Clemson women blow big lead, top No. 23 Syracuse 86-77 in OT

Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen

CLEMSON, S.C. — Kendall Spray scored 24 points with seven 3-pointers, Amari Robinson added 23 points and short-handed Clemson upended No. 23 Syracuse 86-77 in overtime Sunday after blowing a 25-point halftime lead.

The Tigers were outscored 23-9 in the third quarter and 20-9 in the fourth before scoring 16 points in overtime to end a four-game losing streak and beat the Orange for the first time ever in 10 tries.

Delicia Washington scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Clemson (9-5, 4-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) and Hannah Hank matched her career-high with 15 points, plus eight rebounds.

Tigers coach Amanda Butler chose not to play two starters, freshman leading scorer Gabby Elliott (14.2) and top shot blocker Tyler Bennett (31). Only eight players saw action with Hank, whose layup and two free throws made it a three-possession game with 51 seconds left in OT, and Destiny Thomas, who opened overtime with a 3-pointer for her only points, stepping into the starting lineup.

Kiara Lewis scored 25 points with eight rebounds and Emily Engstler added 17 and nine for the Orange (7-3, 4-3), who were playing their fourth game in eight days after going more than three weeks without a game.

Clemson went 4 of 6 in the extra session while Syracuse was 3 of 8 with six turnovers.

Spray, who entered the game 2 for 21 behind the arc in the four previous games, was 5 of 7 behind the arc in the first half and combined with Robinson for 33 points in building a 52-27 halftime lead. The Tigers were 7 of 16 on 3s and shot 48% while Syracuse was at 28% (10 of 36).

Syracuse shot 59% (16 of 27) in the second half and Clemson was 23% (6 of 26) with just one 3-pointer on seven attempts and 16 turnovers.

Spray made the lone 3-pointer with 46.1 seconds left in regulation. Lewis had given the Orange their only lead, 68-67, with a three-point play with 1:07 left. Spray missed a 3 from the right wing but while Robinson was grabbing the rebound, Spray slid toward the corner and didn’t hesitate off Robinson’s feed. Engstler’s open jumper from near the top of the key tied the game with 27.1 seconds to go but Clemson turned it over in the closing seconds going for a last shot.

Syracuse goes home to play Pittsburgh on Thursday. The Panthers play at Clemson on Tuesday.