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Naomi Holloway Nets 17 As Clark Atlanta Defeats Miles 60-54 to Advance to SIAC Tournament Semifinals (1443 hits)

Box Score Clark Atlanta University Head Coach Yolanda Moore warned her team that Miles College wouldn't be an easy opponent, even as the No. 1 seeded Lady Panthers already had defeated Miles twice already this season.

Wednesday, they found out first hand as Miles battled CAU tough, leading as late as the third quarter before the Lady Panthers seized control and beat Miles 60-54 in the quarterfinals of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament in Birmingham, Ala. Miles ends their season with a 9-21 record, three of those losses to CAU.

"It went exactly as I thought it would go," said Moore. "I knew coming in that it's conference tournament time, it's a new season. Everybody has new energy, a new focus and a new hunger and I knew it wasn't going to be an easy game. Miles came out with a really good game plan and they executed well offensively and defensively. They were able to get us out of what we wanted to offensively with their zone."

Clark Atlanta (18-8) trailed much of the first half, hitting only 29 percent of their shots as they were behind 24-21 at halftime.

But in the second half, Naomi Holloway, who led Clark Atlanta with 17 points, eclipsed Miles' one-point lead with a layup with 6:45 remaining in the third quarter, erasing the Lady Golden Bears final lead of the game. Miles tied the game at 37-37 on a Jasmine Hollis free throw with 1:34 left in the quarter.

The Lady Panthers turned up the offense and led by eight after Marissa Mandeldove's jumper with 9:06 left gave CAU a 47-39 lead. Three minutes later, Hollis hit a 3-pointer to pull Miles within one, but Courtney Hall's basket, followed by a Kiyanna Johnson 3-pointer pushed the Clark Atlanta lead back out to six points with five minutes left. The Lady Panthers held on from there to get the win.

Holloway finished with 17 points, three rebounds, an assist and two steals for CAU while Lauren Turner had 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Mandeldove and Johnson both finished with 11 points, with Mandeldove dishing out five assists and Johnson grabbing four rebounds.

"My focus was on defense because the ball wasn't really going our way on offense," Mandeldove said. "So the focus was defense is everything because defense wins championships and it motivated us on the offensive end, because we played good defense. So the points were just a reflection of the defense that we played."

Miles Head Coach Phillip Wallace Jr. said his team's game plan nearly worked Wednesday.

"We took a lot of things away that they used against us in the previous two games," he said. "Their post people tried to keep us out of the lane and was like obstructing the middle of the game. So, we tried to play a little fast on the perimeter and make them guard us, and that seemed to work. But when we made runs and took leads, they were able to maintain the lead for whatever reason. I think they did a good job of trying to push the tempo during critical points in the game.

"I thought we were in a good position to win, but we just made some mistakes when the game was on the line," he said.

For Clark Atlanta, the focus now shifts to Friday when the Lady Panthers take on the winner of Thursday's LeMoyne-Owen vs. Claflin game in the tournament's semifinal round.

"We have a game coming up and it's where I want our focus to be," Moore said. "We have to take the positives from [the Miles game] and look at how we recovered and got back to doing the things that Clark Atlanta does in the second half. And just know it's going to be a dogfight every single night. They are hungry just like we are hungry. Everybody came into this tournament with one thing in mind, and that's winning a championship.

"It comes down to who wants it more," she said. "The team that wants it more, they're going to do the little things. They are going to stay disciplined. They're going to stay poised. They're going to stay together and they're going to execute."

Players Mentionedž 

Marissa Mandeldove

#1 Marissa Mandeldove
G / 5' 5" / Senior
Lauren Turner

#13 Lauren Turner
G-F / 6' 0" / Senior
Kiyanna Johnson

#22 Kiyanna Johnson
G / 5' 3" / Senior
Naomi Holloway

#23 Naomi Holloway
G / 5' 6" / Freshman
Courtney Hall

#24 Courtney Hall
C / 6' 2" / Sophomore

Posted By: Elly Moss
Thursday, March 1st 2018 at 12:56AM
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