by Erika Benton-Martin
Special to the NNPA from the Atlanta Daily World


Clark Atlanta’s Lady Panthers became champions on Saturday night in convincing fashion, defeating Benedict College’s Lady Tigers in a 75-58 point victory. The Lady Panthers were named the Women’s Champions in the 2013 SIAC Basketball Tournament played Saturday evening at Frank L. Forbes arena on the campus of Morehouse College.

Conisha Hicks was awarded Most Valuable Player of the SIAC Women’s Basketball Tournament. She led the Lady Panthers with game highs of 20 points, seven assists and five steals.

“I knew my teammates needed me,” said Hicks. “I stepped up to the ball and came through. I saw all these other teams celebrating their victories. I learned from the playoffs I played in my freshman year and my sophomore year and I wanted to feel that win.”

This is Clark Atlanta’s first SIAC Tournament Championship since 1999 and the fifth in school history.

“I am so proud of our ladies and especially our coaches and seniors,” Tamica Smith-Jones, Clark Atlanta’s Athletic Director, said. “They have prepared for this moment all season and put in the work to win.”

La’Quisha Lewis matched Hicks’ game highs, notching a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Both Lewis and Hicks were named to the all-tournament team.

But the Lady Tigers didn’t go down without a fight and for a minute it looked like the team would not just catch up, but maybe even win the game.

“We had a change of momentum in the second half,” said Clark Atlanta head coach Vanessa Moore. “I knew the other team was going to come back fighting so there was a lot of pressure on our defense, especially the guards.”

London Richardson of Benedict College led the team with game highs of 18 points and eight rebounds. Monique Weathers also had 13 points. Both players were also named to the all-tournament team.

Moore was also awarded Most Outstanding Coach in the SIAC Basketball Tournament.

“I knew that we had a good team. There was never a doubt,” Moore said. “Every time we walked off the floor, we earned a little bit more respect.”

The Lady Panthers will now compete in the NCAA South Regional Women’s Basketball Tournament. This is the university’s first trip to the big dance since 2009.