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Langford scores 19 as women's basketball dominates Clayton State, 93-59

Langford scores 19 as women's basketball dominates Clayton State, 93-59

GREENWOOD – Destinee Langford scored 19 points as the Lander Bearcats built a 30-8 lead after one quarter and dominated Peach Belt Conference rival Clayton State 93-59 Tuesday night at Horne Arena.

Lander improved to 8-2 overall and 3-1 in the Peach Belt.

The Lakers fell to 4-5, 1-2.

"We had a 10-day layoff after the Converse game and we really needed that break to try and figure out who our team could be," said head coach Kevin Pederson. "We're starting to play defense and it's showing. We got up on Young Harris 22-7 and were up 30-5 tonight. Our starters were fantastic and it's going to be huge for us if we can continue to get balanced scoring on the offensive end."

The Bearcats have eight wins in their first 10 games for the first time since 2014-15 and the third time in the last eight seasons. Lander has won four straight in the series and has not lost to Clayton State at home since Feb. 2, 2013. 

The Bearcats forced 26 turnovers, scoring 39 points off turnovers.

Lander made 35 of 57 shots from the floor (61 percent) and out-rebounded the Lakers 37-25 while collecting 22 assists and 16 steals.

Langford made eight of 13 shots from the floor in leading all scorers with her 19 points. But she had plenty of support.

Chelsea Mitchell had an outstanding all-around game for the Bearcats with 18 points on seven of nine shooting, while adding nine rebounds, six assists and five steals.

Lander's Breshay Johnson posted her second double-double of the season with 17 points on six of nine shooting and 11 rebounds.

Christal Williams also scored 17 points for the Bearcats, making six of seven shots from the floor while scoring 11 of those points in the opening quarter.

Jessica Harris added 10 points and shared Lander team-high honors with six assists.

Takwana Bland hit a couple of late 3-pointers and wound up Clayton State's leading scorer with 11 points. Aleisha Merriweather and Tatiana Foster added 10 points apiece. Abreyln Rackley contributed eight points and a team-high seven boards for the Lakers while Mercedes Jenkins paced the visitors with five steals.

The Bearcats came out sizzling, making 13 of 20 shots (65 percent) from the floor in the first quarter including nine in a row while building their 30-8 lead.

Lander's defense forced 13 Laker turnovers in the opening period, collecting seven steals including two apiece by Mitchell and Williams.

After missing their first two shots of the game, the Bearcats hit nine consecutive. Mitchell scored on a put-back, Williams converted a steal into a layup, Langford scored twice in a row, Mitchell and Johnson converted in the paint, Williams knocked down a 3 and another basket, and Langford nailed a 3 for a 20-5 lead at the 4:23 mark.

Mitchell's jumper with 54 seconds left increased Lander's lead to 30-6, and it would be 30-8 after a quarter.

Clayton State outscored the Bearcats 15-12 in the second period but didn't make much of a dent into its deficit, trailing 42-23 at the break.

Williams hit an open 3 from the top of the key, Mitchell scored on a backdoor layup off a nice pass from Harris, and Johnson made one of two free throws for a 55-29 Lander lead with five minutes left in the third quarter.

The Lakers scored nine unanswered points including two baskets by Rackley to pull within 55-38 with 3:45 to go. But the Bearcats called a timeout and got four quick points from Langford to restore order.

Lander led 69-43 going into the final quarter.

The Bearcats built their first 30-point lead of the game when Langford's steal led to Destinee Webster's layup, making it 73-43 with 8:36 to go.

Mitchell stole a Clayton State pass and drove nearly the length of the floor for a layup, making it 83-49 inside the five-minute mark.

Lander took its largest lead of the game at 38 points, 89-51, with 3:28 left when Harris was fouled off a steal and made both free throws.