CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson was defeated by No. 7 NC State at Littlejohn Coliseum on Thursday. Although they had three double-digit scorers on the night, the Tigers fell to the Wolfpack 79-60.
Clemson (7-14, 3-7) knocked down six 3-pointers, but NC State (20-1, 9-1) sank 14 shots from deep. The Tigers shot 37.9 percent from the field, and the Wolfpack finished with a shooting percentage of 41.2. NC State also went 9-for-11 at the free throw line and pulled down 42 rebounds. As for Clemson, the Tigers corralled 39 boards and tallied 24 points in the paint. The Wolfpack’s 20 points off turnovers proved to be critical.
Shania Meertens led Clemson with 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field and 2-of-4 shooting from the charity stripe. Twelve of her points came in the second half. Meertens also tabbed three rebounds and three assists. Down low, Amari Robinson finished with 10 points and five boards, and Kobi Thornton picked up 10 points and two boards. For NC State, Aislinn Konig recorded a game-high 23 points. She sank seven 3-pointers.
A competitive first quarter was capped off by a Clemson buzzer beater. NC State led 22-18 through one period of play, but Robinson scored on a putback in the final seconds of the first. Also of note, Clemson’s Mikayla Hayes netted her first 3-ball of the season in the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Tigers evened the score at 22 points apiece by recording the first four points of the second quarter, but the Wolfpack then went on a 10-o run to regain momentum.
NC State outscored Clemson 15-10 in the second quarter and led 37-28 at halftime. The Wolfpack went on to lead 62-45 entering the fourth quarter, and NC State ultimately won 79-60.
The Tigers will next head to Chapel Hill, N.C., to take on the North Carolina Tar Heels (15-6, 10-2) at Carmichael Arena. Set to take place at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 2, the game will air on ACC Network Extra.
Clemson Head Coach Amanda Butler
“It was just a below-average job of boxing out by us, which is disappointing because we’ve been emphasizing that. You look at [Aislinn] Konig’s shooting percentage, which was really high, and a lot of those threes were from offensive rebounds.
On the keys to the game:
“Kayla Jones seemed to be the person who got the rebounds for NC State and kept us off the boards. You can’t give a good team two or three shots at the basket. If you can score, that’s great, but if you don’t go down on the other end and box out, it doesn’t matter. You’ve got to rebound with heart, and that’s the challenge I keep putting in front of our team.”
On Hannah Hank’s performance:
“She was really physical and did a good job of setting the tone for us on defense against Elissa Cunane.”
NC State Head Coach Wes Moore
“We shot the ball well, which always helps. That’s a couple games in a row now that we’ve shot the three very well. I wasn’t excited about our intensity and energy to start the game. You know Clemson’s a team that’s going to pressure you, double the post and half-court trap you. They do a lot of things that’s going to give you trouble. You don’t want to let them get happy, get turnovers, get out in transition and get going. If you do, they’re going to beat you.”
On the keys to the game:
“We’ve got to make sure we match or exceed our opponent’s energy and urgency , and I don’t feel like we did that to start this game. We didn’t do it to start the Pitt game. We were able to turn it on and get it done in the second half in both of those games, but if you keep playing with fire, you’re going to get burned.”
On his outlook moving forward:
“We’re winning, yet I’m still pushing and driving and unhappy with some of the things we’re doing. That’s probably not always good. The players probably need to enjoy the success some. At the same time, I think you’ve got to realize that you’re not playing at the top of your game. You may not be practicing completely focused. We can’t be the same team we are now in March, or we’re not going to have a happy ending.”