Dec. 20, 2010
NASSAU, THE BAHAMAS – Clemson entered the Sunshine Shootout Tournament in the Bahamas with the tough task of opening with No. 2 Baylor. At the end of 40 minutes, Baylor’s (11-1) stifling defense and hot three-point shooting got the best of Lady Tigers (6-6), 82-40.
Clemson will return to action on Wednesday at 8:15 pm when they take on a ranked Syracuse team in the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium in their final game of the tournament.
“The score won’t show it, but I feel like we competed. I haven’t seen that effort in a couple of games from us,” said Clemson Head Coach Itoro Coleman. “We got a lot of open looks, but couldn’t knock it in. We set some really good screens and got open shots, but they didn’t go. We competed and we weren’t scared.”
The Bears held Clemson to a season-low 27.1 shooting percentage and held the Tigers to just 13 field goals, and only five of them inside the arc. Baylor’s size was a critical factor in Clemson’s season-high 27 three-point attempts, as the Lady Tigers struggled to get the ball on the interior.
Preseason All-American Brittney Griner led all players with 18 points on 7-10 shooting in 21 minutes, but did not record a blocked shot for just the second time in her career, as she entered the game leading the nation at more than five per contest. Although Griner didn’t block any shots, she was key in deterring Clemson’s activity in the paint, as the Lady Tigers finished with just six points in the lane.
“Obviously, having Brittney Griner in the middle creates a lot of difficulty on offense because she covers so much ground,” said Coleman. “I felt a lot of our turnovers were because we were pressed. We weren’t patient enough to use the back door when being denied on the wing, but we didn’t go back door because Griner was back there.”
The Lady Tigers did do a good job of finding the open player, but had several key attempts rim out from distance. Sthefany Thomas led all Tigers with 15 points, including four three-pointers. Kirstyn Wright had eight points and five boards, but no other Tiger had more than five points.
Clemson again struggled from the field in the first half, making 6-23 shot attempts. The Bears’ size force Clemson to take outside shots, of which Clemson hit 5-13 from three point range, but only 1-10 from inside the arc.
Sthefany Thomas was hot in the frame, nailing four of her seven three-point attempts on the way to a game-high 12 points. Jasmine Tate and Kelia Shelton had four rebounds apiece to lead the Tigers, who turned the ball over 18 times, leading to 24 Baylor points.
The second half was more of the same from Clemson, although the Tigers did make a concerted effort to get the ball inside and getting to the free throw line, knocking in 5-7 attempts. The lid stayed on the hoop, and Clemson hit just 7-25 attempts, 14 of which came from outside the arc.
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