Dec. 15, 2008
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CLEMSON, SC – The Clemson women’s basketball team erased a halftime deficit for the fifth straight game and four players scored in double figures as the Lady Tigers edged Chattanooga, 79-74, on Monday night at Littlejohn Coliseum.
The Lady Mocs led, 36-27, at the break and held off multiple Clemson rallies before the Lady Tigers went on a 13-10 run that resulted in their first lead since early in the first half. Sthefany Thomas knocked down a jumper to put Clemson on top 65-64 and an unguarded Lele Hardy made a lay-up for the three-point advantage.
Hardy finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the year while Thomas had 15 point for a season high, as the Lady Tigers improved to 8-2.
“The girls played with a lot of determination,” said Clemson Head Coach Cristy McKinney. “They never gave up throughout the game. We were down after the first half, but we never quit. I commend the girls for their resilience at the end of the game and I’m proud of the win tonight.”
The victory was the Lady Tigers’ sixth straight, which is the team’s longest winning streak under McKinney, and their third consecutive in thrilling fashion. Hardy hit a three-pointer as time expired to send the Clemson-Northwestern game into overtime on Dec. 4. The Lady Tigers then came back from a 14-point halftime deficit against Ohio on Dec. 6.
Following the Clemson run, Chattanooga’s Erin Ogan drained a three-pointer with 5:12 remaining to tie the game at 69 apiece and the Lady Mocs regained the lead on a free throw by Shanara Hollinquest at 4:29. Hardy hit a three-point field goal from the left wing on Clemson’s next possession to put it on top for the rest of the way. Thomas then converted the front end of a one-and-one for the three-point cushion with 2:31 left.
Andrea Neil cut the lead to 73-72 before Hardy responded with a basket on the other end with just under a minute remaining. Jenaya Wade-Frey’s basket in the paint made it a one-point game again with 36 seconds left, but Thomas and Tasha Taylor each knocked down a pair of free throws with under 15 seconds remaining to secure the Lady Tiger victory.
Chattanooga, which fell to 6-4, had led by as many 13 in the game and 10 in the second half. Shanara Hollinquest led the Lady Mocs with 24 points and nine rebounds and Wade-Frey finished with 15 points and a team-best five assists.
Taylor had 13 points and five assists while Whitney Hood added 11 in the Clemson effort. The Lady Tigers overcame a .500 field goal percentage for Chattanooga by shooting 51.6-percent from the field themselves. Clemson also forced 20 Lady Moc turnovers and recorded nine steals in the game.
The Lady Tigers will return to action next Monday as they travel to the Atlanta area to take on the Georgia Bulldogs at the Gwinnet Center.
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