Nov. 28, 2009
STORRS, CT – Clemson women’s basketball hung on against Hofstra for a 69-68 victory on Saturday at the WBCA Classic in Storrs, CT. Freshman Keyrra Gillespie made two pivotal plays down the stretch, and Clemson (4-2) held the Pride (3-2) scoreless for nearly four minutes at the end of the game to erase a late seven-point deficit and hung on for a win.
Lele Hardy led the Tigers with 19 points, while Gillespie added 12 points and six rebounds. Shaniqua Pauldo hit double-figures for the six consecutive game, notching ten.
The Tigers shot only 33.8 percent, but were effective defensively and took care of the ball, forcing Hofstra into 23 turnovers, while only committing 14.
Clemson trailed by seven (61-54) at the 5:14 mark of the second half. Clemson’s defense then clamped down. Lele Hardy pulled the Tigers to within five at 61-56. Shaniqua Pauldo then drilled a three to cut the lead to two. After a Clemson stop, Gillespie took the ball hard to the lane on the left hand side, making a right-handed layup and drawing a foul on Candice Bellocchio with 3:10 remaining. The freshman calmly sank the free throw to give the Tigers a one-point lead.
The Tigers then forced a turnover at the other end, and Hardy drilled a three-pointer from the left win, giving Clemson a four-point lead with 1:40 remaining. Nicole Capurso answered ten seconds later with a 25-foot three-pointer from the left wing to pull the Pride within one at 65-64. The Pride took a one-point lead on another hoop from Capurso with 40.0 seconds on the clock. Shaniqua Pauldo answered with a hoop to give Clemson a 67-66 lead with 21.4 second left. Bellocchio then added a basket, again giving Hofstra the advantage with 10.0 seconds left.
Gillespie took the inbounds pass and raced down the court, again driving the lane and drawing a foul on Bellocchio. The Statesville, NC native then sank both free throws to put the Tigers ahead for good with 4.2 seconds left.
Clemson took advantage of 16 Hofstra turnovers in the first half, cashing in for 17 points in the first half to take a 34-31 lead into halftime. Hardy led
Keyrra Gillespie added five points, five rebounds, and three assists as well.
Clemson will take on the #1 University of Connecticut on Sunday at 4:30 pm. The Huskies lead the all-time series 2-1 with Clemson, and all three games have been played in the NCAA Tournament. This will be the first ever regular season meeting between the two.
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