Jan. 22, 2010
CHAPEL HILL, NC – Clemson women’s basketball gave one of their best efforts of the season, but a late 23-4 run by North Carolina wiped out a Tiger lead and propelled the #14/15 Tar Heels to a 79-61 victory in Chapel Hill on Friday night. Lele Hardy paced Clemson with 17 points, while April Parker had ten points and a game-high 8 rebounds as well.
The Tigers showed a strong performance in the ball game, erasing an eight-point second half deficit to move ahead. Clemson falls to 9-11 (0-4 ACC) on the season, while the Tar Heels improve to 15-3 and 3-1 in league play. The game concluded a seven game stretch in which Clemson played six ranked teams. Of Clemson’s 11 losses this season, ten have been to Top-100 RPI teams, and the Tigers have already played seven ranked opponents overall.
Hardy’s 17 points were the most she’s scored since she had 21 against Wofford on Dec. 21. She had four steals in the game, giving her 354 in her career. She is currently 16 steals shy of seventh in ACC history in steals, and ranked seventh in nation coming into the game,
Hardy opened the second half scoring for the Tigers, nailing two straight left-wing threes, moving her over the century mark in her career on three-point field goals. She currently ranks seventh in Clemson history in three pointers made in a career, with 101. Her second three also moved her over the 1400 point plateau, only the 12th player in school history to cross that mark.
She finished the game with 1404 career points, moving past Amy Geren for 11th on the all-time scoring list. She only needs five more points to move past Itoro Umoh for tenth on the list.
North Carolina looked like the might pull away when Tierra Ruffin-Pratt put the Heels up 50-40 with 13:56 remaining. McKinney looked as if she might call a timeout, but reconsidered, allowing her team to settle in. The Tigers responded by storming back with a 12-1 run to take a 52-51 lead on a Parker baseline jumper with 7:23 remaining. It was the first lead since the Tigers led 2-0 early 20 seconds in.
The teams traded hoops until North Carolina went on a 23-4 run turning a 57-56 deficit with 7:18 left into a 79-61 win. The Heels finished on a 15-0 run in the final four minutes.
Lele Hardy nine first half points paced Clemson, who had eight players make at least one field goal. Clemson forced 12 turnovers in the half, and pulled down 20 boards, including ten on the offensive end. The two teams traded blows throughout the half, with Hardy’s three pointer with 7:01 remaining knotting the game at nine.
North Carolina eventually stretched the lead to eight just before the half. A Tiger hoop inside of 40 seconds closed the gap to six at 35-29. North Carolina got on offensive board and hit an interior shot for an eight-point advantage. However, Bryelle Smith drove the length of the court and was fouled with 0.2 seconds remaining and hit one free throw, closing the gap to 37-30 at the break.
The Tigers have little time to rest, as they will stay in North Carolina to take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Sunday at 2:00 pm in Winston-Salem.
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