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Clemson women’s basketball comes back for big win against North Carolina

Despite North Carolina’s impressive performance beyond the three-point line, the Tigers came back in the fourth quarter to mount an impressive 78-67 victory over the Tar Heels.
The Tar Heels took the offensive charge from the start, scoring first and not giving up the lead until there was only 4:26 left in the game. The Tigers quickly fell behind, with the first quarter ending at 23-13, and found themselves at a 15-point deficit twice during the second quarter, which ended at 42-31.
In the middle of the third quarter, the Tigers were shooting FGs at 18-41 (43.9 percent) in dismal comparison to NC’s 21-37 (56.8 percent); similarly, the Tigers were 1-7 (14.3 percent) beyond the three-point line while NC was 7-16 (43.8 percent). One of the keys to Clemson’s victory had already begun to rear its head, however: NC had been given no shots from the free-throw line, but the Tigers were already 8-9 (88.9 percent). The Tigers continued to excel in the paint throughout the quarter, claiming eight unanswered points and tying the game up briefly before the third quarter ended at 54-53.
The fourth quarter started out exceptionally slowly, but after Clemson’s Jaia Alexander took the lead for the first time in the game, the Tigers pushed their offense into overdrive, netting 16 points in less than four minutes (compared to NC’s four in the same time).
Clemson, now 13-11 and 2-9 in the ACC, was led to its second ACC victory this season by Aliyah Collier with a game-high 27 points; she went 11-14 (78.6 percent) in FGs and 5-8 (62.5 percent) in FTs. Kobi Thornton followed with 19 points, going 6-10 (60 percent) in FGs and 7-9 (77.8 percent) in FTs.
Had the Tar Heels managed to continue their three-pointer domination, they very well could’ve claimed the win. However, after going 6-12 (50 percent) at halftime, they faltered severely, finishing at 8-28 (28.6 percent). Clemson scored at will in the paint in the latter half of the game, making 46 points in layups compared to NC’s 18 points. Combined with their 48 points in the paint, the 21 points the Tigers netted with their 21-27 (77.8 percent) performance from the free-throw line would’ve won them the game.
The Tar Heels’ accumulation of personal fouls (PFs) was steady throughout the game; both team-high scorer Jamie Cherry and Alyssa Okoene were fouled out in the fourth quarter, and the team ended with 22 PFs in total.
NC, now 13-10 and 2-8 in the ACC, was led by Cherry with 22 points; she went 9-15 (60 percent) in FGs and 4-7 (57.1 percent) in three-pointers. Paris Kea followed closely behind with 18 points, going 9-14 (64.3 percent) in FGs.
The Tigers will look to use this momentum to lead them to another win at Pittsburgh (12-11, 3-7 in the ACC) this Thursday, Feb. 9; the game against the Panthers is set to start at 6:30 p.m. at the Petersen Events Center.

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