February 3, 1999
CLEMSON, S.C. – Juana Brown scored eight points in the last five minutes and tallied 21 overall to lead 13th-ranked North Carolina to a 76-72 victory over 17th -ranked Clemson at Littlejohn Coliseum Wednesday night. It was North Carolina’s second win over the Lady Tigers this year and its fifth victory over a ranked team this year.
North Carolina improved to 22-4 overall and 9-3 in the ACC, while Clemson fell to 17-5 overall and 7-5 in the ACC. North Carolina connected on 3-4 shots from the field and 6-6 free throws inside the last five minutes of the game.
Brown scored her 21 points on six field goals, including four three-pointers and 5-5 free throws. It was her second straight 20-point game, the first time this year she has had consecutive 20-point scoring games.
Brown received support from LaQuanda Barksdale, who had 17 points and Yanick Clay, who scored 12. Clemson held North Carolina leading scorer Nikki Tealsey to just eight points, on 4-12 shooting.
Clemson was led by senior guards Amy Geren and Itoro Umoh, who had 23 points apiece. It was the first time this year that both players scored at least 20 points in the same game and the 46 points were the most combined points by the starting guards this year. Geren moved into ninth place on Clemson’s all-time scoring list, while Umoh jumped to 10th with the scoring performance.
Clemson played its third straight game without starting forward Erin Batth, who is out with a torn ACL injury. Clemson is now 1-2 in those games. Clemson also played most of the game without Natasha Anderson, who played just 15 minutes due to foul trouble.
Nikki Blassingame scored 14 points and had 12 rebounds to support the Clemson guards, giving the trio of senior starters 60 of Clemson’s 72 points.
Clemson held a 40-36 lead at intermission thanks to the play of Umoh and team rebounding. Umoh shot 5-5 from the field in the first half and Clemson led the rebounding 22-11 at intermission. Clemson held the lead for the first 12 minutes of the second half. Clemson’s largest lead was six points at 50-44 with 12:21 to go on a layup by Blassingame.
North Carolina went on a 13-6 run and took the lead at 8:07 on a layup by Yanick Clay. The two teams traded baskets for the next two minutes. Clemson’s last lead was 58-57 on two free throws by Umoh with 6:37 remaining. The score was tied at 62 with 4:59 left when Amy Geren made a pair of free throws.
The key play of the game took place with 2:55 left. North Carolina had the ball and a 65-64 lead when Brown took a three-point shot from the wing. The ball was knocked out of bounds off North Carolina’s Clay, according to the referee under the basket, who awarded the ball to Clemson. But, she was over-ruled by an outside official and North Carolina was awarded the ball. Three seconds after the in-bounds, Brown connected on a three-point shot, giving the Tar Heels a 68-64 advantage and a two-possession advantage.
Clemson cut the lead to 74-72 with four seconds left on a three-point goal by Geren, but when Jessica Gaspar made two free throws with two seconds left, North Carolina had its 22nd win of the season.
Clemson won the battle of the rebounding, 39-34, but North Carolina had the advantage in the second half, 23-17. North Carolina committed 19 turnovers to just 11 by the Tar Heels. Clemson made 15-16 free throws in the second half to aid its cause, but Clemson shot just 31 percent from the field in the second half after hitting 56 percent in the first half.
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