CLEMSON - When Clemson beat N.C. State on Jan. 9 at Littlejohn Coliseum, the victory was the 354th of Jim Davis' career with the Lady Tigers.
He had no idea the 355th wouldn't come for almost two months.
Having lost 12 straight games since defeating the Wolfpack, Clemson finally cracked the win column again. They did so Thursday night, riding a sterling performance by freshman point guard Tasha Taylor to a 58-49 lead over visiting Georgia Tech.
"I'm so happy for these kids," Davis said. "We've had a lot of bad luck, even tonight, but they never quit. Everything finally came together for them, and now maybe that they know that they can win again more good things will happen."
Taylor, quietly emerging as Clemson's floor leader as a freshman, paced the Lady Tigers 8-18, 2-11 ACC) with a double-double - 13 points and 10 assists. She added five rebounds and only committed one turnover in 39 minutes of play.
More importantly, as Georgia Tech (13-12, 4-9) tried to get back in the game by applying full court pressure down the stretch, Taylor was able to beat the pressure off the dribble and hit four huge free throws inside the final two minutes.
"She's something special," Davis said. "And the thing that goes unnoticed is she had to guard (Chioma) Nnamaka on the other end of the floor because we didn't have anyone else to play her. So she was busting it on both ends of the floor, and she did a great job."
Nnamaka scored 20 points to take game-high honors, but did it on 7-of-26 shooting.
She was the only Yellow Jacket to reach double figures, as Clemson's defense held Georgia Tech to just 31.6 percent (18-of-57) shooting for the evening.
Georgia Tech came into the game having gone 8-0 on the season when holding opponents to less than 50 points, and 12-2 when holding them under 60.
Early on, it appeared the trend might hold true. Tech kept the pace slow throughout the first half and trailed Clemson just 22-21 at the break.
But the Lady Tigers were able to build a 10-point lead twice during the second half, and Georgia Tech never got closer than four points down the stretch.
D'Lesha Lloyd led Clemson with 15 points, while Amanda White added 11 and Maxienne White 10.
Julie Talley, the Lady Tigers starting off guard, was forced to leave the game midway through the second half after banging knees with a Tech player. She was helped off the floor, but later returned to the bench wearing an ice pack on her right knee.
Early reports said the knee was just bruised, but she was due for further examination today.
Clemson is back in action at 7 p.m. Monday, closing out the regular season at N.C. State.
Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Messenger and TigerNet. He also hosts SportsTalk from 9 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.