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Tigers Erase 18-Point Deficit But Fall at Virginia Tech, 70-69

Feb. 25, 2010

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BLACKSBURG, VA – Lele Hardy had 22 points in the second half, helping the Tigers erase an 18-point second-half deficit, but the Tigers (12-17, 3-10 ACC) were unable to get a shot off on the game’s final possession as the Hokies (15-13, 4-9 ACC) won, 70-69, in Blacksburg on Thursday night. Hardy finished with a season-high 28 points, the most Virginia Tech had allowed by a single player all season.

Clemson turned a 44-26 deficit into a 60-58 lead with 4:30 to play in the game, but fell for the first time this season in games decided by three points or less or in overtime. They had been 6-0 in that situation They also fell to 12-2 when reaching 65 points this season.

Hardy had an outstanding second half, nailing 9-12 of her field goal attempts and 4-5 three-pointers in the second half, almost single-handedly keeping the Tigers afloat. Sthefany Thomas also had a key three pointer to tie the game, and she finished with 11 points.

Hardy also had three steals, moving her total to 388 in her career, and up to within one of 23rd on the NCAA’s all-time list.

Shanel Harrison had a career-high 20 points and Utahya Drye had all 13 of her points in the second frame, as the Hokies hit 28 of their 51 attempts in the game, while Clemson knocked in 19 of their 35 second-half shots. Additionally, Clemson had only 12 turnovers in the game, tying a season low.

The Tigers were cold in the first half, hitting just 7-26 from the field. However, they forced 10 turnovers, while only committing six, keeping them close despite a 55.0% shooting half from the Hokies. The Tigers cut a ten-point deficit down to six at the under-four media timeout, but the Hokies used a 17-5 run over the course of the next five minutes to take a 44-26 lead with just over 18 minutes to play.

The Tigers responded with an 8-2 run to close the gap to 46-34 in only a two minutes span. Clemson closed it further to nine at 48-39 on a layup from Hardy with just over twelve minutes to play. The Tigers started to force the pace of the game to speed up, and were able to force some difficult shots from Tech. Baskets from Thomas and Gillespie and a left corner three from Hardy closed the gap to two at 49-47 with 8:31 to play, a total of a 21-5 run.

The Hokies stretched the lead back to seven with 6:17 to play, but two threes by Hardy and one from Thomas knotted the game at 58 before a steal and hoop from Hardy gave the Tigers a 60-58 lead with 4:30 to play. The Hokies answered with a Brittany Gordon layup to again tie the score at 60-apiece. The Hokies then scored again, but Bryelle Smith had an answer.

Virginia Tech the scored out of a timeout and got another layup from Utahya Drye to take a four point lead with 1:35 to play. It appeared as if the Hokies had the game sewed up as they had the ball with under 20 second to play up four, but Hardy stole the ball at half court and hit a three form the left wing on the fast break to pull Clemson to within one at 70-69. Gillespie fouled Davis with 7.0 seconds to play, sending her to the line for two. She missed both, and Tate came down with the board and found Hardy, who was tied up with 0.2 seconds to play. The Tigers were unable to get a shot off, clinching the win for the Hokies.

The Tigers close down the regular season on Sunday at 2:00 pm as they honor their seniors against Wake Forest. They will head to the ACC tournament on Mar. 4 for the first round in Greensboro, NC.

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