Clemson falls short in ACC Quarterfinals Friday night
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Playing in their first ACC Quarterfinal game since 2009, the Clemson Tigers (19-12, 9-7) held their own against the No. 3 Louisville Cardinals (28-2, 14-2) at the Greensboro Coliseum on Friday. Clemson fought to the end but came up short to the Cardinals, 75-67, to bring the Tigers’ ACC Tournament run to an end.
“While the outcome is not what we wanted and what we were fighting for, I’m really proud of my team,” said head coach Amanda Butler. “We battled foul trouble the whole time but didn’t let any distractions keep us from what we were trying to do, which was to continue to battle, continue to fight and continue to be the ugly ducklings.”
In a game that featured 13 lead changes and multiple runs by both teams, the Tigers shot 41 percent from the field and 80 percent from the free throw line. The Tigers’ defense held fast on the 3-point arc, limiting Louisville to just 27 percent shooting from distance.
Four different Tigers scored in double figures on the evening, with guards Aliyah Collier and Simone Westbrook serving as Clemson’s leading scorers with 17 points each. Clemson forward Kobi Thornton hauled in eight rebounds to go along with her 11 points on the night.
The first half featured several lead changes as the teams traded baskets through the first 20 minutes. Down 41-35 coming out halftime, the Tigers went on a tear in the third quarter, outscoring Louisville 25-13 in the third frame. Ten of Collier’s 14 points came during a 14-3 run to close the third.
While the Tigers held a 60-54 to start the fourth, the Cardinals mounted a comeback thanks to a 10-2 run in the first three minutes of the final quarter. After going up 64-62 at the 7:25 mark in the fourth, the Cardinals did not trail the rest of the way to collect the 75-67 win.
The Tigers return home with their sights set on the postseason. Clemson will find out its postseason fate on Monday, March 18 when the NCAA Tournament Selection Show airs at 7 p.m. on ESPN.