Dec. 3, 2009
Box Score |
EVANSTON, Ill. -- The team with the ball at the end of the game was destined for victory and Thursday evening, it just happened to be Clemson. The Tigers hit a three-pointer from the top of the key with six ticks left and a hand in their face to edge out a 69-68 victory at Welsh-Ryan Arena as part of the third-annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Brittany Orban (North Canton, Ohio/Hoover) paced Northwestern with 21 points and seven rebounds while Amy Jaeschke (Wilmette, Ill./New Trier) tallied 14 scores and seven caroms.
The game was a thriller from tip, and would eventually see 10 lead changes and six ties. Clemson tallied the first four points of the contest before a bucket by Dannielle Diamant (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman) put Northwestern on the board. The freshman proceeded to score NU's first six points and the Wildcats strung together a 9-0 run, giving them a 13-8 advantage with 14:35 remaining. During that time, the 'Cats connected on 57 percent of their looks.
The Tigers pulled to within a point, 13-12, before a triple by Maggie Mocchi (Wheeling, Ill./Buffalo Grove) extended the Wildcats' lead to four with 11:36 on the clock.
Triples on three-straight possessions for the Tigers gave them a 21-17 advantage with just over eight minutes remaining in the half. But the Wildcats found their range on the following two possessions as Beth Marshall (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) and Orban connected from deep to give Northwestern a two-point advantage with 7:04 on the clock.
The tight, physical play continued throughout the rest of the half as neither team could build more than a five-point advantage. The Wildcats took a 34-32 lead into intermission. Orban led a balanced Northwestern scoring attack with nine points and five boards. All eight Wildcats who stepped on the floor found the scoring column. Northwestern turned in its highest shooting percentage of a half; a 50 percent effort, which also included 4-of-5 from deep. The Tigers, meanwhile, were held to just 33 percent from the field.
Orban opened the second-half scoring with a 3-pointer to put NU up by five just two minutes into the stanza. A Cartwright drive to the bucket caused Clemson to take a timeout with the score at 39-32 in favor of the home team. Cartwright made a steal in the backcourt on the ensuing Tiger possession, and a thrifty give-and-go from Jaeschke to Diamant prompted a shift in momentum in favor of Northwestern. When it was all said and done, the 'Cats had strung together a 10-0 run, giving them a 44-32 advantage; the largest of the game.
But Clemson responded with an 8-0 run of its own, pulling to within 46-42 with 13:04 remaining.
After exchanging tallies, a strong drive to the basket by Orban extended NU's advantage, but Clemson pulled the score even at 50 with 10:45 left in the game.
Orban connected on one of her three triples to put NU ahead, 53-50, with 9:29 left. But Clemson answered with a 7-0 run to claim its first lead of the second half, 57-53, with just over six minutes remaining. But an`and-1' by Cartwright pulled the Wildcats to within one, 57-56.
The back-and-forth banter continued the rest of the way, leading to a 66-66 deadlock with 36.6 seconds remaining. Northwestern found itself in a timeout huddle, with the ball and 14 seconds on the clock. Orban slashed down the lane and converted on a nifty left-handed lay-in to give NU a two-point advantage with 8.9 ticks left in the game.
Clemson's Kirstyn Wright had been hot all game from deep and stepped up at the top of the key with a hand in her face to sink the game-winner with six seconds left.
It was the second time in as many games that a Clemson-Northwestern game had come down to the waning moments, as last year's contest saw overtime and a close 78-75 final in favor of Clemson.
Orban finished with a team-high 21 points on 9-of-12 from the field, and hauled down seven rebounds, including five hard-fought offensive caroms. Jaeschke finished with 14 points, seven boards and four blocks.
As a team, Northwestern bested Clemson in several categories. The Wildcats shot a season-high 47.9 percent, connected on 53.8 percent of their looks from deep and out-rebounded the Tigers, 36-31.
Northwestern is next in action on Sunday, Dec. 6 when it battles Purdue in the Big Ten opener. Tip is set for 4 p.m. from Welsh-Ryan Arena.