With his sleeves rolled up on his white dress shirt, Nate Teymer roamed the sideline yelling, screaming, cajoling – doing everything he could to get his players back in tune.
His words fell silent.
Drameka Griggs scored 18 of her 24 points in the second half as No. 3 Clayton State roared back Thursday night to upend No. 23 Augusta State, 67-54, at Christenberry Fieldhouse.
The Lady Jaguars lost their second consecutive top-25 matchup after falling to No. 4 USC Aiken on a buzzer-beater Saturday. This time, Augusta State led by 18 early in the second half only to watch it all fall apart against the Peach Belt Conference–leading Laker women (21-0, 14-0).
“Any loss hurts, but this one really hurts because we were in control of our destiny,” Teymer said. “This one was an accumulation of mistakes that added up to our loss.”
Augusta State proved it has vastly improved since suffering a 112-43 defeat – the worst loss in school history – to Clayton State two seasons ago. Still, the Lady Jaguars, who allowed the Laker women to shoot 52 percent from the field in the second half, showed they’re not yet at the Peach Belt elite level with Clayton State and USC Aiken.
“It’s a definite almost, but we’re not there yet,” Teymer said. “We’re knocking on the door. We’re close. But we’re not in the same category with them. We’ve got to step up and beat these teams.”
With seven games remaining in the regular season (five on the road), Augusta State (15-4, 8-4) must regroup if it wants to make a push at a Division II Tournament berth. The Lady Jaguars are seeking their first postseason berth in five years.
“That’s something we think about a lot,” said junior guard Becky Newhouse, who scored 11 points. “To get there, we’re going to have to pick up our slack and play better.”
Augusta State seemed prime for the biggest upset in school history when it started rolling in the first half. With Griggs on the bench with two fouls, the Lady Jaguars snapped off a 22-4 run. Brittany White swished three of four free throws to stake Augusta to a 34-19 lead.
Newhouse scored on a layup early in the second half to extend half to extend the lead to 18. But Griggs found her rhythm, helping fuel a 24-6 run with eight points as Clayton State tied the game at 45. Griggs then
reeled off seven points to put her team up three.
“We’ve got to maintain our lead, keep our composure and not give up,” said Lady Jaguars guard Tanchelle Hollingsworth, who led Augusta with 14 points. “We’ve got to play one possession at a time.”
With Augusta State trailing 56-52 with 4:18 remaining, Ayers went to the line for a 1-and-1 opportunity. She missed the front end, Clayton grabbed the rebound and the Lady Jaguars never recovered.
Augusta State committed 13 of it 20 turnovers in the second half.