BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The Claflin University women's basketball team outscored Lane College 22-6 in the second quarter en route to defeating the Dragons 68-51 in the opening round of the 2018 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference basketball tournament.
The tournament will run through Saturday at the Bill Harris Arena inside the Birmingham Crossplex in Birmingham, Ala.
Dominique Williams led all scorers with 19 points. Ashley Fields finished the game with 18 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and five steals. Claflin (16-12) had three players to finish in double-figures as Jhanice Stokes dropped in 14 points off the bench. Stokes also pulled in eight rebounds.
Joy Okeke contributed nine points and eight rebounds in the win.
Lane was led by Destiny Irvin with 18 points, all coming from behind the three-point arc. Mariah Hopkins had a double-double with 10 points and game-high 12 rebounds. Antrice McCoy had 10 points for the Dragons, who finished the season with a 5-22 record.
Lane scored the first six points of the third period but Claflin quickly regained the momentum. The Lady Panthers scored the next eight. The Dragons did manage to outscore Claflin 15-13 in the third quarter but still trailed 55-33 heading into the final stanza.
The Dragons outscored Claflin 14-2 over the first six-plus minutes of the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 10, 57-47. That was the closest Lane could get as Claflin rattled off the next seven points to push its lead back to 17, 64-47. Both teams scored four points the rest of the way.
"I felt we had great control of the game in the first half and in the second half we came out a little shaky and lost focus,” said head coach Revonda Whitley. “We had a goal setting meeting a couple of weeks ago focused on was second-chance points and points off turnovers and today we did a good job at both.”
Williams hit a layup to open the scoring in the game. Lane followed with a basket at the 8:30 mark before Claflin went on a 7-0 run for the 9-2 lead at the 6:10 mark. Irvin hit a three-pointer to stop the run but Williams answered with a three-pointer to push the lead to 14-5. The Lady Panthers owned a 20-12 lead after one.
Claflin maintained the aggression to start the second. The Lady Panthers opened the period with a 10-4 run to lead 30-16 before holding Lane to just two points for the rest of the quarter.
Claflin will play LeMoyne-Owen, the No. 2 seed in the West Division, at 2 p.m. EST Thursday.
“We’ve learned a lot since we played LeMoyne-Owen, especially about our defense, and plus we have multiple scorers who have more confidence and understand their roles a lot more than they did in November. So we will be able to be ready for LeMoyne-Owen,” Whitley said.