Lady Tigers Advance To Husky Classic Championship Game With 68-53 Win Over Kent State

Lady Tigers Advance To Husky Classic Championship Game With 68-53 Win Over Kent State

Nov. 28, 2008

Final Stats

Box Score in PDF Format

SEATTLE, WA – The Clemson women’s basketball team used a 14-1 run in the second half and a double-double performance by Lele Hardy to defeat Kent State, 68-53, on Friday afternoon in the opening round of the Husky Classic. The Lady Tigers will play for the tournament title at 5:00 (Eastern) on Sunday afternoon at the Bank of America Arena on the campus of the University of Washington.

Clemson (4-2) will face the winner of the host-Huskies and Seattle Redhawks.

Trailing by five (39-34) at the 15:47 mark of the second half, the Lady Tigers put together a 14-1 run over the next five minutes, capitalizing on their speed and forcing 26 turnovers for the game to gain a solid advantage over the Golden Flashes (3-1).

“We were a little quicker than Kent State and we moved Lele (Hardy) to the `four’ spot, which is not her usual position, to take advantage of a size match-up,” said Clemson Head Coach Cristy McKinney.

Hardy finished the game with 22 points to lead all scorers while pulling down 11 rebounds for her first double-double of the 2008-09 season. Sthefany Thomas also posted double figures on Friday afternoon with 12, while Jasmine Tate tied her career high with five blocked shots.

The first half was a close ballgame that saw neither team take a lead greater than four points. With the Golden Flashes holding a 13-11 edge, Lele Hardy scored two straight baskets to put the Lady Tigers on top. Kent State regained the advantage and led again at 25-23.

Three straight Clemson field goals, including a back-door play by Hardy and a driving layup by Bryelle Smith, gave the Lady Tigers a 29-25 lead. Smith hit a free throw with three minutes remaining for Clemson’s final points of the half, while Anna Kowalska made a pair of shots to put the Golden Flashes on top by three (33-30) at the break.

“I’m really proud of the team’s play and effort in the second half.” McKinney said. “We got a lot of good play out of a lot of different players.”

The Lady Tigers limited Kent State to just 20 points and a .241 field goal percentage in the second half while knocking down 16-of-37 from the floor themselves. Kent State also shot just 2-of-13 from three-point range in the game, down from its season average of 41.5-percent.

Kirstyn Wright drained a three-pointer from the corner to start the Clemson run and Hardy had six points during the stretch. The lead grew to as many as 15 points on a lay-up by Christy Brown at the 5:09 mark. The Lady Tigers held the Golden Flashes to just one field goal in the final 3:47 and Hardy closed out the last minutes of the game with back-to-back transition baskets. Clemson finished the game with 16 fast break points while holding Kent State without a transition field goal the entire contest.

Kowalska, who had 10 of her team’s 20 second-half points, finished with 18 on Friday afternoon while also totaling nine rebounds in the effort.