Hodge Center Set to Host Women’s Hoops Spartan Duel
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate women's basketball team (0-4) squares off with Norfolk State (2-1) tomorrow with the clash of the two Spartans set for 7 p.m. in the Hodge Center.
Norfolk State was picked to finish last in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), after going 2-14 in conference play last season. Rae Corbo was named to the league's Preseason All-Rookie Team this year.
The Norfolk State Spartans opened the 2011-12 season with a 2-1 record. Most recently NSU lost to Wofford 50-45 Saturday, Nov. 19.
NSU is led by Whitney Long, averaging 15.0 points per game, while Corbo is second on the team with 14.7 points per contest. Rachel Gordon leads the squad in rebounding, averaging 11.0 boards per game, while tallying 9.7 points per contest. Marian Brooks is second on the team with 6.0 rebounds per game, while Recca Trice has handed out 13 assists this season for Norfolk State.
This is the fourth meeting between Norfolk State and Upstate. NSU holds a 3-0 advantage, including a 1-0 mark at the Hodge Center. This will be the first meeting between Upstate and Norfolk State in the Division I era for both schools. The two teams haven't met since the 1993-94 season, when Norfolk State defeated Upstate 82-66 in the NCAA Division II South Atlantic Regional March 11, 1994. NSU ended Upstate's season the previous year as well, beating the South Carolina Spartans 75-68 in the D-II Regional March 13, 1993 in Spartanburg. The first meeting between the two was Dec. 30, 1990, when Norfolk State won 72-58 at the UNC Greensboro Classic.
The 0-4 start marks the first time the Spartans have dropped their first four contests of the season since the 2001-02 campaign, when they started the year 0-7. That season Upstate opened the season with a 72-67 loss to North Greenville Nov. 16, 2001. In this year's season-opener, the Spartans dropped a 75-57 decision to the Crusaders at the Hodge Center Nov. 11. This is the first time under head coach Tammy George that the Spartans have posted a 0-4 record to start the season.
Wednesday night's (Nov. 16) 88-42 loss at Vanderbilt was the first of two Southeastern Conference foes for the Spartans this season. Upstate travels to Auburn Nov. 27 for a 2 p.m. (CT) game.
The 91-34 loss at then-No. 20/19 North Carolina Nov. 13 was the first of two Atlantic Coast Conference 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.
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).
Upstate is led by Tee'Ara Copney (Asheville, N.C.) with 14.8 points per game and 3.3 rebounds per contest. Junior Hannah Ohl (Danville, Ill.) is averaging 7.3 points per game and has seven steals on the season. Junior Lauren McRoberts (Carmel, Ind.) leads the squad with 7.0 boards per contest. In her first game back after battling a preseason injury, sophomore Madisen Webb (Georgetown, Ky.) recorded 10 points and six rebounds at Radford Nov. 19.
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.