Tigers go small, beat Pittsburgh to give Audra Smith her first ACC victory

Nikki Dixon led Clemson with careers of 29 points, 11 rebounds

Clemson's Nikki Dixon, right, drives around Davidson's Lillian McCabe in the second half of their NCAA women's college basketball game at Littlejohn Coliseum on Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Anderson Independent-Mail, Mark Crammer)

Photo by Mark Crammer

Clemson's Nikki Dixon, right, drives around Davidson's Lillian McCabe in the second half of their NCAA women's college basketball game at Littlejohn Coliseum on Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Anderson Independent-Mail, Mark Crammer)

Junior Nikki Dixon posted career-highs of 29 points and 11 rebounds as Clemson topped Pittsburgh, 77-67, in Littlejohn Coliseum on Sunday in the first meeting between the programs as ACC foes.

Clemson (9-8, 1-2 ACC) out-rebounded the Panthers (9-8, 1-2 ACC) by 16 and scored 45 points in the second half in the victory, the first in conference play under coach Audra Smith.

Junior Charmaine Tay added 11 points, seven rebounds, and four assists, while Kelly Gramlich scored 14 points, including the 100th three-pointer of her career, as she went 4-8 from behind the arc in the contest.

Reigning ACC Player of the Week Brianna Kiesel had 21 points for Pitt, but was just 5-13 from the floor in playing the full 40 minutes. However, Clemson held the Panthers to an 11-36 (.306) mark from the field in the second half.

The Tigers went to the line 30 times in the second half, and 35 times in the game, making 23.

Dixon was key for the Tigers, hitting 8-15 from the field, including 2-4 from deep, and also went 11-17 from the free throw line. She scored 12 in the first half and 17 in the second half in helping the Tigers emerge from an early seven-point deficit to lead by as many as 13 in the second half.

Nyilah Jamison-Myers had eight points and a season-high seven rebounds in the win, and asserted herself as the tallest player on the floor. She helped Clemson to a 46-30 advantage, and Clemson grabbed 35 of 43 available defensive rebounds.

Clemson actually started the game with a point guard and four wing players, forgoing a true post, in hopes of speeding up Pitt defensively.

The Tigers will play next at nationally ranked North Carolina on Thursday at 6 p.m. where the Tigers won the most recent meeting in 2012 in Chapel Hill, 52-47. It was the fewest points by the Tar Heels at home in school history.

Player Notes

Kelly Gramlich made her 100th 3-pointer of her career in Sunday afternoon’s contest.  Gramlich finished with four three-pointers and has 103 in her career. She is one of ten players in school history with 100 or more career three-pointers made.

Charmaine Tay reached double-digits for the seventh time this season.Tay took a charge at 5:15 remaining in the first half.  It was the second charge of her season and fourth of her career.

Nikki Dixon scored her 900th point in a Tiger uniform with 15:15 remaining in the game.  Dixon set a career-high in rebounds and points finishing with 11 rebounds and 29 points.  It was her first double-double of her career. She now has 916 career points

Dixon has scored 20+ points for the fourth time in the past five games. Her 29 points are the  most by a Tiger since Kirstyn Wright had 29 points on November 14, 2010 against Charleston Southern.

Nyilah Jamison-Myers had 7 rebounds, a season-high.  Jamison-Myers also scored 8 points and was 3-6 from the floor.

First ACC victory for head coach Audra Smith, who spent nine seasons at UAB prior to coming to Clemson.

Team Notes

Clemson improved to 5-2 against Pittsburgh all-time, and has now won four in a row in the series. It was the first time the two teams have met as conference foes.

Clemson held a 46-30 rebound advantage tying a season-high +16 differential set earlier this season against SC State.

Tigers ended the first half on a 13-2 run, turning a seven-point deficit into a five point lead.

Tiger defense held Pittsburgh to 1-13 shots to close the half.  Pittsburgh scored just two points over the final 9:16 in the first half. The Panthers opened the second half 2-12 from the floor over the first 8:04, meaning they went just 3-23 during that 17+ minute stretch

Pittsburgh had a 12-2 advantage in fast break points.

Clemson had ten assists on eleven field goals in the second half.

The Tigers tied a season-high in free throws attempted with 35.  Clemson finished with 23 makes (.657)

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