GREENSBORO, N.C. – Despite a sixth-straight double-double by senior forward Janae' Stevenson (Columbia, S.C./Eau Claire), the UNCG women’s basketball team could not overcome Clemson’s 52-percent shooting performance in a 77-71 loss to the Tigers Thursday night at Fleming Gymnasium.
Stevenson dropped in 16 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to extend her school record double-double streak. She was joined in double figures offensively by sophomore guard Lucy Mason (Stone Mountain, Ga./Chamblee Charter) and senior guard Breonna Patterson (Greensboro, N.C./Dudley) who scored 20 and 15 points respectively. Mason scored 18 of her points in the second half, drained a career-best nine foul shots (11 attempts) and dished out a game-high five assists while freshman guard Bailey Williams (Harrisonburg, Va./Spotswood) recorded four helpers.
The Blue and Gold shot 40.7 percent from the field and knocked down a season-best 10 three-point field goals while also going 17-for-24 at the charity stripe (70.8 percent). Conversely, Clemson (5-3) fired at a 52.1-percent clip and was awarded a whopping 35 free throw attempts of which the Tigers hit 25 for 71.4 percent. Many of Clemson’s made field goals came down low as they out-scored the Spartans (4-4) 36-14 in the paint. The Tigers also received over half their points from the bench as the Clemson reserves accounted for 42 points.
In terms of rebounding, UNCG could muster only 24 boards while the Tigers racked up 38 – including 12 offensive rebounds. Other than Stevenson, no Spartan had more than four rebounds and four players failed to corral any boards.
The Blue and Gold got off to a strong start and led 9-4 at the 17:29 mark after freshman guard Shanese Harris (Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch) nailed a three-pointer. Clemson rallied right back and knotted the score at nine on a layup by Quinyotta Pettaway before taking a two-point lead on another layup by Pettaway with 14:15 remaining in the first half.
With the score deadlocked at 17 after two free throws by Mason as the clock under 10 minutes, the Tigers ripped off seven-straight points to move in front 24-17 with 7:31 to play before the break. A three by Bailey Williams pulled UNCG within 26-24 at the 4:06 mark before another layup by Pettaway gave the Tigers a 28-24 edge. Patterson knocked down a triple with 17 seconds on the clock, but Kelly Gramlich was wide open on the other end of the floor and she answered with a three of her own to send Clemson into the locker room with a 31-27 lead.
Stevenson paced the Spartans with eight points and three rebounds in the first 20 minutes while Charmaine Tay poured in nine points and grabbed five rebounds for the Tigers. Clemson held a commanding 21-9 edge on the glass with seven offensive rebounds included in that total.
Williams opened the scoring in the second half with a three-pointer to make the score 31-30, but Sade Chatman scored on the Tigers’ next possession to push the Tiger lead back to three. A triple by Patterson kept Clemson within striking range, 39-36, with 14:31 to play, however, a quick 4-0 run gave the visitors some breathing room. Williams would knock down another three-point field goal to cut the deficit to 43-39 at the 10:57 mark, but UNCG would not score again for another four minutes. In that time, the Tigers would stretch their advantage to as many as 14 at 53-39 – a deficit from which the Spartans would not recover. The final few minutes became a free-throw shooting contest, and a layup by Stevenson would slice the Clemson lead to six with 1:46 on the clock, but the Tigers had enough to hold off the late charge.
UNCG returns to action Saturday, Dec. 14, continuing a seven-game homestand and opening Southern Conference play against preseason favorite and defending league champion Chattanooga. The Spartans and Mocs will tip off at 2 p.m.
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