FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Despite a strong showing in the opening half Saturday night, the USC Upstate women's basketball team (0-1) couldn't hold off No. 21/18 Purdue (1-0) as the Boilermakers claimed the season-opener 82-47.
The Spartans managed to get on the board first thanks to a jumper by senior guard Tee'Ara Copney (Asheville, N.C.) at the 18:13 mark. Upstate maintained the lead for the first 10 minutes, until Purdue's Courtney Moses scored the go-ahead layup, pushing the score to 12-11. Despite the Spartans putting up a solid fight in the first half, the Boilermakers never looked back and took a 38-25 lead into the locker room at the intermission.
In the second half, the Boilermakers continued to show why they're ranked in both the AP Top 25 Poll and the ESPN/USA Today Poll as they went on a 17-7 run in the opening eight minutes. Purdue then put together a 20-7 run, leading 78-41 with 4:57 to play. The Boilermakers went on to claim the 82-47 victory as Upstate dropped its third-straight season-opener.
Despite the loss, it wasn't all bad news for the Spartan squad as the team showed flashes of promise. Copney led Upstate in scoring with 16 points, while freshman center Brittany Starling (Sumter, S.C.) was second on the team with seven points. Even though the rookie made an early exit, fouling out with nine minutes to play, she paced the Spartans on the boards by grabbing a team-high five rebounds.
In addition to Starling, the rest of the Upstate freshmen gave fans a slight glimpse of things to come for the 2012-13 campaign as Brittany Clency ( Greensboro, N.C.) added a spark off the bench, putting up five points, handing out two assists, collecting two rebounds, snatching two steals and recording one blocked shot. Tweety Hawkins (Madison, Ga.) helped the Spartan cause, posting four points, while Travonda Haddock (Pollocksville, N.C.) helped the defensive effort by swatting a game-high three blocked shots.
Other notable Spartans on the night included, sophomore Shelby Hicks (Greeneville, Tenn.), junior Valese McAllister (Twin City, Ga.) and senior Lauren McRoberts (Carmel, Ind.). Hicks and McAllister recorded four points each for Upstate, while Hicks had three boards and McAllister grabbed two. McRoberts put up two points, snagged two rebounds, gave out two assists and swiped one steal. Senior Tyra Smith (Lawrenceville, Ga.) dished out a team-high four assists to go along with three boards and two steals.
Purdue was led on the night by four players scoring double-figures as KK Houser led the way with 17 points. Drey Mingo was second on the squad with 15 points, while Moses and Taylor Manuel each record 12 points. Houser registered a game-high five assists and three steals. Her teammates Sam Ostarello and Chantel Poston also gave out five assists.
On the boards, Ostarello led the Boilermakers with a game-high nine rebounds, including eight defensive boards, while posting five points. Mingo was strong on the glass as well, pulling down six rebounds, while Houser and Liza Clemons recorded three boards apiece.
The Spartans return to action Tuesday, Nov. 13, traveling to Old Dominion for a 7 p.m. nonconference contest. Follow Upstate women's basketball this season on your mobile device, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.