The Audra Smith era of Clemson women's basketball commenced on Tuesday as promised: with plenty of defensive intensity.
Smith’s Tigers scored the first 23 points of the game and forced 41 turnovers, with 30 coming on steals, in a 92-49 exhibition win over Truett-McConnell College in Littlejohn Coliseum.
The Tigers opened up a 23-0 lead, and didn’t surrender a point until the 12:02 mark of the first half. They extended the lead further to 32-2 on a pair of Nikki Dixon free throws with 8:12 to play in the first half.
Clemson went in to the break with a 44-20 advantage, and the Bears closed further to 21 points with 17:27 to play in the second half. However, Clemson clamped down again, extending the lead to 50 at 88-38 with 2:19 to play.
Upperclassmen led the way throughout the evening, as Nikki Dixon had a team-high 20 points, nine rebounds, and five assists, while senior Quinyotta Pettaway had 19 points, five boards, four blocks, and three steals.
Kelly Gramlich (14 points) and Chancie Dunn (12 points) also scored in double-figures, while Charmaine Tay had seven points, five rebounds, and eight steals as Clemson scored 41 points off turnovers and had 50 points in the paint.
The Tigers will return to action on Sunday at 2 p.m. in Littlejohn Coliseum with their second and final exhibition against Limestone College. That game will have free admission.
Clemson's Audra Smith
Oon coaching in first game at Clemson: “It was great. It was awesome. I loved the atmosphere. I loved looking around and seeing all the orange and I just hope that we put a great product on the floor. We want our kids to play hard and play with a lot of competitive spirit, but this was a great feeling to be here and have an opportunity to coach my first game.”
On Clemson's defensive pressure: “I talked to them at half time about being more aggressive. Our offensive execution had to be a lot better. We came back out, and we seemed to settle down and we executed much better. We told them that we have to be aggressive, get in the passing lanes, and take things away. If we’re able to turn them over, we’ll get easy baskets. They really responded well to that. We took some things away that made them have to think and took them off-kilter. I am really proud of the way they responded to that.”