SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate women's basketball team (1-14, 0-4 A-Sun) hosts Atlantic Sun Conference foe Mercer (3-13, 1-4 A-Sun) tomorrow at 5 p.m. in the Hodge Center for Project Rebuild Night.
Mercer enters Saturday's contest with a 3-13 record this season, including a 1-4 mark in A-Sun play. The Bears are 2-6 on the road this season.
Mercer is on a six-game losing-streak, dropping three-straight A-Sun contests. The Bears lost 72-46 at ETSU Jan. 7. Mercer fell to Stetson at home 89-84 Jan. 4, after dropping a 98-50 decision to Florida Gulf Coast in Macon, Ga.
The Bears are led by Briana Williams, averaging 14.5 points per contest. Ry'van Buchannan and Alicia Williams contribute 10.4 and 8.9 points per game, respectively. Alex Phillips leads the team in rebounds, snagging 7.0 boards per contest. Buchannan is second on the team, averaging 5.4 rebounds a game. Phillips tallies 22 blocks on the season, while Buchannan has 14 denials.
Mercer owns a 5-4 overall advantage against the Spartans, including a 3-2 mark in Spartanburg, S.C. Upstate has won the last three meetings with the Bears. Last season, the Spartans beat Mercer 70-64 in Macon, Ga., Jan. 5, 2011 and then again 74-63 inside the Hodge Center Jan. 19, 2011. In the teams' last meeting, Upstate was led by Tee'Ara Copney (Asheville, N.C.) with 18 points and nine rebounds, while Chelsea McMillian tallied 17 points and 14 boards. Mercer was led by Briana Williams with 17 points, while Sharnea Boykin handed out 11 assists.
The Spartans wrapped-up non-conference action Jan. 2, hosting Western Carolina. Upstate's non-conference slate this season 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 closed out the road tour at Coastal Carolina Thursday, Dec. 29. The four-game span marked 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 Copney posted a career-high 34 points. The win was the first of the season for the squad. The Spartans are currently battling a six-game losing-streak.
Freshman Paulina Zaveckaite (Telsiai, Lithuania) registered three-straight double-doubles. She earned Atlantic Sun Conference Newcomer of the Week honors Jan. 3, after recording the first two double-doubles at Coastal Carolina Dec. 29 (15 points, 17 rebounds) and against Western Carolina Jan. 2 (14 points, 13 rebounds). She added her third double-double at ETSU with 11 points and 17 rebounds.
Copney tallied her 1,000th-career-point Saturday, Jan. 7 against Kennesaw State. Her jumper with 42 seconds left in the first period gave her exactly 1,000. She went on to lead the Spartans with 22 points on the day, amassing 1,011 career-points.
Upstate is led by Copney with 15.8 points per game and 4.1 rebounds per contest. Freshman Briana Robinson (Columbia, S.C.) and junior Tyra Smith (Lawrenceville, Ga.) are averaging 6.9 and 6.5 points per contest, respectively. Zaveckaite leads the squad with 7.4 boards per contest, while junior Lauren McRoberts (Carmel, Ind.) is second on the team in rebounding, averaging 4.7 per game.