Spartans Rally, But Can't Complete Comeback at Stetson
DeLand, Fla. – USC Upstate rallied from a 12-point deficit in the second half to take the lead late, but Stetson scored the game's final five points to ruin the Spartans' comeback attempt and took an 80-76 victory Monday night in A-Sun women's basketball action in the Edmunds Center.
Upstate fell to 12-11 overall and 8-6 in the A-Sun with the loss. The Spartans will be back in action Saturday afternoon at 4:30 when Jacksonville travels to Spartanburg for a game in the Hodge Center. Stetson improved to 12-11 overall and 8-6 in the league with the win.
When Tierra Brown converted a layup with 13:24 to play, Stetson opened a 54-42 lead, matching its largest lead of the game. Upstate countered by rallying to cut the lead to three with 10:49 remaining. Stetson answered by outscoring Upstate, 11-5 over the next three minutes to push the advantage to nine points.
Trailing by nine, 69-60, with 5:39 to play, Upstate made one final push, and it was a large push that delivered the lead to the Spartans late. Kyana Jacobs (Dale City, Va.) started things off with a layup. When she converted a layup with 1:40 to go, it capped a 13-4 run as Upstate tied the game at 73-73.
Stetson jumped back into the lead on a pair of free throws by Janelle Mills, but Upstate countered when Lauren McRoberts (Carmel, Ind.) fed Chelsea McMillan (East Gadsden, Fla.) down low. McMillan made the layup and was fouled in the process. She made the ensuing free throw to give Upstate a 76-75 lead with 30 seconds to play.
Stetson came down the court and Sasha Sims took a three-pointer from the right corner. She missed the shot by drew contact from McMillan and was granted three free throws. McMillan committed her fifth foul of the game and had to exit. Sims made all three to give the Hatters a 78-76 edge with 16 seconds left. Jacobs' running jumper on the right side of the lane fell short and Stetson's Victoria McGowan hit two free throws with three seconds to play to seal the victory.
The loss overshadowed a pair of tremendous individual performances for Upstate as McMillan and Sharniece Wadelington (Greenville, S.C.) led the Spartans. McMillan tallied her 13th double-double of the season with 28 points and 11 rebounds. Wadelington matched her career-high with 18 points to go along with two assists and two steals.
Neither team could forge any kind of cushion early in the game. There were five ties in the first 14 minutes of the game. It wasn't until Stetson made a run late in the half that the lead grew beyond three points.
With the game tied at 20-20, Stetson rattled off seven-straight points to open the largest lead of the game to that point with 3:39 to play. Upstate, though, answered and cut the deficit to one at halftime.
McMillan converted a three-point play early in the second half to give Upstate a 33-32 lead, but Stetson grabbed the lead back with a three-pointer by Brown. The Hatters would lead the rest of the game until McMillan's three-point play with 30 seconds remaining.
Upstate shot 40 percent from the field for the game, but struggled from the three-point arc. The Spartans connected on just 2-of-13 from the arc. Upstate did excel at the free throw line, making 24-of-26 for the game.
Stetson shot the ball well, finishing at 47 percent for the game. The Hatters shot 52 percent in the second half alone. They were also strong from the arc, hitting 6-of-12 from downtown. They were nearly as good as Upstate from the free throw line, making 24-of-28 from the stripe.
McGowan led the way for Stetson with 26 points, seven rebounds, six assists and four steals. Brown added 19 points, while Sims tallied 15 points, six rebounds and three steals.
Tee'Ara Copney (Asheville, N.C.) was the third Spartan to finish in double figures for the night. She went for 10 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals. McRoberts added nine rebounds.