Pacers Capture First PBC Tournament Championship!
COLUMBUS, Ga. – USC Aiken (26-3) trailed just once during the 2012 Peach Belt Conference Championship Game against Clayton State University (28-3) as the Pacers captured their first Tournament Championship in program history. The Pacers have been in the PBC Championship game in three of the last four seasons but used a 57.9 percent shooting first half to take a 10-point lead into halftime and never looked back as they lead the rest of the way.
USCA was led by tournament MVP Hannah DeGraffinreed who scored a game-high 18 points. Kayla Harris also added a huge double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Clayton State was led by Keona Dixon who had 15 points while Tanisha Woodard chipped in 11. Kayla Mobley led the Lakers on the glass with eight rebounds.
Kayla Harris hit a layup to open the game to give USCA the early lead but Woodard answered with a three to give Clayton their only lead of the game at the 19:27 mark of the first half. The Pacers responded with 11-straight to take a 13-3 lead with 14:30 left in the half. Clayton cut the lead to four on a Mobley jumper with 13:14 to play but USCA had the answer in a Lindsay Sundberg three-pointer on the very next possession. The Pacers would increase their lead to as much as 11 at the 6:52 mark as Daniela Tarailo hit a jumper to give USCA a 24-13 lead.
The Lakers once again cut the lead to four with 3:56 left but the Pacers again responded to increase their lead to 10 as the half expired, 30-20.
The Pacers shot 57.9 percent from the field in the first half and connected on 50 percent of their three-point attempts. The Lakers shot just 24.2 percent from the field and a dismal 12.5 percent from the three-point arc.
USCA opened the second half with a small run to increase its lead to 16 points but the Lakers were able to whittle it down to just four with 9:18 to play. Just minutes late a layup by Shannon Smith cut the lead to just one but the Pacers once again responded with a small 4-0 run to build a cushion. The Lakers pulled within two with 1:16 left on the clock but three free throws down the stretch ended the Lakers hopes of a championship as the Pacers won 52-47.
The Pacers shot 36.4 percent from the field in the second half and just 16.7 percent from three-point land. The Lakers increased their shooting to 40 percent but it was not enough to dig out of the first half hole.
The Pacers secure the PBC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament while the Lakers and the rest of the Southeast Region will wait for the tournament field to be announced later on this evening.
Brittni Johnson, Lander
Domonique Washington, UNC Pembroke
Tanisha Woodard, Clayton State
Kayla Mobley, Clayton State
Kayla Harris, USC Aiken
Hannah DeGraffinreed, USC Aiken