DALLAS, Texas – Senior Raven Berry scored a season-high 25 points Saturday as SIUE defeated Clemson 49-43 in the consolation game of the SMU Hoops for the Cure Classic.
Berry, who was named to the All-Tournament team, shot 9 of 18 from the field, including a crucial three-pointer with the shot clock about to go off midway through the second half. Her 25 points was one shy of a career high 26 set against Morehead State last season.
The Cougars improved to 3-3 and sent Clemson, of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), home still winless at 0-5.
SIUE Head Coach Paula Buscher said it was truly a team victory for the Cougars. Holding an ACC team to 43 points and winning the rebounding battle 49-39 with 18 offensive boards against a much taller opponent may give the Cougars some confidence moving forward.
"We had a lot of players who stepped up and played well. I thought Courtney Kenner did a great job of controlling the tempo of this game," Buscher said.
SIUE kept defense at the forefront by holding Clemson to a 28.3 percent field goal shooting night. The Tigers hit just 6 of 30 (20 percent) in the first half.
Tierny Austin was the only other Cougar scoring in double figures with 11 points.
"We've also given her the toughest defensive assignment. She is really stepping up and doing a nice job with that as well," said Buscher.
Michaela Herrod grabbed a season-best 13 rebounds as SIUE easily won the battle of the boards.
Clemson's Danaejah Grant led the Tigers with 15 points. She shot 6 of 18 from the field and connected on two three-pointers.
Natiece Ford scored the game's first basket 21 seconds into the game. After Berry tied the game on her first layup 29 seconds later, it would be the only outright Clemson lead of the game.
With the game tied 5-5, SIUE went on a 13-2 run to take an 18-7 lead. The Cougars cruised into the locker room at halftime with a 28-17 lead.
In the second half, Clemson pulled to within one point 35-34 with 11:51 to play on a basket by Nikki Dixon.
With Clemson holding its defense together, Berry moved beyond the three-point arc to hit a trey as the shot clock elapsed with 10:58 to play. It was only the third three-pointer of Berry's collegiate career and the first since her sophomore season.
"I thought Berry played a really nice game. We got her a lot of touches," Buscher said.
SIUE would hold off any further Clemson comebacks.
"Coming out of half you know they were going to make a run. They did. They stepped up and went on a run, but we never broke. They never got the lead on us. Then we stepped back up, and we finished the game off and closed it out," Buscher said.
Next up for the Cougars is their second regular season tournament of the season. SIUE travels to Toledo, Ohio, for the Glass City Tournament. SIUE faces host Toledo in a 2:30 p.m. ET game next Saturday. On Sunday, SIUE faces either Southern or St. Bonaventure.