USC Drops Overtime Thriller to Clemson, 87-79
Dec. 3, 2004
COLUMBIA, S.C. - In the second overtime thriller in as many years between South Carolina and Clemson, it was the Tigers who claimed an 87-79 victory Friday at the Colonial Center.
With the win, Clemson improved to 2-4 overall on the year, while South Carolina dipped to 1-4 overall.
Stacy Booker led South Carolina with career-best 28 points, with Tasha Phillips leading the Tigers with 22 of her own.
The game reached a fever pitch with two minutes remaining, when Lauren Simms knocked down a three-pointer from the top of the key to cut Clemson's lead to 68-67. A pair of Tiger free throws moved the score to 70-67 before Stacy Booker drained a three from the right corner to tie the game with 1:30 remaining. Iva Sliskovic came up with a steal on the opposite end, but the opportunity got away when Ilona Burgrova was called for a travel. The Gamecocks got a defensive stand, then Booker was fouled 90 feet away from the basket with USC in the double bonus.
She knocked down both with 29.8 seconds remaining to give Carolina a 72-70 lead, which was its first advantage since the 6:28 mark of the first half. The Gamecock defense held strong again on the other end of the court, and Lea Fabbri was fouled with 19 seconds left. She made one-of-two to put USC up three. Clemson's Julie Talley raced downcourt for a layup to cut the USC lead to 73-72. With the shot clock turned off, the Tigers immediately fouled Lauren Simms, who made one-of-two from the line. With the clock winding down, Clemson's Reggie Maddox knocked down a clutch shot with her foot on the three-point line to send the game into overtime.
The energy level in the building began to pick up midway through the second half when Carolina went on a 7-2 run to bring a 52-45 Clemson advantage down to 54-52 as a result of the Gamecocks' pressure defense. The Tigers answered behind a pair of timely three-pointers by Tasha Phillips followed by a Reggie Maddox score underneath and a Phillips free throw that extended Clemson¡¦s lead to 63-55 with under eight minutes left.
Clemson did damage with three-pointers Friday, knocking down 10-of-26 (.385 pct.) To put that into perspective, the Tigers entered the game having made only 24-of-92 attempts on the year (.261 pct.)
The game opened in stark contrast to South Carolina's pattern this season in that players who aren't usually looked to for scoring punch provided points early. In fact, Booker had 12 points just past the midway point of the first half. Booker's career high entering the game was 13 and her 2004-05 season high was 11. In addition, Lea Fabbri matched her existing career high in assists with five with 10 minutes remaining in the first half. Lauren Simms, who entered the game averaging 18.0 points per game and came off a 29-point showing in USC's last game, had only four points in the first half.
Booker led all first-half scorers with 12 points, while Clemson's Julie Talley, D'Lesha Lloyd and Phillips had six points apiece to lead the way for the Tigers in the first half. As a team, South Carolina shot 29.4 percent from the field in the first half (10-of-34) while Clemson was 14-of-29 from the field (48.3 pct.)
Clemson weathered the storm, however, and went into halftime with a 35-29 lead, thanks largely to the fact that the Gamecocks were unable to cash in on inside looks at the rim. A buzzer-beating three-pointer by Lea Fabbri sent Carolina into the locker room with some momentum after the action was in the Tigers' favor.
The Gamecocks return to action at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 14, when they host Florida A&M at the Colonial Center. The game will be broadcast live on WISW-AM Columbia with Andy Demetra handling play-by-play and Robin Muller providing analysis. The broadcast can be accessed worldwide via the internet at www.uscsports.com.
-- Stacy Booker scored a game-high 28 points, with Lauren Simms finishing with 25 Friday, marking the first time a pair of Gamecocks scored 20 or more points in the same game since Dec. 2, 2003 when Iva Sliskovic scored 20 points and Olga Gritsaeva had 21 against Stetson.
--Iva Sliskovic set a new season high with 14 rebounds.
--Lea Fabbri set new career highs with 15 points and 10 assists. The last time a Gamecock recorded a double-double that did not consist of points and rebounds was when Cristina Ciocan had 15 points and 13 assists against Southern Utah on December 5 of last year.
--Lauren Simms finished with 25 points. Entering the game ranking sixth in the SEC with 18.0 points per game, Simms has scored in double figures every game this season.
-- Stacy Booker set a new career high with 28 points.
-- The Gamecocks drained a season-high 11 three-pointers as a team.
-- Clemson made 10 three-pointers in the game, which is the most of any USC opponent this year.