No. 9 Tar Heels Handily Dispatch Tigers
***Listen to the recap***
With the loss, Clemson dropped to 9-9 on the season and 1-3 in conference. ACC Player of the Week Nikki Dixon wasn’t enough to overcome the dynamic play of Carolina’s youth.
Diamond DeShields, with 24 points, and Allisha Gray, with 16 points, led the way for Carolina in scoring as they delivered an impressive performance on ‘Throwback Thursday’.
After a somewhat sluggish start, Carolina’s offense got going as DeShields’s shots started falling and Stephanie Mavunga’s inside force was put on full display. The Tar Heels pulled away from the Tigers by halftime and continued to dominate the second half play.
The Tigers drew first blood in the contest and jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead with 18:35 on the first half clock.
The Tar Heel defense began to stiffen as they forced a shot clock violation on Clemson.
Dixon powered her way to the basket and made a tough bank to push the Tigers out to an 8-2 advantage with 16:45 to play in the opener.
And Dixon was at it again when she popped an outside three-pointer to increase the margin even wider with an 11-2 lead.
Mavunga made a layup off an assist by Brittany Rountree to cut the deficit to nine, and then a three-point snipe followed to get the Tar Heels right back in the game with the score at 13-7 with 13:18 remaining in the first half.
Clemson continued to take it right into the teeth of the Carolina defense, staking the Tigers back out to a 17-11 lead at the 10:05 mark.
The Carolina offense was finding its way to the foul line. DeShields converted on both of her attempts to trim the Tiger lead down to 17-14.
The contest was tied up with a DeShields shot from behind the arc that found the nets. The Carmichael crowd erupted.
Jessica Washington entered the scoring fray to hand the Tar Heels the 21-19 lead with 6:30 to play in the half.
It was a heavy dose of Mavunga and Gray in the paint that kept the UNC attack at full force as the Clemson defenders began to struggle to contain the versatile Carolina offense.
With 3:51 left to go in the half, Carolina was beginning to speed away, leading 29-20.
DeShields found the nets again from the perimeter. She was having her way with the Clemson defense and the Tigers called a timeout to regroup. The visiting team in orange found themselves down 33-21 to the Tar Heels with 2:30 to go before halftime.
At intermission, Carolina had built a 38-26 lead against Clemson.
Carolina opened the second half the way it finished the first – with a score. Carolina was off to a strong start and increased the lead to 42-26 with 18:18 to play in the game.
DeShields continued her fine play, knocking down a three-pointer to extend the Tar Heel advantage even further.
With 15:43 to go, Carolina maintained a 51-30 lead. On the defensive side of the court, UNC played aggressively, making life difficult for the Tigers.
Clemson’s Jordan Gaillard made a long-range three-pointer to add some life to the Clemson offense as the clock was winding down.
But UNC’s Gray continued to knock down any and all open looks down the stretch and N’Dea Bryant pitched in with some production of her own to guide the Tar Heels to the home victory going away.
Click here for the final box score.