RALEIGH, N.C.— In a hard-fought battle to the end, the Clemson Tigers came up short, 54-51, to No. 8 NC State at Reynolds Coliseum on Thursday.
“We saw some moments of our best today, but we have to give NC State a lot of credit,” said head coach Amanda Butler. “They really established themselves in the paint and beat us on the boards. We were digging out of that rebound hole for a long time in the second half but the team had tremendous fight and belief we will be better because of it.”
Putting forth a solid defensive showing, the Tigers limited the high-scoring Wolfpack offense to just 54 points on 38.3 percent shooting, including a 3-of-22 output from beyond the arc. Forcing 21 turnovers, Clemson nearly pulled off the comeback, thanks in large part to several key steals in the fourth quarter.
Guard Simone Westbrook put on a veteran performance, tallying 18 points and four rebounds to go along with her five steals. Continuing to produce off the bench for the Tigers, senior Aliyah Collier notched her first double-double of the season with 13 points and a season-high 13 boards.
Following an evenly matched first half that saw the Wolfpack up, 30-25, at halftime, NC State (19-0, 6-0 ACC) gradually stretched its lead to 11 points with eight minutes to go in the final frame.
However, Clemson (14-6, 5-2 ACC) did not back down, limiting the home team to just six points in an intense fourth quarter that came down to the wire.
Manufacturing a commanding 14-2 run, the Tigers capitalized on three straight backcourt steals to make it a one-possession game with 4:43 to play in the game. Just 20 seconds later, Westbrook converted a fast break layup off a dish by Collier to put the Tigers ahead, 51-50. Despite a defensive battle in the final minutes, NC State sunk a pair of layups to stave off the Clemson comeback.
Following a week of rest, the Tigers will take on No. 1 Notre Dame (19-1, 6-0) in Littlejohn Coliseum on Thursday, Jan. 31. The opening tip is scheduled for 7 p.m.
—Clemson Athletic Communications
Move over Alabama, Clemson is the new King of College Football. In our new magazine “Little Ole Clemson”: The Best “Little” Dynasty Ever, we examine not just the 2018 team’s run to being “the best ever” but examine the last four seasons and how Dabo Swinney turned Clemson into the new dynasty of college football. We also take a look at the role former athletic director Terry Don Phillips played. We go behind the scenes at the Tigers’ run to a second national championship in three seasons and the previous three national championship runs. It also features stories on the Power Rangers, the 2018 senior class, high quality photos and much, much more.
We are pleased to announce that our latest magazine is ready for Preorders. Get your order in today to make sure you get a copy of this collector’s edition.