GREENSBORO, NC - The Clemson women’s basketball team saw the 2011-12 season come to an end, dropping their ACC Tournament tilt to North Carolina, 90-51, on Thursday at the Greensboro Coliseum. Clemson closes the season at 6-22, and fell short in trying to be the first Tiger team since 1996 to defeat North Carolina (20-10, 9-7 ACC) twice in a season.
Clemson had defeated the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill earlier in the season by a 52-47 count, in large part due to being able to out-rebound and hold the Tar Heels to a 1-17 mark from behind the arc, and just seven second-chance points. On Thursday, the Heels outrebounded Clemson, 47-28, and had 23 offensive rebounds, which they converted for 21 points.
Each team had the exact number of turnovers in the second meeting as they did in the first, but the Tar Heels were able to convert Clemson’s 25 turnovers for 33 points Thursday. Another key was the sizzling shooting of North Carolina freshman Brittany Rountree, who hit 7-10 from behind the arc, accounting for all 21 of her points.
Clemson’s all-freshman team selection, Nikki Dixon scored 14 points in her first career game off the bench in a team-high 34 minutes. Shaniqua Pauldo and Quinyotta Pettaway each had seven points for the Lady Tigers, who close the season on an eight-game losing streak.
No Clemson player recorded more than four rebounds, while Laura Broomfield led North Carolina with 14 rebounds to go with her 11 points.
The two teams entered the game each ranked in the top five nationally in blocked shots, averaging a combined 12.3 per game. On Thursday, however, they combined for just five blocks, with Clemson’s Lindsey Mason finishing her season with 72 on the year, the third-most in school history in a single season. The Tigers finished with 169 blocks this season, shattering the school record of 162 from the 1989-90 season.
The teams played in front of 10031 fans, a season-high for Clemson. The crowd was comprised of nearly 5500 elementary school students, who were loud and active throughout the game.
The two teams got off to a quick start, with each team scoring on its’ first and second possessions. North Carolina took a five-point lead after five straight points from Broomfield. Clemson chipped back with a three from Dixon, before the teams again traded hoops, leaving the Tar Heels with a 13-11 lead with 12:46 to play in the first half.
From then on, they turned up the heat, going on a 9-1 run to open up a 22-12 lead. after a Clemson hoop, the Tar Heels scored 15 of the next 20, which included two of Rountree’s threes to take a 40-19 lead with 3:03 to play in the half. The Tar Heels went into the half with a 44-25 lead, with the game not getting closer after that. A late 18-2 run extended the lead even further, and the Tar Heels cruised for the 90-51 win.
It was the third straight season and fourth time in the last five seasons that the Tar Heels have ended Clemson’s season, as the Tigers fell to 4-11 all-time in the ACC Tournament against North Carolina.