Spartans Escape Winter Weather, Head South To Face UNF
Spartanburg, S.C. - With the snow and ice slowing melting away, Upstate will look to put the cold weather behind it when it travels south to the state of Florida to take on A-Sun rival North Florida Saturday evening at 4:30 p.m. in the UNF Arena. The game will renew a rivalry that dates back to the 1993-94 season when both schools were members of the Peach Belt Conference in NCAA Division II. UNF holds an 11-5 lead in the all-time series, though Upstate has won three of the five games played since the Spartans made the transition to Division I and the A-Sun in 2007-08.
Upstate enters the game with a 7-6 overall record and a 4-1 mark in the A-Sun. However, the Spartans have not played since a 74-65 loss to Stetson on Jan. 8. Monday's game against Florida Gulf Coast was postponed due to the winter weather that wreaked havoc in the Upstate. North Florida enters the game with a 3-11 overall record and a 1-4 mark in the A-Sun, but claimed an impressive 57-53 win at Lipscomb on Monday.
Fans can follow the action live online in a variety of ways. Live audio will be available for free through the official Upstate Athletics website at www.upstatespartans.com. Live statistical updates will be available for free via the official North Florida Athletics website at wqww.unfospreys.com. Live video will also be available for a fee on the website on ASun.TV.
Looking Back At Stetson
Despite allowing a 17-0 Upstate run and falling behind by 10 points in the second half, Stetson rallied into the lead and held off Upstate to take a 74-65 victory Saturday evening in the Hodge Center. Upstate suffered its first conference loss with the decision and ended a two-game winning streak overall. Stetson's Jessica Conner led all scorers with 25 points. Two other Hatters also finished in double figures. Chelsea McMillan scored all 14 of her points in the second half. Upstate fell behind by 10 points in the first half, but used a 12-0 run to close out the half, the final three coming on a three-pointer from Tee'Ara Copney at the buzzer, to take a 30-28 lead at the intermission. Upstate extended the run to 17-0 with five-straight points to open the second half, but Stetson rallied to take the lead with 6:44 to play and never trailed again.
Scouting North Florida
North Florida enters Saturday's game against Upstate with a 3-1 overall record and a 1-4 mark in the A-Sun. The Ospreys are coming off their first conference win, an impressive 57-53 victory at Lipscomb.
Mary Tappmeyer is in her 13th year as head coach at North Florida. She has 356 career wins, including 261 at UNF. She is 11-5 all-time against Upstate.
UNF has picked up wins against Florida Atlantic, Troy and Lipscomb on the year, while taking losses to North Carolina, Cincinnati, Florida and South Florida, among others, in non-conference play. The Ospreys have dropped league games to Florida Gulf Coast, Stetson, Campbell and Belmont.
UNF is a low-scoring team, averaging 52 points per game, though that average climbs six points to 58 points per contest against A-Sun opponents. The Ospreys allow nearly 66 points per game, though that figure also rises to 69 points per contest against league opponents. The Ospreys shoot 35 percent from the floor, 29 percent from the three-point arc and nearly 64 percent from the free throw line. Opponents are shooting 39 percent from the floor and nearly 36 percent from the arc.
Brittany Kirkland averages 14.6 points per game to lead UNF in scoring and is the only Osprey to average in double figures for the year. That figure increases to 15 points per game during league play. Taylor Smith, who averages 8.6 points overall, increases her average to 11.3 points per outing during A-Sun games. Larkira Jones tops the club with 7.1 rebounds per game overall and 8.8 in A-Sun play.
Upstate-FGCU Game Postponed
Due to the winter weather that blanketed the Upstate with 6-8 inches of snow and additional small amounts of ice, the Jan. 10 game against Florida Gulf Coast was postponed. The game has yet to be rescheduled, though and announcement should come soon.
Stetson Loss A First On Several Fronts This Season
When Upstate took its 74-65 loss by Stetson (Jan. 8), it was a first in a number of areas for the Spartans this season. It marked the first time Upstate has lost this year when it shot between 40-49 percent from the field. It also marked the first time the Spartans have lost when scoring first and when leading at halftime.
Spartans Off To Best A-Sun Start
Upstate is not only off to one of the best starts in the league this season, at 4-1 the Spartans are off to their best start ever in A-Sun play. In fact, Upstate had lost every A-Sun opener in the previous three years. Upstate was 0-12 in the conference to start the 2007-08 conference slate, the Spartans' first season playing on the Division I level. Upstate was 0-2 to start the 2008-09 campaign and stood 0-3 to start things off last year.
70 Is The Magic Number
It's not brain surgery. The more you score, the more likely you are to win games. In Upstate's case, the magic number is 70. The Spartans are 7-1 this season when scoring 70 or more points, including a 2-0 mark when scoring 80 or more. Upstate is 0-5 this season when scoring below the 70-point mark.
McMillan Approaching 1,000 Career Points
Senior post player Chelsea McMillan has reached career scoring milestones of 800 and 900 points this season. With 20 more points, she will reach 1,000 in her career, reaching the mark in just two and a half years. She started her collegiate career at Santa Fe Community College before transferring to Upstate as a sophomore. When she reaches 1,000 points, she will be the 13th person in the history of the program to achieve the mark.
McRoberts Notches First Career Double-Double
Sophomore forward Lauren McRoberts has been a key player for Upstate throughout the season. A vital player on both ends of the court, she reached a career first at Mercer (Jan. 5) when she finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds for her first career double-double. Her effort, including hitting three free throws in the final 23 seconds, helped lead Upstate to a 70-64 win over the Bears.
Wallace Inches Closer To Career Three-Point Mark
Junior sharpshooter Kendra Wallace is not only closing in on second place on Upstate's all-time three-point record, she is eyeing the top spot. She currently has 150 career three-pointers, ranking third all-time. She is just three treys away from second place on the all-time list, Paula Blackwell (1992-94) at 153. The top spot is owned by Stephanie Feyes (2001-05). The Columbus, Ohio, native made 169 in her four-year career at Upstate. Wallace is just 19 away from the all-time mark.
Copney Tops 500 Career Points
With six points at Kennesaw State (Jan. 3), sophomore Tee'Ara Copney has reached the 500-point plateau for her career. Last year's A-Sun Freshman of the Year and a preseason all-conference selection this season, she now has 528 career points.
McMillan Tops A-Sun In Scoring, Rebounding and Blocks
Upstate senior post player Chelsea McMillan received high praise by the A-Sun coaches when she was named the league's preseason player of the year. She is certainly living up to the hype by leading the conference in both scoring (16.4 ppg), rebounding (11.2 rpg) and blocked shots (1.9 bpg). As a junior, she finished the 2009-10 season ranked fifth in scoring at 14.2 points per game and second in rebounding at 10.8 rebounds per outing en route to earning A-Sun First Team All-Conference honors.
Upstate Among A-Sun's Statistical Leaders
Individually, Upstate players top the A-Sun in four statistical categories, while ranking in the top five in three others. Chelsea McMillan leads the league in scoring (16.4 ppg), rebounding (11.2 rpg) and blocks (1.9 bpg), while Kyana Jacobs tops the conference with an astounding 86.5 percent free throw percentage. Tee'Ara Copney ranks second with 5.2 assists per game, while ranking third with 2.4 steals per outing. As a team, Upstate leads the A-Sun with 10.9 steals per game and is second in scoring (71.3 ppg).
McMillan Nearing Another Rebound Milestone
With 15 rebounds at Mercer (Jan. 5), senior Chelsea McMillan has neared yet another statistical milestone, moving closer to 700 in her career. She currently has 683 rebounds in her two and a half years in the program. She ranks fifth all-time at Upstate, 101 away from fourth on the all-time list. Yakeeshia Ross owns the top mark with 991 in her brilliant four-year career from 2002-06.