No. 13 Clemson sends No. 12 Virginia Tech home

Orin Day - TSN via ACCWBBDigest.com

Orin Day – TSN via ACCWBBDigest.com

GREENSBORO, N.C. – The 13th-seeded Clemson Tigers beat the 12th-seeded Virginia Tech Hokies 69-56 and ousted them from the 2014 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Women’s Basketball Tournament that tipped off at the Greensboro Coliseum on Wednesday.

Tipping off in the first of three play-in games that pitted the 10th through 15th seeds in an updated play-in and double-bye format, the Tigers were the first team to claim a win in the tournament

In doing so, the Tigers (13-18, 4-12) avenged a 26-point loss against the Hokies (14-16, 4-12) that they suffered a week ago in the two teams’ season finale.

The Tigers took the lead early and never relinquished it as guard Nikki Dixon posted 22 points and a career-high 12 rebounds, while forward Nyilah Jamison-Myers added a career-high 19 points.

“I think that today, tonight we played with like revenge,” Dixon said.

“That’s the biggest thing – that we can’t let a team pound on us twice – it’s not going to happen. We worked too hard.”

Leading 37-20 at halftime, the Cavaliers hung on as the Hokies’ leading scorer, Uju Ujoka, went to work and scored 18 of her 20 points in the second half, including a three-point play with 6:49 remaining that narrowed the margin to nine points at 55-46.

Dixon countered with four straight points on a jumper and a pair of free throws, while Jamison-Myers muscled in a layup to cap a 6-0 run that pushed Clemson’s lead back to 15 at 61-46.

Virginia Tech did not get closer than 12 points the rest of the way.

“It’s disappointing. We’re disappointed,” Virginia Tech head coach Dennis Wolff said.

“There’s no question we’re disappointed today. I have to kind of think about where we’re at because I told the girls in the locker room I thought for the most part they worked extremely hard throughout the season. They gave us a lot of really good games, and we just picked the worst day to play arguably our worst game. I’m going to take full responsibility for that.”

Clemson’s 43 percent shooting performance was enough to top the Hokies who struggled from the field throughout the game, finishing with a 37 percent conversion rate.

With the win, the Tigers moved on to face the fifth-seeded Syracuse Orange in second-round play on Thursday at 11 a.m.