A game-high 16 point lead for the Orange 5 minutes into the second half was whittled all the way down 1 by the Tigers with 1:21 remaining before buckets from Peterson and Cornelia Fondren secured the win.
“When you are on the road in a BCS power conference and you get a W, you are going to take it,” head coach Quentin Hillsman said. “It was their last home game, so we were expecting to battle.”
The game began as the records indicated it might: domination by Syracuse. SU scored the first 8 points and took fewer than 7 minutes to build a 12 point advantage. Clemson never trailed by fewer than 3 in the first half. The Tigers were tripped up in part because of sloppy play; 13 turnovers led to 18 points for the Orange, with Clemson unable to score any points off 5 Syracuse giveaways.
After falling behind by 16 5 minutes into the second half, the Tigers kicked it into high gear and made it a 6 point game in the next 4 minutes. SU then went over 7 minutes without a field goal, but Clemson also struggled offensively, and was unable to draw any closer until the final 4 minutes, when a Nikki Dixon layup made it a 4 point contest.
Shelbie Davenport’s 3-pointer with 1:21 remaining in regulation brought the Tigers to within 1, but Peterson’s subsequent jumper and Fondren’s following layup squashed any possibility of an upset at Littlejohn Coliseum.
For the 12th time this year, Peterson led the team in scoring with 18 points (8-16, 2-3, 0-1). Fondren had 13 points (6-8, 0-0, 1-2), one shy of a career-high. Brianna Butler extended her streak of 10+ point games to 6 by scoring 12 on 4-15 shooting, including 3-13 from 3.