by Mark Jagord, sports information assistant
MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – The Georgia College women's basketball team (15-8, 8-8 PBC) played even ball for the first half before falling to Clayton State University (18-5, 13-3 PBC), 72-59 Wednesday at the Centennial Center. Junior Enisha Donley (Loganville, Ga.) led the team and matched a career-high in points she set Monday against this same Lakers team.
Donley scored 26 points for the second time in the last three days, but didn't have a supporting cast to finish off West first-place Clayton State, who have won their last 10 games. Freshman LaRice Walker (Franklin, Ga.) just missed her first double-double, leading the Bobcats in rebounds with nine while adding 16 points.
"Our execution was off tonight," said head coach Maurice Smith. "Credit Clayton, they really smothered us on the defensive side."
Only four Bobcats scored from the floor with senior Brandi McKinney (Cincinnati) accounting for seven points and junior Shanteona Keys (Roswell, Ga.) adding nine to round out the Georgia College scoring.
The Lakers got out to a double-digit lead about midway through the first half 23-12, but the Bobcats responded with a 13-4 run to get within a bucket at 27-25. A three-point shot by Walker at the buzzer brought the teams even at 33 at the break.
Georgia College took its first lead since the opening minutes of the game when Keys hit a free throw almost two minutes into the second. The teams would play even ball for the first five minutes of the second half with three ties before Clayton State would pull away with a 12-3 run and a 12-point lead. The Lakers were able to maintain a double-digit lead almost the entire time after that until the final horn.
The Bobcats were out-shot from the floor 46-30 percent, and from beyond the arc 33-10 percent. Georgia College had the edge from the free-throw line 70-67 percent, hitting 26-of-37 shots.
The Lakers were led by Bena Hanyard's 28 points, while Tweety Hawkins added 13. Andrea Benford had a game-high 10 rebounds.
Georgia College moves to 8-8 in conference play, remaining in fifth in a tough Peach Belt Conference West Division. The top four in the division advance to the PBC Tournament in March.
The Bobcats will next travel to the University of Montevallo Saturday, Feb. 22 for a PBC tilt starting at 2:30 p.m.
The Georgia College Department of Athletics, two-time winners of the PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 11 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, Bobcat Athletics prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the teams' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at @GCBobcats on Twitter and Facebook for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit GCBobcats.PhotoReflect.com to purchase photo prints from home athletic contests.