PRINCESS ANNE, MD (November 14, 2021) – The Claflin Lady Panthers (0-1) showed a lot of fight, but the team struggled in the second half in a 73-57 road loss to the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks (1-1), Saturday afternoon. The Lady Panthers played a terrific first half of basketball, but the team ran into some second half struggles that proved costly in the tough loss.
The loss came despite some solid play by the Lady Panthers. The team gave a strong defensive effort in the game, holding their opponents to shooting just 38% (27-of-71) from their home floor and forcing 21 turnovers. Offensively, it was the Lady Panther bench that led the way for the team. Claflin freshman guard Janelle Sample led the way for the team with a team-high 16 points in the game. Senior guard Dionna Long added a double-double 14 points with 10 rebounds.
The first half saw a terrific performance from the Lady Panthers as the team kept that game within reach for the entire first two quarters. The Lady Panthers allowed a fast start to the Hawks as the team fell behind, 5-13 midway through the first quarter before ending the quarter with a 13-22 deficit. However, the Lady Panthers stormed back with a big second quarter effort. It was in the final minutes of the quarter when the Lady Panthers really showed their potential with a furious comeback effort. With 6:30 left in the quarter, the Lady Panthers trailed the Hawks, 19-30, but from there it was all Claflin. The Lady Panthers closed the quarter with a 14-5 run that included three three-pointers by the Lady Panthers. When freshman forward Morgan Kelson hit a pair of free throws with just 13 seconds left, the Lady Panthers went into the third quarter trailing by just two points, 33-35.
The second half told a different story as the Lady Panthers’ hot streak cooled down in the half. In the third quarter, both teams turned up their defensive efforts during the quarter. The Lady Panthers held the Hawks to just 16 points, but the effort came at a cost of their offense. For the quarter, the Lady Panthers managed to put up just eight points. The Lady Panthers allowed 11 unanswered points to the Hawks before a Long three-pointer broke the drought and left the team trailing, 36-44 with six minutes left in the quarter. The Lady Panthers were able to cut their deficit down to seven points after a three-pointer from Sample left the Lady Panthers trailing, 39-46, but the team would not get any closer as they closed the quarter trailing, 41-51. In the fourth quarter, the Lady Panthers were able to get their offense back into gear, but foul troubles hindered the Lady Panther defense as the team allowed the Hawks to score 22 points. The Lady Panthers were able to get a good start to the quarter, as a Sample jumper cut the Claflin deficit down to just six points, 47-53 with 7:44 left to play. However, the Lady Panthers would never get any closer as the team ended the day with the 73-57 loss.
With the loss, the Lady Panthers fall to 0-1. The team won’t have long to rest as the team will head to Augusta, Georgia to take on the Augusta Jaguars, Wednesday, November 17th.