"We just coming off a thumping at Cecil," said HCC coach Marlys Palmer. "Tonight we played good team ball."
The Hawks (7-3) found their game by battling on the inside with a Clark State team that seemed to be equally as physical. HCC kept pulling away, only to have the Eagles work back into the game.
The game was knotted at 37-37 after Clark State's Jessica Threats hit a foul shot with 15:47 remaining. HCC brought the ball up on the run and hit Cain just to the right of the top of the arc, where she hit a 3-pointer to put the Hawks ahead.
"Once I hit that first shot, I got my confidence," said Cain, a freshman from Southern Fulton. "Then I felt like I could drain them all to get the team to the win. If I'm on and I have my confidence, I know I can do it. But if I stop shooting, I lose my confidence because I don't feel like I'm doing anything to help the team."
Cain's bomb started opening up the floor for the Hawks, who rode the inside game of Cristi Bartlett and the slashing moves of Jamie Robinson to stay in the game.
Cain finished the run that gave HCC the separation it needed with a lay-up, a short jumper and another 3-pointer in a 66-second span to help HCC to a 12-point lead.
"It was more a product of (Clark State) losing Cain," Palmer said. "They tried to stay with her because she's a shooter but they were so busy triple-teaming Bartlett, they left her get open because she was moving around. They were following Bartlett and they lost her."
Clark State closed to within 67-60 with 2:59 remaining on three straight baskets by Eckqurannia Newland off the bench. But Robinson and Cain scored four points each to move HCC back out to a 75-62 lead to ice the game.
"In the first half, we had too many turnovers," Palmer said. "We had 16 in the first half - mostly on traveling on the inside - and some of them were on buckets that we had called back. We were looking for a little spark in the second half."
HCC held a 31-29 lead at intermission and started Heidi Stull to add the spark. Then Palmer turned to the bench for extra help.
"Stull plays good defense," Palmer said. "Marisa Elliot played well after coming back from her bad ankle and this was probably the best game that Lindsey Plotner has played for us."
Cain finished with 20 points - 14 in the second half - while Bartlett had 14 points and 15 rebounds. Robinson added 16 points and nine rebounds while Elliot dished out six assists coming off the bench.
Ashley Mattimore led Clark State with 21 points while Ashlee Smith had 20.
"We had some good team play," Palmer said. "Everyone was getting us a bucket when we needed it."