Originally created 02/26/97

Paine women eliminated in Southern Conference Tournament



COLUMBUS - The Paine women dug too big a hole.

Clark Atlanta built a 17-point first-half lead and then survived a furious Paine comeback to take an 80-73 win in the first round of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament on Tuesday afternoon.

Kentucky State (22-5), which received a first-round bye as the SIAC West champion, will play Clark Atlanta in a women's quarterfinal matchup today at 3 p.m. in the Columbus Civic Center. Paine (14-13) concludes its season.

In the other women's game played Tuesday, Albany State (5-22) defeated Savannah State 64-31 to advance to today's 6:30 p.m. game against Alabama State (18-8).

Clark Atlanta (16-11) made six of its first seven shots in taking a 12-4 lead just 3:30 into the contest. The Panthers would build that lead to 17, 37-20, with 3:10 remaining in the first half and led 42-32 at intermission.

"The first 10 minutes of the ballgame we were sluggish," Paine coach Carol Washington said.

But Paine would rally in the second half and cut its deficit to 69-67 with 5:32 remaining. The Lions had an opportunity to tie but missed two shots and turned the ball over on a five-second call.

The Lions' opportunity to rally for the win was doomed at the 3:30 mark when a shot by Melissa Upton that would have cut a 71-68 deficit to one went down but came back out.

Clark's Shamika Elders went down and made an around-the-world layup to give her team an important four-point swing and a 73-68 lead with 3:14 remaining.

"Those are the breaks," said Washington of the four-point swing. "Hopefully, this experience will give them confidence and want to come back. This is the first time that they have been in a tournament. Melissa Scott is the only one who has been in a conference tournament."

Lorri Robinson led Paine with 21 points on 10-of-14 shooting. Melissa Upton added 20 points and 12 rebounds and reserve Rotavia Garvie scored 14 points off the bench. Paine shot 50 percent for the game (29-of-58) and 51.6 percent (16-of-31) in the second half.

Kisha Burns paced four Clark Atlanta players in double figures with 16 points.

This game marked the third meeting in less than a week between the two teams. Paine won at home on Feb. 19 and Clark won at home on Feb. 20 as the two teams played back-to-back nights to make up a game that was cancelled in January due to a roof leakage at Clark Atlanta.

PAINE (72)-Mary Singleton 0-0 0-0 0, Alexis Glenn 1-10 1-1 3, Shanee' Johnson 2-4 1-2 5, Rotavia Garvie 5-9 4-6 14, Charlene Rutland 0-0 0-0 0, Lorri Robinson 10-14 1-4 21, Demeka Leslie 1-3 0-0 2, Melissa Upton 7-15 6-11 20, Melissa Scott 1-1 1-2 3, Kristina Kohn 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 29-58 14-26 72.

CLARK ATLANTA (80)-Kisha Farmer 0-0 0-0 0, Adrienne Tinch 6-14 3-4 15, Anika Lee 0-0 0-0 0, Shimika Elder 3-7 2-3 8, Kerrie Davis 5-10 2-3 12, Joy Myers 0-0 0-0 0, Andrea Dickerson 0-1 0-0 0, Kisha Burns 7-12 2-5 16, Lauisha Rucker 7-17 0-2 15, Vanessa Nelms 2-4 0-0 6, Israya Fontain-Lee 3-6 2-2 8. Totals 33-71 11-19 80.

Halftime- Clark Atlanta, 42-32.

3-point goals: Paine 0-5 (Singleton 0-1, Glenn 0-3, Garvie 0-1), Clark Atlanta 3-6 (Rucker 1-3, Nelms 2-3) Rebounds: Paine 41 (Upton 12), Clark Atlanta 39 (Davis 10). Assists: Paine 14 (Johnson 4), Clark Atlanta 10 (Rucker 4). Turnovers: Paine 16, Clark Atlanta 20. Total Fouls: Paine 20, Clark Atlanta 22.