Lady Tigers advance! Westbrook scores 27 as Clemson pulls away in second half
|Friday, March 22, 2019, 9:12 PM-|
Danielle Edwards scored 17 second-half points to finish with 25 as No. 9 seed Clemson came back to defeat No. 8 South Dakota 79-66 in the first round of the NCAA Women’s Tournament in Starkville, Miss.
Simone Westbrook added a game-high 27 points for the Lady Tigers, who will advance to play the winner of Friday night’s game between No. 1 seed Mississippi St. and the 16th-seeded Southern Jaguars.
Clemson trailed by four at intermission but outscored the Coyotes 20-13 in the third quarter to begin pulling away. Clemson was 9-21 from beyond the arc and hit 8-12 free throws. Edwards led the Lady Tigers with eight rebounds.
Clemson led by three at 58-55 with just over five minutes to play when Edwards drained a 3-pointer for a six-point lead and then hit another 3-pointer on the fast break 30 seconds later to put the Lady Tigers ahead 64-55. Aliyah Collier then hit two free throws, Westbrook hit a layup and Collier hit two more free throws for a 70-55 lead with 3:20 to play.
The Coyotes were impressive early and led by as many as six early after Ciara Duffy hit a 3-pointer for a 19-13 lead late in the first quarter. South Dakota kept a working margin for most of the second quarter, but Westbrook hit a layup on the fast break with 57 seconds left in the first half and the Lady Tigers trailed 35-31 at intermission.
A 3-pointer gave South Dakota a 7-point lead early in the second half – at 40-33 – but Edwards started to get hot and hit a 3-pointer to bring Clemson within four at 40-36. The Coyotes eventually led by eight at 44-36, but the Lady Tigers went on a 7-0 run that ended with a 3-pointer by Westbrook for a 47-45 lead.
The Lady Tigers led by three at the end of the third quarter (51-48) and the Coyotes kept it close early, but Edwards and Westbrook helped Clemson pull away for the win.