BIMINI, Bahamas – Three Tigers posted double-digit outings as the Clemson Tigers (2-3) took the Tennessee Volunteers (4-0) down to the final quarter in game one of the Junkanoo Jam. Guards Simone Westbrook and Danielle Edwards each tallied 19-point outings, but the Tigers came up short, 78-66 at the Gateway Christian Academy.
“I’m really proud of the way we battled, and I thought we did a great job of really playing the way we needed to play, individually and collectively,” said head coach Amanda Butler. “It was a tremendous battle and we got beat by a very good team, but we got better today.”
As a team, the Tigers outshot the Volunteers 47 to 44 percent, led by senior Danielle Edwards, who poured in 9-of-11 for 19 points. Westbrook’s 19 points were a new season-high for the graduate transfer and just one shy of her career-high.
On the defensive side of the ball, Kobi Thornton and freshmen Taylor Hosendove hauled in seven rebounds apiece. In the backcourt, Edwards tallied three assists, bringing her career total to 224, which ties her for seventh all-time in Clemson program history.
It was a battle right from the start as the teams traded baskets to open the first quarter. Sophomore Tylar Bennett poured in four points for the Tigers, including a mid-range jumper to put Clemson up 13-11 at the 2:24 mark in the frame. The spotlight shone on Edwards in the final seconds of the quarter as she drove to the rim and gave Clemson the 17-16 lead at the end of one.
The second quarter was played in a similar fashion with Clemson and Tennessee each taking the lead at some point. Coming out of a timeout down by six, Thornton battled in the paint to lay in the ball, igniting the Tigers’ offense. The teams entered halftime knotted at 32, marking the seventh tie of the game.
Back-to-back layups by Edwards and Bennett put the Tigers back on top in the third, but the Volunteers rallied to tie the game at 44 with 4:44 to go in the quarter. Fresh off the bench, sophomore Destiny Thomas drained a jumper to pull the Tigers to within one. Westbrook converted one of two free throws to make it 54-all headed into the final 10 minutes.
Three consecutive layups by Edwards tied the game at 58 with just over seven minutes to play, but the Volunteers slowly pulled away, outscoring Clemson 24-12 in the final quarter.
The Tigers are back in action on Friday when they play the winner of Oklahoma/UAB at 7:45 p.m. at Gateway Christian Academy. The game can be streamed on FloHoops.
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