CLEMSON, S.C. – The Clemson women’s basketball team used a 13-1 run and held the Owls of Kennesaw State scoreless in the final six minutes of play to win its opening game of the 2017-18 season, 41-28. Six different players scored six or more points apiece in a well-balanced offensive effort for the Tigers.
Destiny Thomas opened the scoring with a steal and layup 90 seconds into the game. It was the first career start and first career points for the rookie guard from Pelham, Ga., and also the first two points of the NCAA Division I women’s basketball season, as the game between the Tigers and Owls was the first to tip off in 2017-18.
The Tigers’ defense set the tone early as it held the Owls to 14.8% (4-27) shooting in the first half. The defense also forced nine first-half turnovers on its way to a 21-14 lead at the intermission. Redshirt junior Francesca Tagliapietra recorded six points in the first half, her first points since the 2014-15 season, after she missed the previous two seasons due to injury. Junior Sirah Diarra pulled down seven rebounds in the first half.
With the Tigers leading 28-25 at the end of the third period, Clemson held Kennesaw State to 1-for-13 from the floor (7.7%), while outscoring the Owls 13-3 in the final quarter to ice the game. Junior point guard Danielle Edwards led the Tigers in scoring with seven points, while Tagliapietra, sophomores Jaia Alexander and Kobi Thornton, and freshmen Tylar Bennett and Thomas, each finished with six points. Alexander and Diarra both tallied seven rebounds to pace the Tigers on the glass, while Alexander also had a team-best three assists.
Clemson returns to action on Monday, Nov. 13 when it hosts South Carolina State in a 7 p.m. contest at Littlejohn Coliseum.