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The Tiger

Clemson women’s basketball season outlook

The fall of 2016 marks a new beginning for Clemson’s women’s basketball team. Coming off a difficult season, in which they went 4-24 overall and 0-15 in conference play, the Tigers are looking to rebound this year. 

The 2015-16 campaign was a rebuilding season of sorts for the Tigers, as there were zero seniors and only one junior on the roster. Now, Clemson is much older and wiser and set to make some noise in the ACC in the 2016-17 season.

With head coach Audra Smith entering her fourth year at the helm of the program, this upcoming season is a pivotal one for the Tigers, who have not received a berth in the NCAA Tournament since 2002. Several players have transferred from Clemson in recent years, which is understandable for a team undergoing a culture change. The tide, though, seems to have settled at the onset of this season.

A new beginning, both literally and figuratively, the fall of 2016 brings with it much promise and much change for the Tigers. With the Littlejohn Coliseum renovations finished and the basketball offices just recently being transferred to the swanky Swann Pavilion that adjoins Littlejohn, the new digs are symbolic of this new beginning for the Tigers.

Clemson opened up preseason practice last week and will open up play at the end of the month with an exhibition game at home against the West Alabama Tigers. 

Led by junior wing player Nelly Perry, who averaged 14.3 points per game last season, and sophomore point guard Danielle Edwards, who is coming off a solid freshman season that saw her amass 84 assists, Clemson is in good hands this year.

The ACC, as always, is predicted to be very deep and very competitive this season, so the Tigers will have their work cut out for them once conference play begins. However, Clemson should look to utilize non-conference play to settle into a rhythm and set the stage for a much-improved performance in conference play. 

Last season was rough, but it was part of the rebuilding process and assuredly served as a vital learning experience for the players. With hotshot forward Kobi Thornton, a freshman out of Cuthbert, Georgia, joining the ranks, as well as three other talented freshman, Clemson boasts plenty of depth and skill this year.

With four of its first five regular season games taking place at home, Clemson should expect to start the season off on a high note before transitioning into the team’s first real test, the Puerto Rico Classic. The tournament, which was recently relocated to Las Vegas over Zika concerns in Puerto Rico, will serve as a late November challenge for the Tigers.

All in all, the upcoming season should feature a high level of excitement from the Tigers, who are primed to show plenty of improvement from last season and make an impact in the ACC. 

Coach Smith and her staff have recruited well in recent years, helping to rejuvenate the program and establish a bright future for it. The

Tigers are still young, but as the roster’s experience grows, the wins will begin to accumulate. With that being said, this season is a fresh start for the Tigers, and plenty of winning is on the horizon.

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