January 18, 2013

Spartans Set for Peach State Swing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Katie Parker, kparker@uscupstate.edu

Game Notes | ASun.TV 

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate women's basketball team (5-11, 1-4 A-Sun) hits the road for a pair of Atlantic Sun Conference contests, traveling to Mercer (9-7, 3-2 A-Sun) for a 2 p.m. tip-off Saturday before heading to Kennesaw State Monday.

SCOUTING MERCER

This will be the 12th meeting between Upstate and Mercer. The Bears hold a 6-5 record in the all-time series, including a 3-2 advantage when playing the Spartans in Macon, Ga.

The Bears are tied for third in the Atlantic Sun Conference standings alongside Northern Kentucky as both teams are 3-2 in conference play. Mercer is currently enjoying a three-game winning-streak with its last loss coming at home Jan. 2 against FGCU with a 70-41 decision. The Bears dropped their first two A-Sun games at home to the Eagles and to Stetson Dec. 31 before rattling off three-straight road wins against Kennesaw State, Jacksonville and North Florida.

On the season, Precious Bridges leads Mercer in scoring with 16.6 points per game. She ranks third in the league statistics in scoring average and is the reigning A-Sun Player of the Week. Kendra Grant is second on the team, averaging 12.3 points an outing. Teanna Robinson paces MU in rebounding, pulling down 8.3 boards a contest, while Sharmesia Smith snags 6.3 rebounds per game.

In the squad's last outing, the Bears downed North Florida 56-43 in Jacksonville, Fla. Bridges led all scorers on the day, posting 23 points, going 10-for-17 from the floor. She also grabbed six rebounds, handed out three assists and swiped three steals. Grant helped Mercer, registering 13 points, while Robinson collected a team-best 11 boards.

After winning four-straight contests against the Bears, the Spartans dropped a 87-71 loss at Mercer last season in the most recent meeting between the two teams. Tee'Ara Copney led Upstate with 30 points, while netting a career-high 13-of-14 from the line. Paulina Zaveckaite tallied a double-double for the Spartans with 11 points and 12 rebounds, while Shelby Hicks recorded 10 points.

However, the double-digit Spartan trio wasn't enough to overtake the Bears as Briana Williams set an A-Sun single-game record, putting up 54 points. She connected on 16-of-27 from the floor, while going 17-for-21 from the charity stripe.

SPARTAN QUICK HITS

• The Spartans fell to 2-6 on the road this season after dropping a 57-56 decision at Liscomb as the Bison netted a three-pointer at the buzzer.

• Upstate looks to tie its record against Mercer in Macon at 3-3 as the Bears currently hold a 3-2 advantage in the Peach State.

• Mercer is led by the reigning A-Sun Player of the Week, Precious Bridges. This marks the second-straight weekend that the Spartans have squared off with a team led by the current conference Player of the Week. Upstate fell to Stetson 84-66 last Saturday, while SU's Victoria McGowan held the league's weekly honor. 

• Senior Tyra Smith and freshman Brittany Starling led Upstate in its last outing against FGCU Jan. 14, posting 13 points each. This marked the sixth double-digit performance for both players and Smith's second consecutive. Smith recorded a team-high five boards and five assists.

• Upstate ranks second in the Atlantic Sun in defensive rebounds, snagging 26.6 defensive boards per game. The Spartans are third in the conference in field goal percent defense with their opponents shooting 38.2 percent. The Spartans are third in the league in field goal percentage, shooting 41.0 percent from the floor, while ranking 86th in the NCAA national statistical rankings.

• Copney leads the A-Sun with a 94.1 free throw percentage, connecting on 32-of-34 from the line. After setting the Upstate career record in steals this season, she currently ranks second in the league in steals per game, averaging 2.8 a contest. The thief ranks 46th in the NCAA stats.

Fans can watch the action as its streamed live for free at ASun.TV or follow along on Live Stats. Join in the conversation on Twitter at #UpstateWBB. Follow Upstate women's basketball this season on your mobile device, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.