Clemson started out hot despite the looming winter weather Saturday with a season high 28 points in the first quarter as it cruised to a 80-67 victory over Rhode Island. It marked the Lady Tigers’ fifth straight win overall and sixth straight win in Littlejohn Coliseum.
The Lady Tigers (6-3) seized control early and did not let up, maintaining a double-digit lead for the entire game after the first period. Their lead swelled to as much as 26 in the third quarter with as 53-27 advantage.
Clemson head coach Amanda Butler was proud of the hot start and energy her team showed on the court.
“I loved our energy, that was what we spent the most time talking about in the locker room,” Butler said. “This is the best energy game we have had all season and a career high of energy.”
Junior Kobi Thornton continued her impressive start to the 2018-19 season leading her team in both points and rebounds. She finished the day with 23 points and seven rebounds and could have done more if she did not pick up her fourth foul in the third quarter.
When Thornton got into foul trouble, the ever-reliable, Danielle Edwards stepped up and finished the day with 17 points and three assists. She contributed with excellent defensive performance as well adding three steals, batting away several loose balls and taking a few charges.
The first quarter is the best 10 minutes they have played all season as Clemson wrapped up the quarter with a 28-11 lead over the Rams. It finished the period 11-of-14 from the floor and netted all three, three-point field goals. The previous best quarter was a 26-10 second quarter against Oklahoma earlier this season.
After falling behind by 26 points Rhode Island (5-4) battled back with a few runs in the third quarter, including a 9-0 run, and cut the Tiger lead to as close as ten in the final period. However, the Rams never cut the lead to single digits.
Butler liked how her team responded and maintained control despite the late push by Rhode Island.
“It was really hard to sustain it, we had some ebbs and flows of energy there in the middle of the game,” Butler said. “I liked the way that we came back and held on.”
After taking a break for exams, Clemson returns to action on December 16thwhen it hosts Davidson in Littlejohn Coliseum at 2 p.m.
Photo courtesy of Clemson Athletic Communications.