Clemson women’s basketball falls to Delaware in NIT reginal semifinal 87-74

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In a contest that was hotly contested through three quarter of play, Clemson was on the wrong end of a late-game surge by its opponent on Saturday. Delaware pulled away down the stretch and defeated Clemson in the second round of the WNIT. The Tigers lost the Charlotte Regional matchup versus the Blue Hens 87-74 at Bojangles Coliseum, thereby ending Clemson’s season.

Clemson (12-14) made 37.5 percent of its shot attempts, and Delaware (23-4) posted a field goal percentage of 45.9. The Tigers made four 3-pointers and were an efficient 22-of-26 at the charity stripe. They also forced the Blue Hens into committing 23 turnovers and outscored Delaware 38-22 in the paint. Also of note, Clemson hauled in 40 rebounds and scored 20 second-chance points. Delaware made six shots from beyond the arc and collected 46 boards.

With one of her best performances in a Clemson uniform, Delicia Washington commandeered the Tigers with a game-high 28 points to go along with her eight rebounds. She was a perfect 14-for-14 at the free throw line. Gabby Elliott notched 17 points and seven boards, and Kendall Spray made a trio of threes in the process of scoring 12 points. Destiny Thomas dished out five of Clemson’s 11 assists, and Nique Cherry attained six rebounds. For the Blue Hens, Jasmine Dickey scored a team-leading 26 points.

Spray ignited the Clemson offense with a 3-pointer at the 6:09 mark of the first quarter. Soon afterward, Washington drained a pull-up jumper while being fouled and completed the 3-point play by netting the ensuing free throw. The opening period ended with Delaware leading 21-17. However, the Tigers quickly swung the momentum in their favor on the opening possession of the second quarter, as Washington recorded another 3-point play.

Washington proceeded to put the Tigers in front by driving the hoop and making a contested layup. The Blue Hens went on a 13-2 run after that, though, en route to going up 37-28. A 6-0 Clemson run ensued, pulling the Tigers within three. Washington netted a layup in the closing seconds of the first half, but Delaware’s Tyi Skinner then hit a half-court buzzer-beater, giving the Blue Hens a 44-39 advantage at the intermission.

In the early goings of the second half, Spray poured in a trey, and an Elliott layup evened the score at 48-48. Spray tracked down her own 3-point attempt and corralled an offensive rebound before assisting on a go-ahead lay-in by Elliott with 5:53 remaining in the third quarter. The Tigers held a 52-51 edge at that point, and Thomas increased Clemson’s lead to three by stealing the ball and cruising to the basket for a layup.

After falling down by three, the Blue Hens came alive and finished out the third quarter on a 13-2 run, which spanned the final 4:24 of the frame, and entered the fourth quarter leading 64-56. At the end of the third, Skinner, who finished with 22 points, once again buried a half-court shot as time expired. Delaware controlled the fourth, leading by 20 at one point, and ultimately advanced to the WNIT quarterfinals with an 87-74 win.

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