Photo via ClemsonWBB Twitter @ClemsonWBB
CLEMSON, S.C. — Kicking off the 2018-19 season with a bang, forward Kobi Thornton and the Clemson Tigers (1-0) put on an offensive showcase to begin the Amanda Butler era at Littlejohn Coliseum. In Butler's coaching debut for the Tigers, Clemson outscored the Wofford Terriers (0-1) by eight points in the second half to earn a hard-fought victory in the season opener. Thornton braced the Tigers with her eighth career double-double, tallying a career-high 25 points to help lead Clemson to an 85-77 win.
Thornton finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds as part of an outstanding performance. In addition, Westbrook made a mark in her first outing as a Tiger, accruing 18 points, eight rebounds and five steals for a well-rounded showing. Veteran point guard Danielle Edwards also reached double figures, picking up 15 points and coming up with several pivotal plays in the second half.
"We're proud of this win," said head coach Amanda Butler. "Wofford is a good team that's going to win a lot of games, and we wanted to be challenged like that early in the season.”
Reaching the 85-point mark for the first time in five years, the Tigers scored 48 points in the paint and 29 points off turnovers to start the season off with a quality performance all around.
The first half proved to be a high-scoring affair, with both teams shooting nearly 50 percent from the field, resulting in a 47-47 tie heading into halftime. Clemson took a quick four-point lead to start the game, but Wofford put up a 7-0 run to set the tone for the back-and-forth opening half.
Taking part in her first regular-season game with Clemson, guard Simone Westbrook went 5-of-7 from the field in the first half, including two 3-pointers. Scoring 19 points off 13 Wofford turnovers, the Tigers were led on defense by Westbrook and guard Aliyah Collier, each of whom tallied three steals apiece through two quarters.
With the Terriers up 40-34 late in the second quarter, the Tigers produced a run of their own, scoring the last six points of the half to knot the game at 47 at the intermission. Thornton then came alive for Clemson in the third quarter, scoring 10 points (4-of-6) and coming through on several second-chance opportunities.
No team led by more than two possessions in the hotly contested third period, as Clemson took a one-point lead into the fourth quarter. Starting the final frame on a 7-2 run, the Tigers gradually took control of the game en route to an 85-77 victory. With 22 forced turnovers, Clemson complemented its high-octane offense with imposing defense to pull away down the stretch.
Wofford point guard Chloe Wanink led all scorers with 35 points in 39 minutes of floor time.
Clemson will return to action on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 2 p.m. for a non-conference battle with the Lipscomb Bisons (1-0) at Littlejohn Coliseum.