By Staff Report.
CLEMSON, SC – The Clemson Lady Tigers defense held NC State without a hoop for more than five and a half minutes to pull within seven with 3:15 to play, but the Wolfpack (13-6, 3-3 ACC) held on down the stretch for the 62-46 win in Littlejohn Coliseum. Clemson’s freshmen combined for 40 of the Lady Tigers’ (5-11, 1-4 ACC) 46 points, including 18 from Kelly Gramlich and 17 from leading scorer Nikki Dixon.
Clemson stayed in the game with strong defense, registering 23 points off 22 NC State turnovers, but shot just .333 from the floor in the loss. Clemson falls to 30-49 all-time against the Wolfpack, who put three players in double-figures. Bonae Holston had 17 points and 14 boards for State, while Emili Tasler had 16 points and Marissa Kastanek tallied 13 points, with all of those coming the in second half.
The Lady Tigers held NC State to .362 shooting, but again struggled to get anything consistent out of its offense, as they hit .375 from three-point range and .263 from inside the arc against the taller Wolfpack players. The Tigers had just ten points in the paint, and got a total of six points out of their three main post players.
Gramlich, had a tremendous second frame, scoring 16 points while playing the entire half. The freshman hit four threes in the game for the second time this season, and her 18 points were the second-most in her young career. She’s now scored in double-figures in three straight, and is averaging 10.0 ppg in ACC play.
Senior Lindsey Mason accomplished a significant individual milestone in recording three blocks on the night. The Woodstock, GA native tallied her 129 career block, moving her past Clemson Hall-of-Famer Barbara Kennedy for a tie for second on the all-time list with Jackie Farmer. She needs just one to move alone into second place. Mason also added four points and eight rebounds, which was tied for herr third-highest output of the season.
Dixon had 11 points in the first half, and finished with 17 on 5-15 shooting and a 6-8 mark from the charity stripe. She also tied a career high with five steals, as she entered the game sixth in the ACC at 2.5 per game, tops among all league freshmen. Dixon has scored in double-figures 11 times this season, and upped her scoring average to 12.1 points per game, second among all league freshmen.
NC State took advantage of Clemson from deep, hitting 7-20 from behind the arc, including a 4-7 mark from Tasler. By comparison, Clemson had surrendered just four three-point goals total in the past two games. Clemson entered the game leading the ACC in field goal percent defense (.332), three-point field goal percentage defense (.197), and second in points allowed (53.8) in ACC play this season.
NC State had led by as many as 16 with 6:07 to play, before Clemson narrowed the margin. Clemson pulled within seven at 49-42 with 3:15 to play after Gramlich hit both ends of a one-and-one. But NC State responded with a 10-0 run over the next two minutes, capped by a Kastanek corner three with 1:12 to play. Clemson held the Wolfpack to just two field goals over the final seven minutes, but each were big threes to stop Lady Tiger runs.
Clemson will hit the road to play at Wake Forest on Sunday at 2:00 pm, before taking on Duke next Friday in the Pack The House game, which will be televised by the regional sports network. Admission for that game will be available for $1.00.