Indiana rallied from as many as 10 points down in the first half to capture a victory over Clemson, 52-49, in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Aulani Sinclair was the star of the show for the Hoosiers. She scored 18 of her game-high 23 points in the first half and played the full 40 minutes to hold IU together when the Tigers tried to pull away.
Neither team shot particularly well. Clemson finished 18-of-73 from the floor while the Hoosiers connected on 17-of-55. Indiana’s defense helped offset the 20 offensive rebounds it surrendered to the Tigers, as IU blocked 10 shots and produced nine steals. Quaneisha McCurty swatted six attempts and Simone Deloach tallied three steals to lead the Hoosiers defensively.
With 11:56 remaining in the game, Clemson took its biggest lead of the second half when Nikki Dixon scored on a layup to put the Tigers up 42-34. The Hoosiers and Tigers then went four minutes without a field goal with the only point of that span being scored by Sinclair on a free throw.
Clemson missed an opportunity to blow the game open with IU struggling offensively, but the Tigers own offensive struggles left the door open for the Hoosiers to walk in and seize the game.
Sinclair scored on a layup with 7:48 to play cutting the lead to five. Nicole Bell then connected on a three-pointer to trim the Clemson edge to two points at 42-40. Indiana tied the game on its next possession when McCurty found the bottom of the net with a pointblank shot.
The Tigers called a timeout to try and stem the swelling Hoosier tide, but it did little.
Simone Deloach added another layup with just over four minutes to play in the tilt, and Indiana claimed its first lead of the second half, 44-42. The Hoosiers would not trail the rest of the game.
Clemson managed to tie the game at 45 with 3:00 remaining, but Jasmine McGhee scored on the ensuing possession for IU to put the home team back in front 47-45. The Tigers tried to claw their way back but Linda Rubene’s running layup sealed the game, giving Indiana a 52-48 advantage with six seconds to play.
The Hoosiers are back in Assembly Hall Dec. 2 to face Cleveland State as they attempt to win their seventh straight contest. The triumph over Clemson improved IU’s record to 6-1 on the season, matching last season’s win total with at least three more months of basketball to play.
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