CLEMSON, S.C. — Leading from start to finish, the Clemson Tigers (7-3) scored 48 points in the paint and overpowered the Rhode Island Rams (5-4), 80-67, to increase their win streak to five games on Saturday. The Tigers have now recorded back-to-back 80-point victories for the first time since the 2014-15 season.
Clemson finished the night shooting 58.5 percent from the field, the highest shooting percentage by the Tigers since Dec. 14, 2002 when Clemson shot 60.3 percent against Furman. Seven Tigers shot better than 50 percent, led by Kobi Thornton who went 8-of-11 in the game.
In her second straight 20-point outing, Thornton led all scorers with 23 points and corralled seven rebounds on the defensive side of the ball. Guards Danielle Edwards and Simone Westbrook tallied 17 and 15 points, respectively, to round out the double-digit scorers.
Thornton wasted no time in manufacturing offense, producing a 3-point play on Clemson’s first possession of the afternoon. The junior fought through contact to sink a difficult shot in the paint and then made the ensuing foul shot. Fired up after taking a 3-0 lead, the Tigers embarked on an 8-0 run to start the game and went 8-for-8 in the first seven minutes.
Clemson’s 28-point first quarter marked the most points scored in the opening frame for the Tigers this season. A trio of deep balls form Edwards, Westbrook and sophomore Destiny Thomas contributed to the Tigers electric first 10 minutes. After shooting 79 percent through one, the Tigers led the Rams, 28-11.
The momentum stayed with the Tigers in the second as Thornton caught a perfect pass from guard Camreé Clegg and converted it into a midair layup to provide Clemson with a 16-point edge at the 6:20 mark. Continuing her late-quarter magic, Westbrook drilled a buzzer-beating runner in the lane to close out the first half and put the Tigers ahead 45-27 going into the intermission.
Photos by Jacob Thompson
Westbrook remained aggressive from the field at the start of the third quarter turning a steal into a bucket for the Tigers with an up-and-under layup. However, Rhode Island did not go away quietly with the Rams stringing together a 9-0 run to pull within 15 with just under five minutes remaining in the third. The Rams shot 58 percent in the third, and guard Elemy Colome finished off Rhode Island’s productive quarter with a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Sporting a 61-48 lead at the start of the fourth quarter, the Tigers maintained a sizable lead the rest of the game. With just under three minutes to play, Thornton and Westbrook combined for an alley-oop layup on the fast break, with Thornton catching Westbrook’s pass in flight and laying it in.
Three different players reached double figures for Rhode Island, which shot 47 percent from the floor. Forward Nicole Jorgensen led the Rams with 18 points on 8-0f-12 shooting, while Colome garnered 13 points to complement her team-leading seven assists.
Following a week-long respite, Clemson returns to action on Sunday, Dec. 16, for a non-conference test against the Davidson Wildcats (4-5). Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Littlejohn, with the game airing on ACC Network Extra.
Get the latest news on all things Clemson women’s basketball by following us on Twitter (@ClemsonWBB), Facebook (/ClemsonTigersWBB) and Instagram (@ClemsonWBB).