USC Aiken women are part of a marquee matchup against Clayton State

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Head coach Mike Brandt will understand if a sell-out crowd doesn’t welcome his team this evening.

But if there’s ever been a reason for the Aiken community to support the USC Aiken women, it’s for the top game in Division II tonight.

The third-ranked Lady Pacers play host to No. 4 Clayton State at 5:30 p.m. at the USC Aiken Convocation Center – the first top-five matchup in USC Aiken women’s history. The men’s game follows at 7:30.

“I know it’s tough for a lot of people to get off work and get there at 5:30,” Brandt said. “Hopefully, we’ll get as many as we can.”

This clash of the Peach Belt Con­ference titans pits the Laker women (13-0), the 2011 Division II national champions, against a Lady Pacers squad (12-0) looking to extend its 25-game regular season home winning streak. USC Aiken’s last home defeat came at the hands of Clayton State on Jan. 15, 2011.

“They’re obviously an excellent basketball team and they always have been,” said Brandt, who is 7-9 all-time against the Lakers. “This is going to be a great challenge for us.”

Clayton State features the league’s third-leading scorer in guard Drameka Griggs, who’s averaging 19.1 points a game on 55 percent shooting.

Griggs (52 steals) also leads a defense that’s recorded league-bests in blocks (95) and opponent scoring (51.0 points a game).

USC Aiken counters with All-American junior forward and Peach Belt fourth-leading scorer Kayla Harris (18.8 points, 7.2 rebounds) and senior guard Daniela Tarailo (15.2 points, league-best 41 3-pointers).


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