COLUMBIA – The Claflin University women’s basketball made a strong push in the fourth quarter but came up just short as they fell to Benedict, 71-67, in a Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) East Division contest in HRC Arena.
With the loss, the Lady Panthers fall to 13-12 overall and 9-6 in the SIAC while the win pushes Benedict to 8-15 overall and 8-7.
Dominique Williams came off to score a team-high 15 points including 10 points in the fourth quarter.
Claflin had three players to finish in double-figures as Jhanice Stokes dropped in 12 and Joy Okeke had 10.
Ashley Fields contributed nine points with a game-high eight rebounds and seven assists in the loss.
Benedict was led by Mikeisha Moore who had a game-high 16 points. Ay’Anna Bey scored 11 points with seven rebounds and Shirvel Luke pulled in a game-high eight rebounds in the win.
Claflin saw themselves down by 20, 40-20, at intermission. After seeing the lead go to 21 by the end the three (58-37), the Lady Panthers offense came to life in the final stanza.
Claflin opened the fourth period with a 12-2 run to cut the deficit to 11, 60-49, with 6:25 remaining in the game. The Lady Panthers kept chipping away over the next five minutes pulling to within four, 68-64, with just over one minute remaining.
Deja Dickens hit a three-pointer with 48 seconds remaining to cut the lead to one, 68-67, but Benedict countered with a layup just 13 seconds later for the three-pointer advantage. Williams barely missed a three-pointer with 10 seconds remaining and Bey connected on one-of-two free-throws to seal the win for the Lady Tigers.
Claflin jumped out to fast start, owning a 9-2 lead by the 6:29 mark of the first quarter. Benedict outscored the Lady Panthers 16-2 over the remainder of the quarter for the 18-11 lead heading into the second.
The Lady Tigers maintained the momentum to start quarter two, opening with a 9-2 to take a commanding 21-13 lead. Benedict kept pushing while remaining solid defensively through the remainder of half en route to the twenty point lead at intermission.
Claflin will host Benedict Feb. 17 for senior day. Tip-off is at 1:30 p.m. with the senior presentation occurring between the women’s and men’s game.