Lady Tigers Move into Top 25 of Basketball Poll
CLEMSON -- Upset enough top 10 teams and people eventually will take notice.
Such has been the case with Clemson’s women’s basketball team. The Lady Tigers are ranked at No. 20 in the new Associated Press Top 25 poll, which was released Monday.
It is their first foray into the poll this year, and marks the first time Clemson has been ranked in a national poll since the end of the 1998-99 season, when it finished tied for 10th in the AP poll and at No. 13 in the USA Today poll.
Clemson (8-2, 1-0 ACC) has upset victories over then No. 3 Duke and, most recently, last week’s 72-61 win over No. 9 Auburn. The Lady Tigers’ only defeats have come to then No. 25 Illinois in the season opener and to No. 2 Tennessee in the Maui Classic.
“The upsets over No. 3 and No. 9 probably got the attention of some people,” Clemson coach Jim Davis said Monday evening. ”A schedule as demanding as ours has helped us early in the year, and now we’ve got to continue to build on our pre-Christmas success. Everything we’ve done so far has been a tribute to our young ladies and the effort they’ve given.”
Clemson has won seven straight games behind a new, up-tempo offense and the same tenacious defense which has become a trademark of Davis-coached teams. Through 10 games only Tennessee has managed to shoot better than 50 percent from the field against the Lady Tigers.
“We usually hold teams to (shooting percentages) in the low 40s, and even 30s,” Davis said. “That’s what we try to get done. Our athleticism enables our on-the-ball defense to be that much better, and the girls are taking pride in their defense. They know if we play defense well, it creates scoring opportunities for us at the other end.”
Clemson has just two non-conference games remaining, Thursday’s home matchup with Wofford and Saturday’s trip to Winthrop.
After the New Year’s break, the Lady Tigers get back into Atlantic Coast Conference play with a Jan. 2 game at Maryland, the first of 15 consecutive ACC games to close the regular season.
Despite the daunting schedule, Davis doesn’t plan to use the new ranking as a motivational tactic.
“In all honesty I’ll never mention it,” he said. “All we’ll talk about is getting better each day.”