CLEMSON, S.C. – Eight points in the final 20 seconds of the game, including six by sophomore Jaia Alexander, gave the Clemson women’s basketball team a dramatic 57-54 win over Monmouth on Sunday at Littlejohn Coliseum. Alexander scored 11 of her career-high 17 points in the final quarter to help the Tigers improve to 3-1 on the season, while the Hawks dropped to 1-3 with the loss.
The Hawks were hot on offense to start the game, making four of their first six shots for a 9-4 lead after the first three minutes. The Tigers hung around though, and the defense held Monmouth scoreless for the final 2:55 of the quarter. The Hawks led 18-13 at the end of the period, and sophomore Kobi Thornton had six points for the Tigers.
Clemson’s junior point guard Danielle Edwards heated up in the second quarter, scoring six points in the first five minutes of the period to close the gap to 22-21 Monmouth at the media timeout at 4:52. At 4:19, junior Sirah Diarra hit a layup that gave the Tigers their first lead of the contest, 23-22, but the Hawks regained the lead at the end of the half, 28-27.
Monmouth continued to shoot well in the second half, extending its lead to seven points, 41-34, to start the fourth quarter. A steal and layup by Edwards, followed by a steal and layup by redshirt junior Francesca Tagliapietra cut the Hawks’ lead to four points, 48-44, with 4:25 remaining in the game.
Then, Alexander caught fire. With 1:42 left, she hit a three to put the Tigers within three points (52-49). After two free throws, the Hawks were back up by five, 54-49. With 20 seconds remaining, Alexander hit a layup, making it a three point game. Edwards then stole Monmouth’s inbound pass and laid it up with 17 seconds to go to make it a one-point game. Solid defense again by the Tigers resulted in a steal by Thornton, who passed it ahead to Alexander for the go-ahead layup. Alexander sealed the 57-54 win for the Tigers, making two free throws with three seconds remaining.
Alexander finished with 17 points, a new career-high, on a five-for-seven field goal shooting performance. She was also six-for-six from the free throw line and pulled down four rebounds in the game. Edwards was also in double figures with 16 points (seven-for-12 from the floor), and also added three assists and three steals in the contest. Thornton was the final scorer in double figures for the Tigers, with 12 points, along with eight rebounds, a team best, and three steals.
The Tigers hit the road for the first time this season this week, as they head to Daytona Beach, Fla. for the San Juan Shootout. Clemson faces Detroit Mercy on Thursday, Nov. 23 and Buffalo on Friday, Nov. 24. Both games tip at 6:30 p.m. at the Ocean Center.
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