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Photo Courtesy of Sara D. Davis for theACC.com
Clemson bags first-round win in ACC Women’s Tournament
GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – Less than a week made all the difference for the Clemson women’s basketball team.
Six days after suffering a 26-point loss to Virginia Tech in their regular-season finale, the 13th-seeded Tigers opened the 2014 ACC Tournament with a 69-56 win over the 12th-seeded Hokies on Wednesday afternoon at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Junior Nikki Dixon led the 39-point turnaround with 22 points and a career-high 12 rebounds, and sophomore Nyilah Jamison-Myers added a career-high 19 points for Clemson (13-18), which will move on to face fifth-seeded Syracuse (21-8) in Thursday’s 11 a.m. second-round game.
Virginia Tech ended its season at 14-16.
For the Tigers, the win came five years to the day of their most recent ACC Tournament victory, an 81-69 opening-round win over Georgia Tech in 2009. They quickly went about setting the tone on Wednesday.
Keyed by 11 first-half points apiece from Jamison-Myers and Dixon, the Tigers built a 37-20 lead at the break as the Hokies were saddled by cold shooting and early foul trouble. Virginia Tech went 8-of-27 from the floor in the first 20 minutes. Clemson held a 27-13 edge on the boards and limited the Hokies to just one offensive rebound.
Virginia Tech found its offensive bearings somewhat – particularly All-ACC second teamer Uju Ujoka, who scored 18 of her 20 points in the second stanza. Her three-point play with 6:49 remaining in the game pulled the Hokies within nine points at 55-46.
But Dixon countered with four straight points on a 15-footer and a pair of free throws, and Jamison-Myers muscled in a layup to cap a 6-0 spurt that pushed Clemson’s lead back to 15 at 61-46. Virginia Tech did not get closer than 12 points the rest of the way.
Clemson shot 43 percent from the floor but went 21-of-28 from the foul line. Dixon connected on 12-of-15 from the stripe, and Jamison-Myers was 7-of-9. The Tigers outrebounded the Hokies 41-34 for the game.
The 37th Annual ACC Women's Basketball Tournament will continue throughout the week at the Greensboro Coliseum, and will conclude with the 7 p.m. championship contest on Sunday, March 9. The title game will be televised on ESPN, and Saturday’s 5 p.m and 7:30 p.m. semifinal games will be shown nationally via ESPNU. All 11 games on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will be broadcast on the league’s regional sports network (RSN). The entire tournament can also be seen on ESPN3 and WatchESPN.