MIAMI, Fla. – An 11-point deficit with 3:20 remaining was not enough to stop the Clemson women’s basketball team, which went on a 17-4 run to end the game and defeat FIU, 67-65, on a buzzer-beating fastbreak layup by senior Alexis Carter on Thursday afternoon at the Ocean Bank Convention Center in Miami, Fla. Junior Danielle Edwards scored nine of the team’s 17 points in the run, helping the Tigers improve to 10-3 on the season, while the Panthers dropped to 2-10 with the loss.
The Tigers jumped out to a 13-4 lead to open the game, but the Panthers hit two three-pointers to gain the momentum and finish the quarter with a 24-20 lead. For the second day in a row, the Clemson defense played a great second quarter, holding FIU to just seven points on 3-for-11 from the floor. Redshirt junior Francesca Tagliapietra hit two threes in the second quarter, including one at the 9:00 mark to give the Tigers a 25-24 lead, and had a team-best eight points.
FIU controlled most of the second half, and extended its lead to 11 points, 61-50, with 3:20 remaining in the game, when the Tigers started putting together their comeback. Clemson cut the deficit to one point twice in the final 32 seconds, but the Panthers hit two free throws to take a 65-62 lead with 0:16 remaining. With the ball, the Tigers called a play for Edwards, who drained a three-pointer to tie the game with 10 seconds left. Solid defense on the next possession led Francesca Tagliapietra to steal the ball and pass it ahead to Alexis Carter who laid the ball in for the gamewinner as time expired.
The Tigers made 9-for-16 field goals (56.3%) in the fourth quarter, while holding FIU to just 3-for-14 (21.4%). The Panthers were a highly impressive 25-for-26 (96.2%) from the free throw line in the contest.
Edwards finished the game with 16 points, including nine in the final 2:44. She also had five rebounds and four steals in the game. Four of Carter’s six points came in the final two minutes of the game, including the buzzer beater, and the senior also tallied five assists in the game. Tagliapietra finished the game with 12 points, tying her career high, and also had five rebounds and two steals, including the one that led to Carter’s game-winner. Junior Aliyah Collier and sophomore Kobi Thornton added nine and eight points, respectively, and freshman Tylar Bennett added four more blocked shots to her impressive total of now 31 on the season.
Clemson returns to action on Sunday, Dec. 31 when it opens Atlantic Coast Conference play on the road at Georgia Tech. The Tigers face the Yellow Jackets at 2 p.m. at McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta, Ga.
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