Feb. 21, 2013
CLEMSON, S.C. - The Virginia women's basketball fell 64-62 at Clemson, losing a double-digit second-half lead to drop its third game in a row.
Clemson, which trailed most of the second half, hit a three-pointer with 36 seconds left in the game to take a 63-62 lead. After Virginia turned the ball over with 22 seconds left in the game, Clemson added another point at the free throw line. Virginia had a chance with 0.7 seconds left in the game when China Crosby (Sr., New York, N.Y.) inbounded the ball, getting it into the hands of Sarah Beth Barnette (R-So., Lexington, Ky.) who threw up a potential game-winning shot, but the ball clanged off the side of the rim and Clemson held on for the victory.
Ataira Franklin (Jr., Bowie, Md.) scored 21 points with six rebounds, two steals, and two assists. Sarah Imovbioh (So., Abuja, Nigeria), in her first start since Dec. 6, scored nine points with five rebounds. Faith Randolph, making the third start of her career, scored 12 points, including 10 in the second half.
The Cavaliers were playing without two of their starters. Kelsey Wolfe (So., Germantown, Md.) will miss the rest of the season after sustaining a knee injury in the Maryland game. Telia McCall (Jr., Marietta, Ga.) missed the game with a recurrence of concussion symptoms.
"I thought that our players were focused and came out playing hard," said head coach Joanne Boyle. "But we have to be able to grab balls. There were so many 50-50 balls out there. Or we would rebound and kick it off our foot. They probably had eight chances to get the ball back and score on us, and they did. We never should have been in the situation of having to come down and score at the last second. Second-chance points and 50-50 balls killed us."
Franklin hit two three-pointers early in the game to help spot the Cavaliers to an 8-2 lead. Clemson came charging back, taking a 20-14 lead with 7:44 left in the first half.
Imovbioh started the Cavalier comeback, getting fouled on a made lay-up to score three points. Barnette hit a three-pointer from the top of the arc to pull UVa within two, 22-20.
The score was frozen at that two-point margin for 2:44 until Faith Randolph (Fr., Derwood, Md.) raced down the court, scoring a reverse layup on the fastbreak to tie the game, 22-22. Barnette hit her second three-pointer in as many tries to put the Cavaliers back in the lead, 25-22. Moments later, Barnette grabbed a steal, setting Franklin up for her 10th points of the half, extending the lead to 27-22.
Jazmin Pitts (Jr., Mosely, Va.) scored a putback with two-seconds left in the first half, getting fouled on the attempt. She went to the line and added the free throw to send Virginia to the locker room with a 32-27 halftime lead.
Franklin added to the lead early in the second half, knocking down a pull-up jumper from the free throw line while being hit by a defender. She added the bonus free throw to make it an eight-point lead, 38-29, with 17:04 left in the game. And and-one from Simone Egwu (Sr., Odenton, Md.) gave the Cavaliers their first double-digit lead, putting them up 50-39 with 12:52 remaining.
Clemson's Kelly Gramlich hit a pair of three-pointer to narrow the gap to five, 55-50. Clemson's Natiece Ford hit a pull-up to make it 55-52. Franklin ended the Tiger run with a three-pointer from the left corner with just over five minutes left in the game.
Virginia held a 62-57 lead with 1:30 left in the game. Pitts went to the free throw line for a one-and-one opportunity. She missed the free throw, with Clemson coming up with the rebound. They raced down the court, with Ford making while getting fouled, cutting the lead to 62-60 with 1:12 remaining.
On the opposite end, Imovbioh was fouled going up for a bucket. She missed both free throws with the rebound going out of bounds off a Virginia player.
On its next possession, Clemson missed on a three-point attempt. The ball rolled toward midcourt as players from both teams scrambled for the rebound. The Tigers eventually came up with the O-board. After a called time out, Nikki Dixon drained a three-pointer with 36 seconds remaining, putting Clemson up 63-62.
Virginia had the ball in their offensive zone with 27 seconds left in the game. Crosby got called for a travel with 22 seconds left, giving the ball back to Clemson.
Virginia had to foul four times before finally getting Clemson into the bonus. The Tigers went to the line with 9 seconds left in the game. They hit the first free throw of a one-and-one, extending the lead to 64-62, but missed the second with Barnette coming up with the defensive rebound.
Crosby dribbled the ball down court, but lost the handle on it while trying to drive through traffic. The ball rolled out of bounds, last touched by a Tiger, giving UVa a chance to inbound from their own baseline with 0.7 seconds left on the clock.
Crosby got the ball in to the hands of Barnette, who was wide open on the wing, but the shot was just off target, clanging off the rim for a Clemson victory.
The Cavaliers started the game making 11 of 13 free throws, but missed three in the final two minutes of the game.
With the loss, Virginia falls to 15-11 (7-8 ACC). Clemson improves to 8-18 (4-11 ACC).
The Cavaliers are back home hosting Wake Forest (11-14, 4-10 ACC) on Monday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. at John Paul Jones Arena. The game will be televised on the ACC Regional Sports Networks.
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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