With a 2011 NCAA Division II National Championship win, six Peach Belt Conference championships, and four Peach Belt Conference Tournament Championship wins, and nine consecutive NCAAA Division II tournament appearances (2005, 2006, 2007,2008, 2009 2010,2011, 2012 2013), the Lady Lakers of Clayton State have definitely established themselves over the years as a dominate perennial powerhouse in NCAA Women’s Division II basketball. Despite the departure of former Head Coach Dennis Cox, who led the Lady Lakers to much success, indicated through a 2011 National Championship winning season, Clayton State nonetheless continue to have a great leader at the helm, in Interim Head Coach Kaleena Coleman. A former two time lettermen for the Lady Lakers herself, Coleman is in her first season as head coach despite serving as an assistant since graduating from the school in 2006.
Although replacing former Head Coach Dennis Cox, one of NCAA Division II’s most prolific winners, was no small tasks, the 2014-2015 Lady Lakers don’t seem to be troubled at all. Coach Coleman’s squad has won 5 out of 7 contests, and are on a 2 game winning streak after Wednesday’s 87-73 victory over Fort Valley State. Coleman’s Lady Laker’s are no doubt off to an explosive start, averaging 71.7 points per game, arguably bringing a brand of “show time” of their own to the South that is Division II basketball. Clayton State has also been dominate on the glass averaging 43.6 rebounds per game.
The Lady Lakers are led offensively by Senior forward Yishica Sims, a native of Jackson, GA, who is averaging 15.9 points per game in seven games played on the season. Sims average has benefited greatly from her ability to consistently rack up at the free throw line. Sims has shot quite reliably from the foul line with a 76.7 percent average on the season. Clayton’s State Junior Guard Kenisha Jones-Barrett has been impactful offensively for the Lady Lakers as well from the guard position averaging 11.3 points per game through seven contests along with a 5.4 assists average on the year. Moreover, Lady Laker’s Junior forward/center Daquena Moore has been a crucial force inside on the boards averaging 8.6 rebounds per game. Coach Coleman’s team has also been great at creating takeaways average 12.7 steals per game collectively.
Clayton State has been victorious in two straight contests and are in preparation to compete Friday December 5, ’14 through Saturday in the 2014 Heritage Bank Classic. This Clayton State Lady Laker’s ball club, despite having a new leader at the helm, has every indication of adding more victories to the program’s already storied history. If the teams continues to increase their chemistry as a unit, Coach Coleman’s Lady Lakers will no doubt be in contention for yet another Peach Belt Conference title.
Generro D. Walker