BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Kentucky State University Thorobrettes just missed out on a chance to advance to the semifinal round of the SIAC Basketball Championship Tournament, falling to Clark Atlanta, 72-69, in the quarterfinals Thursday at the Bill Harris Arena.
Kentucky State (12-15) started strong in both halves, but Clark Atlanta (19-8) never stopped pushing back and was able to secure the comeback win after KSU guard Taylor Sanders missed a potential game tying 3-point attempt as time expired.
The Thorobrettes were led by junior forward Brieona Warner, who dropped in a team-high 19 points while pulling down nine rebounds. Warner was limited by foul trouble and ended up fouling out with 1:07 remaining.
Sophomore guard Nandi Taylor handed out a season-high eight assists but also struggled against the CAU pressure, turning the ball over seven times.
Seniors Style Harper and LaShell West contributed with 12 and 10 points, respectively, in their final game as Thorobrettes.
With the game tied at 65-65, CAU guard Conisha Hicks scored the final seven points for the Lady Panthers who move on to face Albany State, the No. 1 seed in the East Division, in the semifinal round. Hicks finished with a game-high 24 points along with three assists and three steals.
KSU led 25-18 late in the first half after a layup by center Crystal Allen, but Clark Atlanta took over from there, going on an extended 21-6 run to finish the opening period. Clark Atlanta entered the locker room ahead of KSU, 39-31.
The Thorobrettes regrouped at halftime and slowly wore down the Lady Panthers in the second half.
At the 11:42 mark of the second half Warner converted a layup on an up-and-under move to give the Thorobrettes their first lead since the Lady Panthers went ahead, 29-28, with 4:34 left in the opening period.
That basket started a 17-7 run that put KSU up 65-56 with just over four minutes left in the contest.
CAU tied the game at 65 when Denissea Law converted a fast-break layup with 2:14 left.
After Harper hit the front end of a pair of free- throws for KSU, Hicks hit a 3-pointer and converted a pair of free throws in successive possessions to put CAU ahead 70-66 with just 1:07 left in the game.
West converted an and-one jumper to pull the Thorobrettes to within one at 70-69 with 51 seconds left.
After the Thorobrettes forced a shot-clock violation, KSU took possession with 27 seconds left.
Miscommunication led to a crucial turnover and CAU retook possession with just seven seconds remaining.
After a quick foul, Hicks hit a pair of free throws to extend the CAU lead to 72-69 with 5.4 seconds remaining.