie the game at 53-all at the 4:16 mark.
After Claflin went up by four (57-53) courtesy of two throws by Dickens and two by Fields, Clark Atlanta went on its final run of the game.
Clark Atlanta took advantage of the lack of timeouts by the Lady Panthers, closing the game on a 9-0 for three point victory.
“Went without with a desire to make our dreams come true tonight but we just fell short,” head coach Revonda Whitley said. “I know the ladies left everything out there on the court that they could, but somebody had to lose and unfortunately it was us.”
Clark Atlanta jumped out to an 8-1 lead over the first three-plus minutes of the game. Clark Atlanta keep the offensive pressure on, going up by as many as 10 (17-7) before closing the quarter with a 17-9 lead.
Claflin scored the first five points of the second quarter to cut the deficit to three, 17-14. Clark Atlanta scored five quick points to go back up 22-14, but Claflin regained the momentum. The Lady Panthers scored the next 12-of-17 points to take its first lead of the game at 26-24, with 3:41 remaining in the half.
Claflin led by five at the half, 31-26.