Lady Tigers Down Virginia, 78-71

by - Correspondent -
  Print   | TigerNetcom Facebook ClemsonTigerNet Twitter TigerNet RSS Feed

CLEMSON - Eight has been the magic number for Atlantic Coast Conference teams in the postseason of late. If form holds true, Clemson's women may have secured a spot in the NCAA tournament by reaching that figure.

The Lady Tigers overcame shaky free throw shooting - as well as losing a double-digit lead - Thursday night to knock off Virginia, 78-71, at Littlejohn Coliseum. It was the team's second straight win on the heels of a four-game losing streak.

The victory improved Clemson to 17-8 on the season, but more importantly 8-6 in the ACC, which guarantees Jim Davis' club no less than a .500 conference record.

The last ACC team to finish with a league record of at least 8-8 and not make the NCAA tournament was North Carolina in 1996.

Asked if he felt the victory assured Clemson of an NCAA bid, Davis was cautiously optimistic.

"I don't believe there are any assurances, but I feel better than I did," he said. "Seventeen wins with the schedule we play, I feel good about it.

"The bottom line is, and I told the girls in the locker room, I'm pretty hard to please. I want more. I want these next two regular-season wins and a four-game winning streak going into the ACC tournament."

The victory didn't come easy.

With Erin Batth and Nuria Forns battling foul trouble in the second half, Virginia quickly erased a nine-point halftime deficit (38-29). Three interior baskets by Schuye LaRue and a pair of 3-pointers by Telisha Quarles sparked a 14-4 Virginia run in the opening 4:07 of the second half, giving the Lady Cavs their first lead of the night, 43-42.

But as she would all evening long, Clemson point guard Krystal Scott responded on the next possession with a driving layup that put her team back on top, 44-43. Virginia would never lead again, thanks in large part to Scott's ability to beat the defender off the dribble, drive through the paint and hit tough, running layups.

She hit one such drive with 12:53 left to give her team a 50-47 lead, and three minutes later did it again to put Clemson up 57-53.

Finally, for good measure, Scott hit a running bank shot in the paint with 1:42 remaining to give the Lady Tigers a 70-62 advantage.

"She played very well tonight, and we didn't handle the penetration very well," said Virginia coach Debbie Ryan. "That's really what she does best...We usually play that fairly well. I thought we were getting plenty of scoring, we just weren't stopping the penetration."

Scott's final basket proved huge moments later when missed Clemson free throws allowed Virginia to throw a scare into the Littlejohn Coliseum crowd, edging as close as four points, 73-69, with 42 seconds to go.

But Andrea Gaines and Marci Glenney finally restored order by each hitting two free throws in the final 23 seconds to seal the victory.

"This is the same team that hit 21-of-23 free throws in our last game against Wake Forrest, and tonight we shot 21-of-39," Davis said. "We're the leading free throw percentage team in the ACC, and tonight we miss 18 free throws. Go figure."

Chrissy Floyd led four Lady Tigers in double figures with 18 points, followed by Scott with 17, Glenney with 14 and Batth with 12.

LaRue topped Virginia (16-11, 7-7) with 19, while Svetlana Volnaya added 17.

Clemson plays its final home game of the season at 7 p.m. Monday, hosting Georgia Tech.

Dan Scott is the managing editor of Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Daily Messenger.
His columns can be read at

Send Feedback to Dan Scott: Email | Comment
  Print   | TigerNetcom Facebook ClemsonTigerNet Twitter TigerNet RSS Feed
Clemson makes cut for nation's No. 1 WR
Clemson makes cut for nation's No. 1 WR
Clemson rolls on road at BC
Clemson rolls on road at BC
Clemson clinches series in doubleheader opener win
Clemson clinches series in doubleheader opener win
WATCH: Lee and players on series win over South Alabama
WATCH: Lee and players on series win over South Alabama
Sign Up for E-Mail News Alerts
Daily Digest