The Clemson women’s basketball team fell to Middle Tennessee, 76-51, in its final home non-conference game of the season. The Tigers (7-6) trailed the Blue Raiders (10-3) by just six, 32-26, at the half but could not overcome a strong second-half shooting effort by Middle Tennessee, who entered the week receiving votes in both top-25 polls.
Nikki Dixon led all scorers with 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting and had three assists and three steals in her first start since playing South Carolina on Nov. 20. Quinyotta Pettaway added 12 points and seven rebounds in 32 minutes off the bench. The Tiger senior moved up into a tie for 13th in Clemson history in career rebounds with Jackie Farmer (1989-91) with her 570th career board. She also tied Shandy Bryan for 10th on the all-time list with the 96th blocked shot of her career.
Nyliah Jamison-Myers recorded her second game in double-figures of the season with 10 points on 5-8 from the field. It was her second straight home game in double-figures after tallying a career-high 17 points against SC State on Dec. 14.
The Raiders pushed out to a double-digit lead early in the first half, taking a 19-9 lead with 9:29 to play in the frame. They’d stretch it as far as 32-18 with 2:35 left before Dixon scored six points during an 8-0 run to close the half, and pull Clemson within six at 32-26.
Out of the locker room, the Raiders went on a 10-2 run over the first 3:18 behind four different scorers and a pair of three-pointers. Clemson cut the lead to ten on a jumper from Dixon, but the Tigers would get no closer the rest of the way.
The Tigers fell to 1-3 against Middle Tennessee all-time in the first meeting between the programs since 1988. Clemson will travel to Newark, NJ to take on NJIT on Jan. 2 at 7 p.m. before opening the ACC slate at No. 4 Notre Dame on Jan. 5.
Player of the Game: Nikki Dixon - The junior had 21 points on 9-13 shooting to go with three assists and three steals
Stat of the Game: 24 - Clemson allowed Middle Tennessee to score 24 second-chance points in the game on 17 offensive rebounds.
Clemson v. Middle Tennessee
December 29, 2013
Quinyotta Pettaway hauled in 7 rebounds in the game, which vaulted her into a tie with Jackie Farmer for 13th in school history (570), also passing Janet Knight (565) in 14th. Pettaway also had one block, moving her into a tie for 10th place in school history with 96 blocks. She tallied 12 points in the contest, the fourth time this season she’s been in double figures and 34th time in her career
With three steals in the game, Nikki Dixon now has 152 career steals.
Dixon led the way with 21 points for the Tigers, her second game this season with 20+ points and eighth time in her career; Dixon has scored in double-figures six times this season and 45 times in her career, and finished two points shy of her season-best of 23 against Cal State Northridge
Nyilah Jamison-Myers scored in double figures (10) for the second time this season (second straight home game) and the fourth time in her career.
Chancie Dunn dished out the 200th assist of her career in the contest. She also took her second charge of this season in the first half, the second charge drawn of her career. It was the 9th charge taken by a Clemson player this season.
Jordan Gaillard set a new career high with 2 steals in the game.
Coach Audra Smith Quotes
“They’re a very good team. They’re a well-rounded team. One of the main focuses was to try to contain Ebony Rowe. She’s had 20 or more points in their last two games so that was one of our main focuses. We gave them plenty of chances, sent them to the (free throw) line 20 times. The most true competition I saw were those last three minutes of the first half. At halftime we talked about coming out with an aggressive energy and fighting back and being aggressive defensively. We just didn’t compete as hard as I wanted us to compete. That’s a very good team. They’re a great program.”
The Tigers and Blue Raiders had similar shooting numbers in the game, both from behind the arc (Clemson’s 25% to MTSU’s 36.8%) and inside (Clemson’s 41.1% to MTSU’s 50%), but the Blue Raiders made 15 of 20 from the free throw line to Clemson’s 3 made shots in 5 attempts.
The Tigers had a season-high 10 steals, led by three apiece from Nikki Dixon and Chancie Dunn
Clemson went on an 8-0 run to close the first half to pull within six points
The Tigers committed 20 turnovers in the contest, their highest total since they had 23 against Radford, a span of seven games
Clemson fell to 2-2 this season against teams that competed in the 2013 NCAA Tournament