GREENSBORO, N.C. (Clemson SID) — In a nail-biter to the very end, the Clemson Tigers (19-11) survived and advanced in the ACC Tournament on Thursday with an 80-79 overtime win over Virginia Tech (20-11). Senior Aliyah Collier played with veteran poise down the stretch, pouring in a career-high 28 points on the night.
“Virginia Tech is one of the best February teams in the conference and we have a tremendous amount of respect for them,” said head coach Amanda Butler. “I’m really proud of my ugly duckling Clemson Tigers for their performance. There was incredible senior leadership and balance with a variety of players contributing in key moments.”
The Tigers shot 46 percent from the floor, including a solid 8-of-19 shooting mark from beyond the 3-point arc. Sophomore guard Destiny Thomas also put forth a milestone outing with 12 points a career-high three treys. Floor general Danielle Edwards tabbed 13 points and eight assists, while shooting guard Simone Westbrook registered 10 points, seven rebounds and four steals for a well-rounded evening. Five different Tigers tallied double-figure outings.
Clemson forward Kobi Thornton eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for her career with 15 points on the night, joining Edwards as the second Tiger to accomplish that feat this season.
The Tigers kicked off the game with an 8-2 run, but Virginia Tech clawed back into the contest and boasted a 35-33 advantage at the start of the second half. Thomas led the Clemson charge coming out of halftime, producing a 9-2 run with back-to-back threes and a converted 3-point play.
Manned by guard Taylor Emery, who led all player with 35 points, Virginia Tech fought back and erased its deficit. A back-and-forth final four minutes culminated in Thornton sinking a clutch jumper to knot the game up at 71-71 and force overtime. From there, Collier took over, scoring all nine of Clemson’s points in the extra frame, including a pair of 3-pointers that highlighted an 8-0 run for the Tigers.
After escaping with an 80-79 victory to improve to 2-0 in overtime games this year, seventh-seeded Clemson will turn its attention to a matchup with No. 3 Louisville Cardinals (27-2) in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament. The game will tip off at 6 p.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex and will air on RSN.
Game Notes: Clemson moves to 32-39 all-time in the ACC Tournament with the win over Virginia Tech…At 19 wins, the Tigers match their most wins in a season since the 2000-01 campaign when Clemson finished the year 21-10…The Tigers tallied their first win inside Greensboro Coliseum since March 5, 2014…Clemson is 2-0 this season when playing in overtime games…This is Clemson’s first Quarterfinals appearance since 2009…Senior Aliyah Collier totaled 28 points on the night, setting a new career-high…Her 10 made field goals are a season-high…Junior Kobi Thornton eclipsed the 1,000-career point mark, becoming the 15th player in program history to reach 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds…Thornton is the second player to hit the 1,000-point mark this season (Danielle Edwards, 12/21)…Two Tigers have not reached the 1,000-point mark in the same season since the 1998-99 campaign (Natasha Anderson and Amy Geren)…Sophomore Destiny Thomas finished the night with 12 points (4-of-6 shooting)…The guard also made a career-high three 3-pointers.