Clemson 71, No. 3 N.C. St. 56
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) _ Clemson’s swarming defense was too much for No. 3 North Carolina State, knocking the Wolfpack from the ranks of the unbeaten Thursday night, 71-56.
It was the lowest offensive output of the season for the Wolfpack (14-1, 5-1). The last time North Carolina State was held under 62 points was a 52-51 loss to Clemson in the quarterfinals of last year’s Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
Clemson coach Jim Davis couldn’t say enough about his team’s defense, especially during the opening minutes.
``Our help-side defense was superb, and our defense overall, I thought, was as good as it’s been all year,″ he said
Clemson (11-5, 2-2) also upset No. 15 North Carolina 60-59 Monday at Chapel Hill.
Chrissy Floyd scored 15 points, including three straight baskets in a key first-half run, to lead the Tigers.
``Coach kept telling me to sweep the ball, then look for the baseline drive,″ Floyd said. ``When I didn’t see a lane, I just kept working with it, moving the ball around, until a lane would come open.″
Clemson led 26-17 at halftime, then opened the second half with a 9-4 run and led by 14 only to see North Carolina State twice close within single digits. But Joanie Mungro’s three-point play and consecutive baskets by Floyd put the Tigers up 50-35. They had their biggest lead of the game, 58-40, with three minutes left.
The Wolfpack got no closer than 58-48 down the stretch.
``I don’t know right now anything that we did right in this game,″ North Carolina State coach Kay Yow said. ``We didn’t rebound well, we didn’t shoot 3s well, we didn’t have a good field goal percentage. Defense first half, and that was it. We didn’t shoot free throws well. Six assists for the game.″
The Wolfpack struggled with Clemson’s defense, which denied and double-teamed star center, Summer Erb, holding her to just five field goal attempts, less than half her average.
``She’s automatic when she gets her hands on that basketball, so you have to limit her touches, number one, and number two, you’ve got to swarm her when she does catch it,″ Davis said.
Erb led the Wolfpack with 13 points, with Kaayla Chones adding 11. Tynesha Lewis, who came into the game averaging a team-best 14.1 points per game, scored just five points, all in the first half.
``I was very, very pleased with the way we had pressure on Tynesha everywhere she went,″ Davis said. ``It’s important not just to pressure her to keep her from shooting, it’s important to pressure her so that she can’t make a good entry pass to the post.″
Clemson got 13 points from Nuria Forns, 11 from Angie Cossey and 10 each from Mungro and Krystal Scott.
North Carolina State committed 10 turnovers in the first half, double the number of giveaways committed by the Tigers.
``Clemson was much better prepared for this game, mentally, game preparation, everything,″ Yow said. ``I felt like in the first two minutes of the game, we really took ourselves out of the game. We missed our first couple shots and then became tentative, then became hesitant offensively.″
North Carolina State’s Ivy Gardner was carried off the court with an ankle injury with 1:19 left. Yow said she did not know the extent of the injury.
The Wolfpack’s loss leaves No. 1 Connecticut (13-0) and No. 13 Tulane (14-0) as the only remaining unbeatens in Division I.