Nov. 14, 2008
Final Stats | Box Score
GREENVILLE, SC – A second-half run fell short and Furman hit 10 free throws in the closing minutes as the Clemson women’s basketball team was defeated by the Paladins, 82-68, at the Timmons Arena to open the 2008-09 season on Friday night.
The Lady Tigers (0-1) were unable to overcome a 34-point performance by Furman junior Lee Stephens. Stephens scored 28 of her points in the second half on a night when she went 10-of-14 from the field an 10-of-11 from the foul line.
Lele Hardy was Clemson’s leading scorer with 19 points while sophomores Kirstyn Wright and Whitney Hood also posted double figures with 12 and 11, respectively.
Hardy sparked the Lady Tiger run that cut a 16-point Paladin lead by a third. The Lady Tigers looked to be closing in on Furman with the rally midway through the second half as Hardy stole a Paladin inbounds pass and tiptoed the sideline in her drive to the hoop. She laid it up, was fouled and converted the free throw to put Clemson within seven at 54-47 at the 9:30 mark.
Stephens responded by knocking down a three for Furman, but Wright answered right back with a three-pointer from the top of the key. The Lady Tigers grabbed a defensive rebound Paladins’ next possession and Hardy hit a three of her own at the Clemson end to narrow the gap to 58-55. Wright then recorded a steal on the defensive end and ended up with the bucket to put the Lady Tigers within three.
The momentum swung back to Furman, however, after an overexcited Wright was called for a technical foul at the 6:33 mark. The Paladins drained back-to-back threes to stretch the lead back to 11 with just under five minutes remaining. They then held off Clemson while hitting their foul shots en route to an 80-percent night from the line.
Eight Clemson players scored in the first half and the Lady Tigers shot a nearly identical percentage from the field as the Paladins. However, Furman went to line 16 times, converting 13 of the free throws, compared to just five shots and a pair of foul shots for Clemson. The Paladins held a nine-point, 34-25, advantage at the break.
Sophomore forward Jasmine Tate earned the first start of her career, as Head Coach Cristy McKinney’s line-up included consistent honorees Hardy and Christy Brown with April Parker and Wright. Tate led Clemson on the boards with eight rebounds on Friday night.
The Lady Tigers will face Presbyterian in their home opener on Sunday. The teams are scheduled for a 2:00 pm tipoff at Littlejohn Coliseum.
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