Photo courtesy of Georgia Tech Athletics
ATLANTA – Despite putting forth a valiant come-from-behind effort in the fourth quarter, the Clemson Tigers were edged out by the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on Sunday. The Tigers trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half at McCamish Pavilion, but a great defensive performance in the second half resulted in Clemson nearly coming away with the win. In the end, though, Georgia Tech triumphed 49-47.
Defense was the story of the low-scoring game. Clemson (5-11, 1-4) limited Georgia Tech (13-3, 4-1) to a shooting percentage of 28.8. Clemson shot 45.2 percent from the floor and benefited from 22 bench points. As the final score indicates, many elements of the game were evenly matched. Each squad hauled down 34 rebounds and tallied 22 points in the paint. A primary difference maker in the game was Georgia Tech scoring 22 points off 22 Clemson turnovers. The Yellow Jackets also amassed 14 second-chance points and went 10-of-13 at the free throw line. As for Clemson’s free throw shooting, the Tigers were 6-of-13 at the charity stripe.
The star of the game for Clemson was Shania Meertens, who scored a season-high 17 points and went 7-of-11 from the field. Meertens was Clemson’s leading scorer and rebounder, as she also tabbed five boards. Nine of Meertens’ 17 points were scored in the second quarter, when she went 4-for-4 on field goal attempts, including an impressive 3-pointer with the shot clock running down, and incited the Tigers. Kobi Thornton chipped in eight points and grabbed three rebounds on the afternoon for Clemson. Georgia Tech’s Francesca Pan led all scorers with 17 points.
The Yellow Jackets led 11-5 through one quarter of play and proceeded to garner a 26-19 advantage heading into halftime. Although they were held to a 28.6 shooting percentage in the first half, the Yellow Jackets compiled 14 points off 15 turnovers. The Tigers finished the first half off well, though, by connecting on five of their last seven shot attempts in the second quarter. Clemson then outscored Georgia Tech 13-12 in the third quarter, a period in which the Tigers committed only one turnover.
A 7-0 Clemson run in the fourth quarter resulted in the Tigers taking their first lead of the game via a jumper by Thornton. Kendall Spray highlighted Clemson’s surge with an impressive step-back 3-pointer that knotted the game up at 41 points apiece and set the stage for Thornton’s go-ahead shot. The Yellow Jackets fought back, however, and a second-chance 3-ball by Jasmine Carson with just over one minute to play provided Georgia Tech with a lead that it did not relinquish.
Clemson will return home for its next outing, with the Pittsburgh Panthers (3-12, 0-4) coming to Littlejohn Coliseum for a matchup on Thursday, Jan. 16. The ACC battle in Clemson, S.C., will tip off at 7 p.m. and is scheduled to be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.
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