It was not pretty, but nonetheless it was win.
The Clemson women used a late run over the final 8:35 to beat Kennesaw State Friday, 41-28, to open up the 2017-’18 basketball season at Littlejohn Coliseum.
The Lady Tigers went a 13-1 run after Alexis Poole made a layup for Kennesaw State with 9:27 to play in the game, pulling the Owls within a point at 28-27. But, that was the last field goal Clemson allowed the rest of the way as Jaia Alexander hit a jump shot and then later a three-pointer with 3:13 to play to seal the Lady Tigers’ win.
Danielle Edwards led Clemson with seven points and six rebounds, while Alexander finished with six points, seven rebounds and three assists.
Neither team shot the basketball well. The Lady Tigers shot 26 percent from the floor, while Kennesaw State was even worse at 18 percent for the game. The Owls were 1-for-14 behind the three-point line, while the Tigers weren’t much better at 3-for-19.
The difference in the game was Clemson’s ability to make free throws. The Lady Tigers connected on 10-of-13 foul shots (77 percent), while Kennesaw State made just 7-of-16 from the charity strip (44 percent).
Clemson also won the rebounding edge, 48-41.
The Lady Tigers (1-0) led 21-14 at the break despite shooting just 20 percent from the field. However, the defense held the Owl to 14.8 percent shooting.
Francesca Tagliapietra recorded six points in the first half, her first points since the 2014-15 season, after she missed the previous two seasons due to injury. Junior Sirah Diarra pulled down seven rebounds in the first half.
Both teams turned the ball over 18 times, but Clemson had a small 15-12 edge in points off turnovers.
Kobi Thornton, and freshmen Tylar Bennett and Destiny Thomas, each finished with six points. Alexander and Diarra both tallied seven rebounds to pace the Tigers on the glass, while Alexander also had a team-best three assists.
The Lady Tigers will be back in action on Monday when they host S.C. State at 7 p.m. at Littlejohn Coliseum.