Depleted Cavs squander late lead, fall 64-62 to Clemson
Franklin tallies 21 points, 6 rebounds as Virginia loses fifth game in six tries
Fighting through injury and a depleted bench, the Virginia women’s basketball team suffered another heartbreak Thursday night, letting a late lead slip away against Clemson in a 64-62 defeat in South Carolina.
Virginia (15-11, 7-8 ACC) started freshman Faith Randolph in place of injured junior guard Kelsey Wolfe, who is out for the season with a torn ACL, and sophomore forward Sarah Imovbioh in lieu of senior forward Telia McCall, out with returning symptoms of a concussion she suffered earlier this month. Both players responded well, as Randolph scored 12 points and Imovbioh scored 9. The teams went back and forth in the first half until the Cavaliers engineered a 9-5 run to build a 31-27 halftime lead.
Virginia extended the lead to as many as 11 in the second half before unraveling late and opening the door for a Clemson (8-18, 4-11 ACC) comeback. With 36 seconds left on the clock, Nikki Dixon hit a three-pointer to give the Tigers a 63-62 lead, their first in the second half.
After senior guard China Crosby was called for traveling on the subsequent possession, the Cavaliers scrambled to foul Clemson’s Aisha Turner, who hit one of two free throws to double the lead. Redshirt sophomore guard Sarah Beth Barnette’s desperation 3-pointer hit off the rim as time expired.
Junior guard Ataira Franklin had 21 points and 6 rebounds in the loss for the Cavaliers, their fifth loss in six games. The team will now try to stop the bleeding when it hosts Wake Forest Monday.