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  ACC 2nd Round: #5 Syracuse 63, #13 Clemson 53
Tigers Give Orange a Game
March 6, 2014

 
By JP Mundy, Photos by Orin Day

Briana Day (50) and #5 seed Syracuse used tough defense to knock off #12 Clemson, 63-53.
Photo by Orin Day - Full Gallery Below

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Syracuse scored 22 points off 17 offensive rebounds and advanced to the quarterfinals of the ACC Women's Basketball Tournament in the first game of Thursday's second round. The Orange prevailed despite only having one player (Brittney Sykes) in double figures. Syracuse got 26 points from their considerable bench, as they played 11 players. Clemson's bench consisted of Paige Moseley and Chancie Dunn, who scored six points.

Syracuse, the fifth seed in the tournament, will now advance to play Markeisha Gatling and the N.C. State Wolfpack. The league's leading three-point shooting team will need a better performance than their 7-24 effort Thursday. Three of those belonged to La'Shay Taft, while Brianna Butler finished 1-9 from long distance.

Top Performers

  1. Brittney Sykes, Syracuse 10 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists. It really isn't fair to single out one player, here. Three other players had nine points, and three players had six apiece. This was a total team offensive effort

  2. Nikki Dixon, Clemson 15 points. Despite playing a lot of minutes in the win over Virginia Tech, Dixon and her teammate Nyilah Jamison-Myers showed no signs of slowing down. However, Dixon admitted after the game that she thought the team as a whole wore down in the second half.

Game Analysis

Why Syracuse won: The Orange out-rebounded the Tigers 17-7 on the offensive boards, leading to 22 second-chance points compared to Clemson's 10.

Why Clemson lost: The Tigers had plenty of fight but not enough legs to finish a gutty effort against the Orange. Having a 7-person rotation against a team like Syracuse isn't your ideal situation.

The Game Turned When...: As the game wore on, Syracuse's trapping defense intensified while the Tigers wore down. Syracuse's defense had 8 steals on the afternoon.

X-Factor: La'Shay Taft hit three key three-pointers to give her team a lift while Brianna Butler struggled.

Key Stat: Clemson only shot 2-12 from the three-point arc, and sharpshooter Kelly Gramlich was only 1-7.

Areas for Improvement: Clemson needs players, and to stay bought into new coach Audra Smith's system. This team is infinitely better than it was a year ago, but there's still a lot of work to do. Syracuse will need their key weapons like Butler and Sykes to step up and make shots against the tough Wolfpack defense.

Ramifications: Clemson heads home, while the Orange will play on Quarterfinal Friday in their first-ever ACC Tournament.

They Said It: "

We encourage you to follow @JP_Mundy on Twitter.
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