SYRACUSE, NY - The Clemson women’s basketball team fell victim to an 18-0 Syracuse run late in the second half that propelled the Orange (14-5, 3-3 ACC) past the Tigers (9-11, 1-5 ACC), 84-75, on Thursday in the Carrier Dome.
The Tigers started hot, hitting 18-27 (.667) from the floor in the first half in building a 12-point lead, but couldn’t hold on down the stretch, as the Orange forced 22 Clemson turnovers.
Clemson’s 4-4 mark from behind the arc to open the game led it to a 37-25 lead in the first half. However, the Orange steadily climbed back as the Tigers clung to a 45-42 lead at the break. The .667 mark was tied for the ninth-best shooting half in school history, and junior Nikki Dixon was the catalyst.
Dixon led all scorers with 21 points and also added nine rebounds and a career-high eight assists, leaving her just shy of a triple-double. Dixon’s hot streak has seen her score 19 or more points in seven of the last eight games, and she also took two charges for the third straight game.
As efficient as the Tigers were in the first half, it was several costly mistakes that sealed Clemson’s fate in the second half. With a 64-58 lead at the under-eight media timeout, the Tiger offense went silent, going 11 straight possessions without a score during a four-minute span. When the dust settled, the Orange had managed 18 points during the run, taking a commanding, 79-67 lead with less than four minutes to play. Clemson would close to within five with 46.7 seconds to play, but the Orange went 4-4 from the line to seal the victory.
The Tigers struggled to contain forward Taylor Ford, who came into the game averaging just over five points a game and finished with 19 off the bench. Ford, Brianna Butler, and Brittney Sykes accounted for 53 of Syracuse’s 84 points. Syracuse also won the turnover battle, as they only had nine while Clemson had 22 turnovers that led to 13 Syracuse points. The Orange also exploited their size advantage, grabbing 23 offensive rebounds, and converting thme for 25 points.
The Tigers won the points in the paint, 40-34, but were outscored 20-8 from the free throw line.
Clemson got a nice boost from Nyilah Jamison-Myers who was 6-7 from the field and scored 14 points in 19 minutes of play. Senior Quinyotta Pettaway chipped in with 13 points on 6-9 shooting, and also pulled down the 600th rebound of her career, just the 12th player in school history to do so.
Clemson coach Audra Smith
“We played hard, and we had an opportunity to win this ballgame, but let it slip away. Hopefully we can get this behind us and get ready to take on a tough Miami team on Sunday. When you put 75 on the board on the road, you’ve got to leave the gym with a victory.”
“This team has to understand they have to do the things we tell them to in our scouting reports. We were up six, and then we just became uncharacteristic, had a brain lapse, and turned it over. Their pressure wasn’t too intense. They have to learn to stay with the game plan and do what we ask them to do.
“Offensive rebounds killed us. I’m trying to be as patient as I can, but it’s hard. They are trying. For us, we just don’t have the matchups sometimes. We knew their big two were going to get theirs, but we had to shut the rest of them down, and Ford had 19 points, and that can’t happen.
“We turned the ball over too many times, we’re just trying to grow as we can. Jamison-Myers played well for us, and Yotta came back strong. Dixon is staying steady at 21. I’m proud of Jordan going in there and making a couple of threes for us as well.”
Clemson had its 11th different starting lineup in 20 games this season.
Clemson’s .667 shooting in 1st half was tied for 9th-highest percentage in a half (1st or 2nd) in school history, and its highest since shooting a school-record 15-20 (.750) last season vs. Providence in Myrtle Beach. It was tied for the 4th-best ever in a road game.
The Tigers took a 45-42 lead into the half, yet lost the contest; Clemson had been 8-0 this season when leading at the half
The Tigers finished with a season-high 27 assists on 30 made field goals, leading to a 30-58 (.517) mark from the floor, the highest for the Tigers in ACC play this season
Clemson committed 22 turnovers, it’s most since committing 23 against Radford in the sixth game of the season. The Tigers had committed 20 or fewer turnovers in 15 straight games.
Clemson was just 1-12 from behind the arc in the last game against Wake Forest, but started this contest 4-4, with three different players connecting. The second made 3-pointer came just 2:20 into the game. However, after going 5-8 in the first half, Clemson was just 2-10 in the second half
Charmaine Tay did not travel with the team due to a death in the family.
Jordan Gaillard tied a career-high with two three-point goals - in the first four minutes. She has hit seven of her last nine three-point attempts overall.
Kelly Gramlich snapped an 0-for-13 streak from behind the arc with a make from deep in the first half. It was her 40th made three-pointer of the season.
Gramlich entered the game with 496 career points, and finished with five, giving her 501 total.
Quinyotta Pettaway grabbed the 600th rebound of her career in the first half, just the 12th Clemson player ever to do so. She finished the game with 603 in her career, and needs 27 to move into 11th in school history
Pettaway scored in double figures for the 5th time this season and 36th game in her career. She finished with 13.
Nyilah Jamison-Myers was 6-7 from the floor (.857), finishing with 14 points. It is her second straight game in double-figures and 6th time in her career
Nikki Dixon had a monster first half, scoring 13 points, handing out a career-high 8 assists, grabbing 3 rebounds, and taking a charge, while shooting 5-5 from the floor. She finished with 21 points on 8-14 shooting to go along with 9 rebounds and 8 assists.
Dixon scored in double-figures for 12th time this season and the 51st time in career, and it was her 7th game this season scoring 20 or more. She has scored 19 or more points in seven of the last eight games
Dixon set a new career-high with eight assists in just the first half. She did not have a helper in the second half. She finished two assists and one rebound shy of just the third triple-double in school history
Dixon took her 9th and 10th charges of the season, and 25th and 26th of her career; It was her 3rd straight game with at least one.
Thursday was Head Coach Audra Smith’s birthday