Lady Marauders lose to Clark Atlanta in final seconds of SIAC Championship
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – The Central State Lady Marauders came within one-point of its first SIAC Championship, losing 71-70 to Clark Atlanta on Saturday night.
The loss snapped a six game-winning streak for CSU, which fell to 23-6 overall. CAU, went from worst to first in the SIAC East Division, improved its record to 20-8.
CSU started the game off strong by shooting 64% from the field while building a 25-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. CAU tightened up defensively , holding CSU to just 13 points in the second quarter and cutting the deficit down to eight, 38-30, at halftime.
CSU maintained a healthy lead for the majority of the third quarter. Back-to-back baskets from freshman Brooke Spaulding gave CSU a 51-42 lead with 3:17 left in the third frame. Momentum shifted when CAU mounted a 9-0 run capped off by a Marrissa Mandeldove three-pointer to even up the score, 51-51. Mandeldove later gave CAU its first lead, 54-53, since the early stages of the game. Sierra Harley answered on the other end with a three-point make to put CSU up by two points headed into the final ten minutes of play.
Jaeda Davis scored CSU’s first five points of the fourth quarter to give her team a 61-57 lead at the 7:03 mark. Mandeldove tied the game back up with two makes from inside the paint. Courtney Hall put CAU ahead, 65-63, with 2:36 to play. At the 1:46 mark, Davis put CSU up, 66-65, on a make from beyond the arc. The teams continued to traded baskets down the stretch. Hall converted under the basket to give CAU a one-point edge with 30 seconds on the clock. With 14 seconds left, Davis made a midrange jumper to put CSU up, 70-69. Trailing by one, CAU went to its all-conference guard in Mandeldove, who drove the lane and hit the contested layup with 3 seconds left in what would prove to be the championship winning shot. On the final CSU possession, CAU came up with the game-sealing defensive stop to claim the title.
CSU committed 28 turnovers. CAU took advantage by scoring 22 points of CSU giveaways.
Mandeldove led all players with 23 points. Hall finished with 12 points and 8 rebounds.
Davis led the CSU scoring with 19 points. Spaulding finished with 17 points and six assists. Harley added nine points while collecting a season-high 14 rebounds.
Quotes from Coach LaTonya McDole
“We played extremely hard. Unfortunately, we just let this one get away from us.”
“Jaeda is a big time player and was tremendous for us tonight. She left it all out on the floor.”
“This team has worked hard. The growth from the beginning of the season until now has been off the charts. From a statistical standpoint, we have been ranked among the top teams in the nation in multiple of categories. Despite tonight’s result, I believe we are one of the top teams in all of NCAA Division II.”
CSU is 6-3 all-time in the SIAC Tournament dating back to 2016 with back-to-back SIAC Runner-Up results.
CAU swept CSU this season (2-0).
CSU is 13-3 away from Beacom/Lewis Gymnasium this season.
Sierra Harley was named to the SIAC All-Tournament Team.
Next Up – Selection Sunday
Earning the SIAC automatic bid, the Lady Marauder will await the NCAA Div. II Selection Committee’s announcement on Sunday, March 4 regarding tournament seeding and locations. For additional information and live coverage of the selection process, visit – https://www.ncaa.com/news/basketball-women/article/2018-03-01/ncaa-reveal-64-team-field-dii-womens-basketball