Tensions soared in an ultra-physical matchup between Clemson and Miami in Littlejohn Coliseum on Sunday afternoon. In the end, the Lady Tigers fell 63-48 to the visiting Hurricanes.
Miami shot the lights out from three-point range and finished 13-27 for 48-percent from beyond the arch. Taylor Mason led the way from three-point land as she shot a perfect 4-of-4 for 12 points from three but Mykea Gray led the way for the Hurricanes with 17 points.
Clemson head coach Amanda Butler felt her team played well but just fell short in the game’s final minutes.
“We did a lot of things right but we had a hard time scoring in the fourth quarter and struggled with turnovers in the first half,” Butler said.
But for Butler the difference in the game was the Hurricane’s ability to knock down three pointers when they needed points.
“The biggest story of the game was that we gave up threes to shooters, we have to give their kids credit for hitting threes that were outside of our scouting,” Butler said.
Clemson (7-19, 3-12 ACC) jumped out to a solid start and exited the first quarter with a 13-12 lead. The effort early stemmed from the hot shooting hand of Kendall Spray.
Spray knocked down three three-pointers in the first period and finished the day four-of-nine from beyond the arch with 14 points.
Miami (13-12, 5-9 ACC) stormed back in the second quarter with five three-pointers of their own to enter the half with a 38-27 advantage.
The Lady Tigers entered the second half with a vengeance and surged from 11 down to cut the score to 44-41 with 2:35 to play in the third period and forced a Miami timeout. But the Hurricanes pushed back with a pair of threes to hold a 50-43 lead as they entered the final quarter.
The fourth quarter proved the most physical with 10 fouls (five per team) in just over four minutes to start a period that saw tempers climb on both benches and culminated with a scrum under the basket that sent Kobi Thornton to the locker room early due to injury.
Miami closed out the game with a 13-1 run over 6:48 to close out its 63-48 road win.
Clemson returns to action on Thursday at 6 p.m. on the road at Syracuse in the Carrier Dome.