The No. 21 women’s basketball team dropped its ACC opener but rebounded to improve to 1-1 in conference play in the following game. Tech dropped a battle of ranked teams last Wednesday, falling 89-78 at North Carolina, but rebounded to take down Clemson at home 72-58.
The game against UNC saw the teams trade runs early on. The Jackets fell behind early but rallied with an 11-1 run to take a four-point lead six minutes into the game, only to see UNC respond with a 13-2 run of their own.
The Tar Heels began to build a big lead late in the first half. UNC guard Italee Lucas caught fire and scored nine straight points, and she continued to lead the Tar Heels as they broke the game open.
The Jackets did not help their own cause, at one point committing turnovers on seven straight possessions. UNC closed the half on a 24-5 run and led 50-26 heading into halftime.
Early in the second half, Tech was unable to cut into UNC’s lead, and in fact the Tar Heels expanded their lead to 27, leading 66-39 with 14:29 left. From there, though, the Jackets began to mount a comeback.
Junior guard Deja Foster and sophomore center Sasha Goodlett keyed a run of eight unanswered points. Tech began to steal the ball and force UNC into turnovers, and after junior guard Alex Montgomery followed up a three-pointer with a pair of free throws, the lead was down to 13 with 7:41 left.
The Tar Heels tightened up from there, though, and the Jackets did not get any closer until the end of the game. UNC held on for the 89-78 win.
Four Jackets had at least 12 points apiece and senior forward Brigitte Ardossi and sophomore guard Mo Bennett had double-digit rebounds, but Tech shot just 42.9 percent on free throws and 20 percent on three-point attempts. Lucas led UNC with 28 points on 9-of-14 shooting.
When the Jackets returned home to take on Clemson, they did not allow the Tigers to pull ahead early. Instead, Tech jumped out to a lead in the early minutes, getting contributions from several players and building a 19-8 lead.
Clemson closed the gap late in the half, but Tech was able to attack inside to hold its lead. All of Tech’s successful field goal attempts in the final five minutes came in the paint.
The Tigers closed to within two at one point in the first half, but Tech went into halftime with a 35-29 lead. After the break, the Jackets were able to quickly increase this lead.
Starting with a pair of Foster layups, Tech went on a 14-2 run that stretched the lead to 18 points. Clemson struggled to put a dent in the lead as the half went on, and the Jackets took advantage of 25 Clemson fouls in the game, draining 25 free throws in 36 attempts.
The Tigers eventually closed to within 10 points, but only with less than a minute remaining in the game. Tech scored its final nine points on free throws and won the game 72-58.
Only two Jackets reached double figures in points, with Ardossi scoring 19 and Bennett picking up 15. They also had eight and nine rebounds, respectively.
Tech out-rebounded Clemson 48-33 and had a strong defensive effort, holding the Tigers to 37.5 percent on field goal attempts.