Spartan Women’s Hoops Set for Coastal Jaunt Against Chants
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate women's basketball team (1-10, 0-2 A-Sun) finishes its four-game road stint tomorrow, traveling to Coastal Carolina (6-2) for a 7 p.m. tip-off.
Coastal Carolina enters Monday's contest with a 6-2 record this season, including a 5-0 mark at home. Coast Carolina received votes in the most recent Mid-Major Top 25 poll.
Coastal is led by Shatia Cole, averaging 12.3 points per contest. Angelica Henry and Shanika Maddox contribute 10.8 and 10.3 points per game, respectively. Maddox leads the squad in rebounding, snagging 9.6 boards per contest. Taylor Epley is second on the team with 5.3 rebounds per game, while also tallying 17 blocked shots on the season. Cole leads the Chanticleers in assists with 23 this year.
In their last outing, the Chanticleers dropped a 61-59 decision to South Carolina State Dec. 18 at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. Coastal Carolina's only other loss this season came at the hands of another Atlantic Sun Conference opponent North Florida Nov. 28. The Ospreys picked up a 67-37 victory at home.
Against South Carolina State, Coastal Carolina had four players score in double-figures as Maddox led the charge with 14 points. Cole added 13 points, while Epley and Kayla Cook had 11 and 10, respectively. Maddox and Epley nearly recorded a pair of double-doubles as both grabbed nine boards each to go along with their double-digit scoring efforts.
Upstate owns a 5-2 overall advantage against the Chanticleers, including a 2-1 mark in Conway, S.C. In the teams' last meeting Dec. 30 in Spartanburg, S.C., Coastal Carolina claimed a 75-62 victory. Last season's contest was not only the first match-up between the two teams in the Division-I era, but also the first meeting since the 1985-86 season. That season the Spartans defeated Coastal Carolina 86-72 in Conway, S.C., Dec. 7.
The Spartans return to non-conference action this week, traveling to Coastal Carolina. Upstate opened Atlantic Sun Conference play with a pair of contests in Florida Dec. 17 and Dec. 19. Upstate's non-conference slate this season has included a pair of contests against Southeastern Conference opponents in Vanderbilt and Auburn and another set of games against ranked Atlantic Coast Conference teams in then-No. 20/19 North Carolina and then-No. 6/5 Duke.
The Spartans started a four-game road swing Sunday, Dec. 11 at Duke and close out the road tour at Coastal Carolina tomorrow. The four-game span marks the longest away stint for Upstate this season. Earlier this year, the team had three-straight road games, where the Spartans dropped decisions to then-No. 20/19 North Carolina (Nov. 13), Vanderbilt (Nov. 16) and Radford (Nov. 19). Upstate set out again for a two game stint, traveling to Auburn (Nov. 27) and UNC Asheville (Nov. 30). The Spartans picked-up their only win of the season on the road at Asheville with a 73-66 victory.
The win at UNC Asheville earlier this season snapped a six-game skid for Upstate as junior Tee'Ara Copney (Asheville, N.C.) posted a career-high 34 points. The win was the first of the season for the squad. The 0-6 start marked the first time the Spartans have dropped their first six 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 was the first time under head coach Tammy George that the Spartans posted a 0-6 record to start the season.
Upstate is led by Copney with 15.4 points per game and 3.6 rebounds per contest. Junior Tyra Smith (Lawrenceville, Ga.) and freshman Briana Robinson (Columbia, S.C.) are averaging 7.0 and 5.8 points per contest, respectively. Junior Lauren McRoberts (Carmel, Ind.) leads the squad with 5.2 boards per contest, while Paulina Zaveckaite (Gainesville, Fla.) is averaging 4.8 rebounds a game.
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.