Fifth-seeded NC State Pulls Away from Clemson, 67-53
March 2, 2006
GREENSBORO - North Carolina State overcame its worst shooting half of the season, getting 16 points from Marquetta Dickens to pull away from Clemson 67-53 Thursday in the opening round of the ACC Women's Basketball Tournament.
The fifth-seeded Wolfpack (18-10) advanced to play fourth-seeded Florida State in Friday's quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Clemson finished 8-21, losing its final 11 games under first-year coach Cristy McKinney.
The Wolfpack lost a month ago to the Seminoles 75-61.
"When we played at Florida State we didn't play as aggressively as we should have," Wolfpack coach Kay Yow said. "Now we have a chance again to see what we can do."
N.C. State couldn't have gotten off to a worse start, going the first 4:24 without a point and then another scoreless span of more than five minutes to fall behind the Tigers 24-23 at the break.
"I've always said the first game of the ACC Tournament is the hardest to play," Yow said. "We seemed a little tight and not quite ourselves in that first half."
Still, the Wolfpack stayed in the game by outscoring the Tigers 8-0 on the foul line.
"I thought we really challenged a lot of their shots, but yeah we felt like we should have been up more," McKinney said. "We felt like we lost some good opportunities. And the foul line made a huge difference.
"They do a better job of taking it at people, feeling the contact and continuing to go through," the Clemson coach added. "We drive it, feel the contact and back away from the contact. We've got to learn some of the things they do."
At one point in the opening 20 minutes, N.C. State had missed 18 of 23 shots and finished the half shooting just 24.1 percent. The starters were a combined 4-for-16 with seven turnovers.
But the more talented and experienced Wolfpack pulled away from Clemson in the second half, making 15 of its first 22 shots to shoot 60 percent.
The Tigers were hanging tough and trailed only 46-42 before the Wolfpack went on a 15-3 late run to close the deal. Sasha Reaves started the spurt with a pair of layups, while Ashley Key and Dickens ended it with 3-pointers.
Dickens was one of just a few players who shot well in a game that saw a combined 40 turnovers and 6-of-20 3-point shooting. The Wolfpack guard was 5-for-8 from the field and 5-for-7 from the foul line in 34 minutes.
"I've been working on my shot all week," Dickens said. "I've been focusing on that and I had a lot of good screens off the dribble today."
Clemson has now lost six of its last seven ACC Tournament games with four of the defeats coming against the Wolfpack.
The Tigers were battling foul trouble all game and were outscored at the foul line 19-9.
"We've struggled all year to play for 40 minutes," McKinney said. "We'll be in it at halftime and do a pretty good job and then give up 45 to 50 points in the second half of every game. We've got to find a way in the future to play for 40 minutes."