Sophomore Nikki Dixon had 21 points and Natiece Ford added 16 to lead the shorthanded Clemson Tigers over Wake Forest Thursday night in Winston-Salem. The Tigers formed a pregame layup line that consisted of seven players, only six of whom would play. The Deacons, coming off a lopsided home loss to Duke, hoped to take advantage of Clemson's personnel disadvantage and get back in the win column.
Instead, Clemson (5-12. 1-5 ACC) methodically picked apart the Deacon's aggressive trapping defense, racing to a 42-33 halftime lead on the strength of multiple baskets off of back-door cuts. The Tigers' effectiveness against the trap forced Wake Forest head coach Jen Hoover to abandon the trap altogether in the second half, forcing Clemson to try and score in the half court.
Wake Forest (9-8, 2-3 ACC) frantically clawed back, eventually taking a one-point lead with 3:42 remaining in the game. The Deacon lead was 2 with 2:42 remaining when Dixon tied it for the Tigers. The Deacons would not score again until there were nine seconds left and the game was in hand. The Deacons were led by Chelsea Douglas' 15 points and 4 assists, while three other players had 9 each.
"We really focused on taking good shots,".said Clemson coach Itoro Coleman. However we ran our sets, we set good screens and we got them shots in areas that we knew that they could make those shots. That game plan worked to near perfection in the first half, as the Lady Tigers shot a blistering 55% from the field.
"We just started really flat. We let Clemson outwork us in the first half. I don't know, we didn't play Wake Forest basketball and I think that's the biggest thing. Right now, we're really upset and Coach Hoover is upset also. They came in here thinking this was going to be their first ACC win, and I don't know what it was with us, but they really outworked us."- Wake Forest senior Sandra Garcia
Next up for the Deacons is a trip to Chestnut Hill to face Boston College on Sunday, They will return to the Joel next Thursday night against the highly touted Miami Hurricanes. Tip is at 6:30, parking is free.