SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Less than seven minutes in against No. 2 Notre Dame, Clemson was whistled for its sixth foul, and coach Audra Smith implored her team to ease off.
"We don't have enough people," Smith said after Charmaine Tay and Nikki Dixon each had collected two fouls.
With just eight players available, the Tigers held close to the Irish for a half, but attrition eventually took its toll in Notre Dame's 71-51 inaugural ACC win on Sunday.
Dixon, the Tigers' leading scorer, had averaged 19.7 points in her last three games, but picked up her fourth foul on Jewell Loyd's offensive putback early in the second half and sat for nearly eight minutes. Dixon then fouled out with 5:36 to play and finished with just five points.
"I thought fatigue and foul trouble killed us in the second half," Smith said. "We ended up putting them on the line 27 times and they made 19 of those free throws, and we lose by 20, so that was huge."
Up by just four points at halftime on Clemson, the Irish used a 17-4 run out of the break to take control in their ACC debut, a 71-51 win over the Tigers on Sunday.
Clemson hit just one of its first eight shots in the second half, and Loyd had a three-point play and a 3-pointer during the decisive Irish run.
"I was just trying to get it done on defense," said Loyd, who scored 12 of her 16 points in the second half. "We just weren't making shots. Maybe we were just trying to force it, but we'll make those shots with our eyes closed tomorrow."