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Jhanice Stokes scored a career-high 23 points as the Claflin University Lady Panthers upended Spring Hill College 75-65 in a Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) basketball contest Saturday at Tullis Arena.

With the hard-fought win, Claflin improved to 7-6 overall, but more importantly, 4-1 in the SIAC.

Spring Hill dropped to 7-4 overall and 1-1 in the league.

Stokes, who scored 11 points in the first half for the Lady Panthers, surpassed a personal best of 22 points against Livingstone College on Dec. 4 at home. She also narrowly missed a double-double with eight rebounds.

Dominique Williams was also within striking range of a double-double for Claflin with 17 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Joy Okeke rounded out the double-digit scorers for the Lady Panthers with 14 points.

Zakera Chadmon had nine points and four assists for Claflin, while Ashley Fields contributed seven points, six rebounds and nine assists. 

Jewel Hill was the top scorer for Spring Hill with 18 points, followed by Jennifer Clark at 13 points.

Claflin used nine straight points midway through the fourth quarter to break open a tight contest en route to the victory. With the score tied at 55-55 with just over five minutes left in the game, the Panthers reeled off nine unanswered points for a 64-55 lead with 2:53 left.

From that point, Claflin outscored Spring Hill 11-10 to the end.

In the third quarter, the Lady Panthers expanded a 32-30 halftime lead to 41-31 over the first 4-1/2 minutes, thanks to 9-1 run.

Things would go in a different direction for Claflin over the next four minutes as Spring Hill went on a 16-6 run to tie the contest at 47-47 with 1:33 left in the quarter. There would be no more scoring in the quarter.

After trailing 16-9 with just over one minute remaining in the first period, the Lady Panthers remained poised, maintaining striking distance behind the play of Stokes, who had seven points in the period.

The Lady Panthers pulled with five, 16-11, over the next minute and cut the margin to one, 16-15, as Williams and Asley Fields scored on consecutive baskets before time expired to end the first quarter of play.

In the second quarter, it was Williams, capping off a 12-7 Claflin run with a layup to give the Lady Panthers a 27-23 lead with 2:55 showing on the clock.

The two teams exchanged three-pointers on their next possession as Claflin maintained a three-point cushion at 30-26 at the 1:48 mark.

Spring Hill scored four of the last six points to trail 32-30 at intermission.

Claflin will take a break for the Christmas holiday and return to action Saturday, Dec. 30, against SIAC foe Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio.

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