Clemson Knocks Off No. 7 Virginia Tech, 64-59
CLEMSON, S.C. – The Clemson women’s basketball team returned to action after the holiday break with a splash by upsetting No. 7/6 Virginia Tech, 64-59, on Thursday evening inside Littlejohn Coliseum. The Tigers’ win marks the highest ranked win since December 9, 2000 (#9 Auburn, 71-61).
Four Tigers finished in double figures led by senior Amari Robinson with 16. Ruby Whitehorn (13), Daisha Bradford (12) and Hannah Hank (10) also clocked double-digits, and Eno Inyang added seven coming off the bench to clinch the upset for Clemson.
Clemson jumped out to an early 10-point lead at the end of the first quarter after a 24-6 run with 16 points in the paint, including six second-chance points and eight off turnovers. The Tigers outscored the Hokies 12-10 in the second quarter to stretch their lead to 38-26 heading into halftime.
Clemson pushed the lead to 15 points in the first two minutes of the third after Robinson pulled down an offensive rebound, and Whitehorn made an easy jumper. The Hokies chipped away at Clemson’s lead, but crucial free throws from Bradford and Inyang helped Clemson hold an eight-point lead heading into the final quarter.
Virginia Tech pulled within two points in the fourth after Cayla King made back-to-back three pointers, but Robinson sank a jumper at the free throw line to swing things back in Clemson’s favor. The Hokies cut Clemson’s lead to one point with four minutes left to play but again, Inyang, Bradford and Whitehorn made important free throws down the line for the Tigers to clinch the upset.
Clemson returns to action on Sunday, hosting Wake Forest inside Littlejohn Coliseum for a 2:00 p.m. tip-off.
Amanda Butler postgame quotes
“Virginia Tech came out and punched us in the mouth first, but I thought it was just a tremendous show of composure and poise and trust in the way we wanted to play for us to answer in that first quarter. Obviously, [Virginia Tech] is a great team, a top-10 team and we knew they weren’t going to go away and it was going to be a battle and a fight, but the Tigers were ready for that battle and that fight tonight.”
On the game plan
“The thing we did a great job of today was rebounding and that was critical for us. Conventional wisdom says that you don’t rebound well out of zone, but the Tigers don’t subscribe to conventional wisdom. We practice way too hard on our box outs and rebounding and I thought we had tremendous individual effort as rebounders. We had people who really fought. We had people who shot the ball well for us and just did whatever the moment called for.”
On close game execution
“I thought it was tremendous. We always want to be the more confident, aggressive team. That’s one of the things we’re always striving to do. We were very fortunate, because Virginia Tech hit big big shots down the stretch, but we were fortunate to be able to turn up the heat in some of those moment and cause some disruption. That’s when we’re our best.”
On Daisha Bradford’s defensive play
“I think Nunu is one of the best defenders in this league. She understands the grand scheme and how she fits into it, but also takes a tremendous amount of pride individually in how she plays.”
On where this win ranks
“This is a very special win because it’s today. And today is the most important day that we have. I’m really proud of their response, their toughness. Amari [Robinson] led us, Hannah [Hank] led us, people took turns stepping in, and this is a big program win. Team 48’s for real, y’all.”