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Clemson Downs Maine, 72-59 in Season Opener

Clemson Downs Maine, 72-59 in Season Opener

Nov. 9, 2007

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Clemson, SC – Freshman Whitney Hood scored 13 points in just 20 minutes in her first collegiate game, and sophomore Morganne Campbell scored 13 points and added seven rebounds and six steals in her first collegiate start to lead Clemson to a 72-59 women’s basketball victory over Maine on Friday night at Clemson’s Littlejohn Coliseum.

The victory avenged last year’s 80-78 Maine victory in Orono when the Bears won on a last second shot. It was the season opener for both teams and the first time Clemson had won its season opener under Cristy McKinney.

The Lady Tigers will be back in action again on Sunday when they play host to Western Carolina. A victory would make Clemson 2-0 for the first time since 2003-04.

Campbell and Hood were supported by Sthefany Thomas with 11 points and Lele Hardy with 10. Hardy had a double-double and nearly reached a triple double with steals. The sophomore had 10 points, 10 rebounds and eight steals to go with four assists in a productive 29 minutes. Her steal total tied her career high and was one off the Clemson single game record.

Campbell and Hardy combined for 14 of Clemson’s 22 steals in the game. The Clemson full court defense forced 35 Maine turnovers, the ninth most opponent turnovers in Clemson women’s basketball history.

Tanna Ross scored 14 points off the bench to lead Maine, while Kris Younan added 13 points, but was forced into eight turnovers by Clemson’s swarming defense. Brittany Boser had a double-double for Maine with 10 points and 10 rebounds to complete the list of double figure scorers. Clemson was out-rebounded in the contest by a 47-34 margin, but made up for it with the +20 turnover margin (forced 35 and committed 22).

Clemson’s 22 steals were the most under head coach Cristy McKinney. The Lady Tigers played five first-year freshmen who combined for 31 points. Clemson jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the first four minutes as sophomore guard Christy Brown scored four points. But, Maine came right back and scored 13 consecutive points in a 4:51 time period to take a 13-8 lead. The Tigers then scored eight in a row to go back up by three. Kirstyn Wright’s layup at the 10:06 mark gave Clemson a 16-13 lead.

Clemson went on an 11-2 run over the last 4:16 of the first half to take a 34-19 lead at intermission. Brown hit a jumper with five seconds left to give the Lady Tigers that 15-point advantage at intermission. Clemson forced 17 turnovers in the first half and was led in scoring by Brown, who made 4-5 shots from the field and scored nine points.

Clemson held a double digit lead until a layup by Ross with 7:31 left in the game cut the margin to 54-46. But that was as close as the visitors could get. Clemson’s largest margin of the second half came with 1:12 left on a jumper by Thomas that gave Clemson a 68-54 lead.