Spartan Women’s Hoops Set for Peach State Tour
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate women's basketball team (6-15, 5-5 A-Sun) travels to the Peach State this week to take on two Atlantic Sun opponents, beginning with a trip to Kennesaw State (9-13, 4-7 A-Sun) for a 7 p.m. tip-off Thursday, Feb. 2 set to air on ESPN3.
Kennesaw State enters Thursday's contest with a 9-13 record this season, including a 4-7 mark in A-Sun play. The Owls are 3-5 at home this season.
In the Owls' last outing, they dropped a 58-51 decision at FGCU Jan. 28. Sametria Gideon tallied a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Chelcey Farrar had 10 points and 11 boards. Taylor Mills helped the KSU offense with 10 points. Kennesaw State fell 73-68 at Stetson Jan. 26. The Owls were led by Mills with 16 points, while Farrar and Ashley Holliday recorded 15 and 10 points, respectively.
On the season, KSU is led by Mills, averaging 13.3 points per game. Gideon is second on the squad with 10.8 points a game, while Holliday averages 10.0 points a contest. Gideon leads the Owls in rebounds, snagging 8.3 boards a game. Lisa Capellan is second on the team with 6.5 rebounds per game.
Earlier this season, KSU defeated Upstate 74-63 in the Hodge Center Jan. 7. Upstate junior Tee'Ara Copney tallied her 1,000th-career-point off of a jumper with 42 second left in the first period, which gave her exactly 1,000. She entered the contest needing just 11 points to join the 1,000-point club. She went on to lead the Spartans with 22 points on the day. Upstate freshman Briana Robinson (Columbia, S.C.) totaled 15 points, while freshman Shelby Hicks (Greeneville, Tenn.) registered a career-high of 10 points. Junior Lauren McRoberts (Carmel, Ind.) snagged a team-high eight rebounds for the Spartans.
In the teams' last meeting, the Owls were led by Mills with 19 points and six assists, while Gideon recorded a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds. Elaina Gray contributed 14 points and seven boards. Capellan helped with eight points and eight rebounds, while Kristina Wells also grabbed eight boards for Kennesaw.
KSU owns a 19-7 overall record against Upstate, including a 10-2 mark in Kennesaw, Ga. Last season, the Spartans swept the Owls, beating KSU 75-67 on the road Jan. 3, 2011 and then again in Spartanburg, S.C., Jan. 31, 2011.
The Spartans are riding a four-game winning-streak and have won five of their last six contests, going back to a 77-56 win at home against Mercer Jan. 9. Upstate picked up an exciting 58-57 win at North Florida Jan. 14 with Briana Robinson's (Columbia, S.C.) buzzer-beater jumper. The Spartans knocked off Lipscomb 73-66 in the Hodge Center Jan. 19 and Belmont 61-51 Jan. 21.
In Upstate's 74-68 win against ETSU Jan. 28, Copney and Hicks each tallied either first career double-double. Copney posted 17 points and a career-high 11 rebounds, while Hicks registered a career-high 13 points for the third time this season and a career-high 10 boards. This marked the first time since March 17, 2011 at Elon that two Upstate players had 10 or more rebounds.
The Spartans have been strong from the free throw line all season, shooting 77.8 percent. Upstate ranks eighth in the nation in free throw percentage and leads the conference. Copney leads the squad at the line, shooting 87.7 percent (64-for-73). She is second in the A-Sun in the category and is 18th in the NCAA statistical rankings. McRoberts technically has the best overall percentage, but hasn't had enough trips to the line to rank in the league or NCAA statistics. She boasts an 88.2 percent from the charity stripe, going 30-for-34 on the season.
On the season, Upstate is led by Copney with 15.8 points per game and 4.5 rebounds per contest. Robinson and junior Tyra Smith (Lawrenceville, Ga.) are averaging 7.4 and 6.5 points per contest, respectively. Freshman Paulina Zaveckaite (Telsiai, Lithuania) leads the squad with 7.0 boards per contest, while McRoberts is second on the team in rebounds, averaging 5.5 per game.