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Navy women’s basketball beats Clemson for first program win over an ACC team

The Mids’ defense was suffocating, stealing the ball 22 times from the Tigers.

Navy v American Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

The Navy women’s basketball team captured one of the most surprising and biggest wins in program history Saturday, beating the Clemson Tigers in Littlejohn Coliseum in South Carolina. It was the program’s first ever win against a team from the ACC.

To capture the 65-52 victory in front of an announced crowd of 1,184 fans, the Midshipmen played a brand of defense that was suffocating. Their 22 steals were the most Navy had recorded in a single game since 1991, when they swiped away 25 possessions from Division II Shepherd.

Clemson (1-1) shot decently from the floor — making 53.5 percent of their attempts — but connected on just 1-of-7 three-pointers and turned the ball over 31 times. The Tigers also notched just two points on fast breaks.

Navy (2-0) had just 11 turnovers, made seven three-pointers and scored 27 points off Clemson’s turnovers. Despite losing the rebounding battle 47-24, Stefanie Pemper’s side connected on 10-of-14 lay-ups and scored 24 points in the paint.

Leading the way for Navy was Jennifer Coleman and Kolbi Green, who combined for 35 points. Each also had eight steals apiece, while Green grabbed five rebounds and Coleman dished out five assists.

The win for Navy is even more impressive considering what Clemson accomplished just a year ago. Amanda Butler was the ACC’s Coach of the Year and the Tigers won an NCAA tournament game. Clemson was predicted to finish in the top half of the conference this year and senior Kobi Thornton was named to the All-ACC preseason team. She had 18 points and seven rebounds Saturday, but it wasn’t enough to beat the Mids.

For Navy, the win was also a great way to send off assistant coach Bianca Roach, who is leaving the team to enter surface warfare.

Navy will be tested by another ACC team on Monday, as they head north from Clemson to Chapel Hill, North Carolina for a game against the Tar Heels, led by first-year head coach Courtney Banghart.

Another win for Navy would be a very impressive accomplishment.