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Illinois Topples Clemson With Second Half Surge

Illinois Topples Clemson With Second Half Surge

Dec. 1, 2011

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CLEMSON, SC – The Clemson Lady Tigers fell in the 2011 Big Ten/ACC Challenge by a 61-50 margin to Illinois on Thursday night. The Fighting Illini (3-5) held Clemson scoreless for almost eight minutes in the second half as part of a 10-0 run to take the lead after the Lady Tigers (3-3) fought off several attacks, and took a six point advantage in the second half.

Clemson has held six straight opponents to a sub-.400 shooting percentage to start the season, but Illinois was able to exploit the Lady Tigers on the boards in registering the sixth win for the Big Ten and clinching at least a tie of the Challenge, which the ACC has claimed in each of the previous four seasons.

Freshman Nikki Dixon scored eleven points, had six rebounds, and four assists to pace Clemson offensively, while Lindsey Mason had a season-high ten points and added six rebounds and four blocks. Quinyotta Pettawayhad eight points and ten rebounds to lead Clemson on the glass, just a field goal shy of her second consecutive double-double.

Illinois sophomore Alexis Burke had a career-high 26 points on 12-18 shooting to lead all players, while preseason All-Big Ten selection Karisma Penn had 16 points and 14 rebounds.

The Illini were 0-8 from behind the arc, but scored 46 points in the paint, and got to the line 22 times, compared to just seven Clemson attempts. Illinois had 25 offensive rebounds, and 54 total. Clemson entered the game leading the ACC in defensive rebounds per game, but grabbed just 22 on Thursday.

The Tigers trailed, 26-21 with 1:40 to play in the first half, but went on a 14-4 run over the next 4:42, spanning halftime, to take the 35-30 lead.

Clemson overcame the three-point halftime deficit early in the second half, and stretched the lead to six at 37-31 with 14:55 to play.

Illinois fought back before Clemson again pushed the lead to three on a Natiece Fordfree throw with 11:13 left, but the Illini took the lead for good a minute later, as they clamped down defensively, holding Clemson to just two field goals over the final 11:34.

Clemson went nearly eight minutes without a hoop, while the Illini mustered ten to take a 50-43 lead. The Lady Tigers cut it to five on a Pettaway layup, before Illinois scored five straight to take a ten-point lead with 1:56 left.

The Lady Tigers return to play on Sunday at home as they take on Charleston Southern in a noon matchup, which precedes the Men’s Basketball Team’s showdown with South Carolina at 3:30 pm.

Clemson vs. Illinois Postgame NotesDecember 1, 2011 – Littlejohn ColiseumBig Ten/ACC ChallengeTeam Notes* Clemson held Illinois to 0-7 shooting on three-pointers in the first half. That is the fewest made three-point field goals by opponent in a single half since last season when the Lady Tigers held Maryland to 0-2 on three-pointers in the second half.* Clemson finished the game without allowing a three-pointer after holding the Illini to 0-8 from beyond the arc. It is the first time since January 4, 2010, that Clemson has held their opponent without a made three-pointer. That day, Clemson held Charlotte to 0-2 on three-pointers. * Clemson held Illinois to .391 percent shooting in tonight’s game. The Lady Tigers have now held their opponent below .400 percent shooting in every game this season. Individual Notes* Jasmine Tate recorded double-figure rebounds in three straight games last season. Tate had 10, 11 and 11 rebounds in games over Charleston Southern, South Carolina and Kennesaw State respectively.