Special Photo by Kevin Liles
Clayton State forward Kayla Mobley (No. 32) tries to score over two Limestone defenders during Monday’s Southeast Regional win to advance to the Elite Eight.
MORROW — Is Clayton State senior Kayla Mobley playing her best basketball during the championship tournament?
The answer will vary depending on who you ask, but the evidence points to a definitive yes.
It has been evident in the way Mobley has been playing throughout the Peach Belt Conference and NCAA Div. II tournaments. She has raised her level of play in the past six games as the top-ranked Lakers have advanced to the Elite Eight in San Antonio, Texas.
On the season, the Clearwater, Fla., native averaged 11.3 points and 7.5 rebounds, which has been aided by averaging 17.6 points and 8.1 rebounds in the six tournament games.
She was named the Southeast Regional Tournament MVP after Monday’s finals after averaging 21 points and 10 rebounds in wins over Mount Olive, USC Aiken and Limestone to advance to Tuesday’s Elite Eight game against Augustana.
“This is my last year, and I’m leaving it all on the court,” said Mobley, who was a member of Clayton State’s 2011 national championship team.
“Winning that MVP award is a blessing,” she said. “I don’t think I’ve really gotten that recognition. I’m on a mission.”
After seeing his team surrender 17 points and 12 rebounds to Mobley in Monday’s Southeast Regional loss to Clayton State, Limestone coach Corey Fox walked away with a positive impression.
“She is an outstanding player,” he said during his postgame interview. “She was definitely a tough matchup for us. Clayton State has so many threats. She has been unbelievable in this tournament. It seems she got every rebound.”
As the Lakers advance to the next round, there are higher expectations on Mobley.
“Kayla is playing really well,” Lakers guard Keona Dixon said. “I’ve seen her play better, but she is definitely doing well now.”
Mobley has been the perfect compliment to conference player of the year and All-American Drameka Griggs. With Griggs showcasing her ability to score from both inside and outside, Mobley has been a steady performing in the low post.
“She has been rebounding really well,” Clayton State coach Dennis Cox said. “All our post players are making big contributions.”