Upstate Women’s Basketball Set to Face No. 20/19 North Carolina
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate women's basketball team (0-1) migrate north to Chapel Hill, N.C. to take on No. 20/19 North Carolina (1-0) tomorrow at 2 p.m.
Tar Heel Tales:
North Carolina opened the 2011-12 season today, defeating Gardner-Webb 109-44 at home. The Tar Heels went 28-9 for the 2010-11 campaign, including a 8-6 mark in Atlantic Coast Conference play. The Tar Heels lost to Duke in the ACC Championship 81-66. UNC lost to Stanford 72-65 in the NCAA Regional Semifinals as the No. 5 seed in the Spokane Regional.
The Tar Heels return two starters from last season's squad in junior Krista Gross (4.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg) and senior Chay Shegog (8.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg).
North Carolina enters the season ranked No. 20 in the Preseason AP Top 25 Poll and No. 19 in the Preseason ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll. This marks the first match-up between the Tar Heels and the Spartans.
Upstate opened the 2011-12 campaign, dropping a 75-57 decision to North Greenville Friday, Nov. 11 at the Hodge Center. Sophomore Kim Roach (Columbia, S.C.) led the Spartans offensively with 18 points, going a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line. She also snagged six rebounds, while junior Tee'Ara Copney (Asheville, N.C.) posted 14 points and a team-high seven boards for the night.
Tomorrow's contest against No. 20/19 North Carolina is the first of two ACC opponents on the docket for Upstate this season. The Spartans will make the trip from Spartanburg to Durham, N.C. for a 2 p.m. tip-off at No. 8/8 Duke Dec. 11.
In 2010-11, Upstate posted a 17-13 record, marking its second-straight winning season. The Spartans finished tied for third in the Atlantic Sun standings after going 13-7 in conference play. Upstate earned a postseason berth into the Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI), which marked the university's first Division I postseason appearance. The Spartans dropped a 103-72 decision in the WBI to Elon. This season, the Spartans are eligible for the Atlantic Sun Basketball Championship as well as an NCAA Tournament berth.
The Spartans return six players from last season's squad and welcome eight newcomers. Upstate welcomes five freshmen to the team (Hikeya' Davis, Maddie Herr, Shelby Hicks, Briana Robinson and Paulina Zaveckaite) and a trio of junior college transfers (Hannah Ohl, Erin Pinkett and Tyra Smith).
The Spartans were picked to finish seventh in the A-Sun Preseason Coaches' Poll and fifth in the A-Sun Preseason Media Poll. Copney was a unanimous Preseason All-Conference Team pick, after averaging 15.1 points per game last season. She also averaged 4.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.4 steals per contest.