Itoro Coleman insists that it's not freshman Nikki Dixon's role to lead Clemson's Lady Tigers in scoring.
But Coleman saw it as a positive sign that Dixon did that, and more, in a 21-point performance that paced the Clemson women's basketball team to a 72-62 victory over Davidson Friday night in the season opener for both teams at Littlejohn Coliseum.
It was a freshman-powered performance by the Lady Tigers, who got 41 of their 72 points from players making their collegiate debuts.
In addition to Dixon's 21 points, point guard Chelsea Lindsay scored 10 and Kelly Gramlich added seven, including a pair of first-half three-pointers that helped Clemson keep pace early.
Dixon - who is considered to be one of the team's best on-the-ball defenders - complemented her scoring with five rebounds, five assists and two steals, while Lindsay had four rebounds, four assists and four steals. Both players started in the Clemson backcourt, while fellow freshmen Gramlich, Natiece Ford and Deja Hawkins came off the bench.
Also playing a major role for the Lady Tigers off the bench was sophomore Quinyotta Pettaway, who had 12 points, eight rebounds and three steals.
"We played hard," said Coleman. "We weren't always efficient, but I loved the way we got after loose balls and really started fighting.
"We've got to learn to put two halves together and we've got to fix our rebounding, but with such a young team, those things are going to happen. Mainly I just really enjoyed watching how we competed."
The Lady Tigers trailed by as many as six points in the opening minutes against the Wildcats, but erased the deficit with back-to-back three-pointers by Dixon and Gramlich for a 15-15 tie.
Clemson grabbed the lead, 24-23, on a layup by Pettaway with 4:48 left in the first half and never trailed again.
The Lady Tigers finished the first half with a 12-4 scoring run, for a 34-27 lead, and then extended the margin to 20, 53-33, with a 19-6 streak to open the second half.
Davidson scored the final seven points to trim the final margin to 10.
Clemson outshot the Wildcats 43 percent to 37.7 percent, while Davidson had a 41-38 edge on the boards. Clemson forced 26 turnovers, but committed 20.