Lady Tigers find winning touch in 87-58 rout of Jacksonville

Nikki Dixon scores career-high 25 points to lead Clemson women to first victory of season

Clemson's Nikki Dixon, center, runs up court on a fast break during their NCAA women's college basketball game against Davidson at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson, S.C. on Friday, Nov. 11, 2011. Dixon scored 21 points Clemson won the season opener, 72-62. (AP Photo/Anderson Independent-Mail, Mark Crammer)

Photo by Mark Crammer

Clemson's Nikki Dixon, center, runs up court on a fast break during their NCAA women's college basketball game against Davidson at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson, S.C. on Friday, Nov. 11, 2011. Dixon scored 21 points Clemson won the season opener, 72-62. (AP Photo/Anderson Independent-Mail, Mark Crammer)

Five Clemson players scored in double-figures and the Lady Tigers shot .508 in an 87-58 win over Jacksonville (3-4) on Sunday afternoon in Littlejohn Coliseum.

Nikki Dixon had a career-high 25 points (9-16 FG, 7-9 FT) and nine rebounds for the Lady Tigers, who shot their highest percentage from the floor since Jan. 30, 2011.

"I just thought it was a great team win,” said Itoro Coleman, who led their Tigers to a win in the first all-time meeting with the Dolphins. “Any time we see the zone, in the past, we would have settled for passing the ball around the perimeter. I thought we did a good job of getting the ball inside, whether it was the high post or off the dribble or the short corner. We really took advantage of our height on the inside."

Clemson blocked 11 shots, shot 23-38 (.605) in the paint, and outrebounded the Dolphins en route to taking control of the paint.

Joining Dixon in double-figures were Jonquel Jones (15 pts, 7-10 FG, 1-2 FT), Kelly Gramlich (13 pts, 5-7 FG, 3-5 3FG), Quinyotta Pettaway (12 pts, 4-10 FG, 4-7 FT), and Danaejah Grant (12 pts, 3-11 FG, 5-6 FT). Eighteen of Dixon’s 25 came in the second half as the sophomore hit 9-16 from the field overall, and 7-9 from the line.

Jones and Pettaway each added double-doubles as well. Jones had 11 boards, her third double-double of the season, and her fourth game of the season in double-figures rebounding. She also finished with a team-high five blocks, giving her 15 on the season. She entered the game ranked sixth in the ACC in shot blocking and fifth in rebounding.

Pettaway had a career-best 14 boards, and also added five assists in her fifth career double-double. She did see her consecutive free throws made streak end at 12, as she had led the league coming into the game.

Clemson point guard Aisha Turner and Chelsea Lindsay combined for nine assists and no turnovers in 40 combined minutes. Turner also added seven points and three steals. On the season, she’s now recorded 14 assists against just four turnovers in 94 minutes.

Perhaps the most impressive part of Clemson’s victory was the ability to capitalize off Jacksonville’s mistakes. The Dolphins turned it over just 13 times, but Clemson converted those for 23 points, nearly 1.77 points per turnover. The Tigers had 16 points on the fast break, and had 46 points in the paint.

Clemson led from the outset, their only deficit coming less than five minutes in at the 15:29 mark of the first half, when the Dolphins took a 9-8 lead, while they held for 14 seconds before Jones finished a Pettaway pass to give the Tigers the lead for good. Leading 24-21 with 8:53 to play, the Tigers went on an 8-0 run to take a 32-21 lead. Jones had two layups during the run, while Pettaway and Gramlich each hit shots as well.

Clemson went into the break ahead 40-31, their second straight game entering intermission with a lead. Clemson was 14-28 from the floor, and held Jacksonville to a 14-40 (.350) mark.

The Lady Tigers’ second half was one of their most complete of the season. They outscored the Dolphins 47-27, shot .514 percent, and held JU to .333 shooting. Clemson turned it over just five times in the half.

Pettaway had seven points and 11 of her rebounds in the second, while 18 of Dixon’s points came in the second.

After trailing by as many as 13, the Dolphins found themselves trailing by just six points with 13:08 to play after a Queen Alford three-pointer.

In their last game against Indiana, the Tigers let the Hoosiers back into it by settling for jumpers. In this game, Clemson went on a 13-2 run over the next four minutes, capped by a Turner three with 9:33 to play to give Clemson a 63-46 win. Defensively, Clemson held Jacksonville to just four points over the final 5:26, while netting 17 of their own.

Clemson will have a week off from competition before playing host to South Carolina State next Sunday at 2:00 pm in Littlejohn Coliseum.

Team Notes

* Clemson’s 87 points were its most points in a game since December 19, 2009 when the Tigers scored 89 in a win over Ohio.

* The Tigers won by 29 points. That is the largest margin of victory since last season when Clemson defeated SC State, 83-38, for a 45-point margin of victory.

* Clemson shot 50.8 percent (32-63) on field goals. That is the highest field goal percentage for the Tigers since January 30, 2011 when Clemson shot .519 percent (27-52) against Virginia.

* Clemson scored 47 points in the second half. That is the most points in any half by the Tigers this season. The Tigers also had 40 points in the first half, which was the most for half at the time.

* Clemson shot 51.4 percent (18-35) in the second half. That is the highest field goal percentage in a half this season and highest since February 16, 2012 when Clemson shot .522 in the first half against Boston College.

* The Tigers shot 66.7 percent (4-6) on three-point field goals in the first half, highest for any half this season. Clemson finished the game with five made threes, tied for the most this year.

* Clemson had 21 bench points in the first half. That is the most bench points for the Tigers in not only in a half but also in any game this season. Clemson finished with 35 bench points, at least twice as much as they had in any other game this year.

* Clemson’s largest lead was 29 points. That is the largest lead by the Tigers in any game this season.

* Clemson recorded 11 blocked shots. That is tied for ninth best in school history and is the most since January 3, 2011 against North Carolina A&T when they also recorded 11 blocked shots.

Individual Notes

* Nikki Dixon scored a career-high 25 points. That is the most points by a Tiger since Shaniqua Pauldo scored 25 points against Charleston Southern last season. Dixon’s previous career high was 21 points in the first game of career against Davidson last season.

* Kelly Gramlich scored a season-high 13 points. That is her points since January 22, 2012 when she 13 points and 10 rebounds against Wake Forest.

* Quinyotta Pettaway tallied 12 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. That is her fifth career double-double and her first this season. Pettaway also recorded a career-high five assists.

* Jonquel Jones scored a career-high 15 points and had 11 rebounds. That is her third career double-double in just seven games played. Jones also recorded five blocks, a career-high.

* Danaejah Grant scored 12 points. She has now scored double-digit points six of the seven games this season.

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