Less than a week made all the difference for the Clemson women’s basketball team.
Six days after suffering a 26-point loss to Virginia Tech in their regular-season finale, the 13th-seeded Tigers opened the 2014 ACC Tournament with a 69-56 win over the 12th-seeded Hokies on Wednesday afternoon at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Junior Nikki Dixon led the 39-point turnaround with 22 points and a career-high 12 rebounds, and sophomore Nyilah Jamison-Myers added a career-high 19 points for Clemson (13-18), which will move on to face fifth-seeded Syracuse (21-8) in Thursday’s 11 a.m. second-round game.
Virginia Tech ended its season at 14-16.
For the Tigers, the win came five years to the day of their most recent ACC Tournament victory, an 81-69 opening-round win over Georgia Tech in 2009. They quickly went about setting the tone on Wednesday.
Keyed by 11 first-half points apiece from Jamison-Myers and Dixon, the Tigers built a 37-20 lead at the break as the Hokies were saddled by cold shooting and early foul trouble. Virginia Tech went 8-of-27 from the floor in the first 20 minutes. Clemson held a 27-13 edge on the boards and limited the Hokies to just one offensive rebound.
Virginia Tech found its offensive bearings somewhat – particularly All-ACC second teamer Uju Ujoka - who scored 18 of her 20 points in the second stanza. Her three-point play with 6:49 remaining in the game pulled the Hokies within nine points at 55-46.
But Dixon countered with four straight points on a 15-footer and a pair of free throws, and Jamison-Myers muscled in a layup to cap a 6-0 spurt that pushed Clemson’s lead back to 15 at 61-46. Virginia Tech did not get closer than 12 points the rest of the way.
Clemson shot 43 percent from the floor but went 21-of-28 from the foul line. Dixon connected on 12-of-15 from the stripe, and Jamison-Myers was 7-of-9. The Tigers outrebounded the Hokies 41-34 for the game.
- Clemson’s 69-56 victory over Virginia Tech snaps a five-year losing streak for the Tigers at the ACC Tournament. The Tigers previous win came exactly five years ago on March 5, 2009 against Georgia Tech (81-69) in first round of the Tournament.
- Clemson’s Nyilah Jamison-Myers had a career-high 19 points, eclipsing her previous career high of 17 that was set on Dec. 14, 2013 against South Carolina State.
- The Tigers’ Nikki Dixon pulled down a career-high 12 rebounds, besting her previous career high mark of 11 that was set on Jan. 12, 2014 versus Pitt.
- Clemson’s Dixon scored 22 points and had 12 rebounds for the second double-double of her career. The 22 points were the most at the ACC Tournament by a Tiger since Shaniqua Pauldo’s 23 in the win over Georgia Tech in 2009.
- Virginia Tech’s Uju Ugoka had 20 points and 10 rebounds to mark the 16th double-double of her season and 21st first double-double of her career.