February 27, 1999
Post Game Audio
Clemson Postgame Audio NC State Postgame Audio
By JOE MACENKA AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Clemson’s 16th-ranked Tigers are well aware that the odds don’t favor winning close games when you make just one field goal in the final five minutes.
“We know we dodged a real big bullet,” Clemson’s Itoro Umoh said after the Tigers pulled out a 52-51 victory over North Carolina State in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament Saturday.
Clemson missed five of its last six field-goal attempts, with the lone exception being a 3-pointer by Nuria Forns. The victory was not secured until N.C. State’s Kristen Gillespie, surrounded by Clemson defenders, put up an off-balance 3-pointer that fell about 4 feet short at the buzzer.
“We played good defense when we had to,” said Umoh, who had 11 points and five assists. “I think our defense in the last 10 seconds was the best defense we played the whole game.”
Amy Geren had 15 points to lead fourth-seeded Clemson (22-5) into Sunday’s semifinals against eighth-ranked and top-seeded Duke. The Blue Devils’ lone conference loss this season was to Clemson.
“This one will come down to defense,” Clemson coach Jim Davis said. “Our players believe in defending. They know that’s how we win games at Clemson. Somehow we’ll find enough points. I don’t know how, though.”
The Tigers wound up shooting 32 percent Saturday, but it was good enough for their third victory in as many games this season against the Wolfpack (16-11).
The loss left N.C. State coach Kay Yow, who led the Wolfpack to the Final Four last season, wondering if her team will even get an invitation to this year’s NCAA tournament. Yow said N.C. State should get a boost from its strong finish to the regular season and its difficult schedule.
“I hope the committee looks at that,” she said. “I know there are a lot of good teams out there. I hope our conference carries enough weight.”
Davis said N.C. State deserves an at-large berth.
“If they’re not one of the 64 best teams in the country,” he said, “there’s something wrong.”
ACC scoring and rebounding leader Summer Erb had 15 points and 11 rebounds to lead N.C. State, but she had just one point in the final 10 minutes. N.C. State also got 12 points from Tynesha Lewis, and LySchale Jones scored all eight of her points in the last 4:39.
Typical of a game matching the fourth and fifth seeds, there were nine lead changes, eight ties, a combined 27 turnovers and no lead of more than six points.
Forns, who finished with five points, gave a Clemson a 51-48 lead with her 3-pointer at the 3:15 mark, and the Tigers held N.C. State to one field goal the rest of the way.
Jones made it 52-51 on a fast-break layup with 49 seconds left, and Umoh set up the Wolfpack for a final shot when she missed a runner in the lane and N.C. State got the rebound with 21 seconds remaining.
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