FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Katie Parker, firstname.lastname@example.org
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Just as the temperatures dip again in the Upstate, the USC Upstate women's basketball team heads for warmer weather in the Sunshine State, taking on Atlantic Sun Conference leader Florida Gulf Coast University Saturday at 7:30 p.m. broadcasted nationally on ESPN3.
This will be the 11th meeting between FGCU and Upstate. The Eagles have won the last three matchups and hold a 5-0 advantage against the Spartans at home in Fort Myers, Fla. Earlier this season, FGCU claimed a 77-54 victory inside the Hodge Center.
The Jan. 14 loss to FGCU came in the middle of a five-game skid for Upstate, which was snapped with a 61-52 win at Kennesaw State Jan. 21. The Eagles remain undefeated in A-Sun play with an 11-0 mark conference action and an 18-5 overall record. Upstate is 9-13 on the year and 5-6 in the league.
Sarah Hansen leads FGCU in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 16.6 points a game and 7.9 boards an outing, while Brittany Kennedy is second on the team in both categories with 10.6 points per contest and 5.3 rebounds a game. Hansen ranks third in the A-Sun in scoring average, while Kennedy is 13th. Two other Eagles also rank in scoring in the conference stats as Joyce Iamstrong is 13th (10.6 ppg) and Betsy Adams is 26th (8.9 ppg).
Hansen is fifth in the A-Sun in rebounding, while Kennedy ranks 19th. Starling leads Upstate with 5.8 boards a game take 15th in the league. Hansen tops the A-Sun in field goal percentage with .532, while Starling is second with .517.
The Eagles lead the league in scoring margin, beating opponents by an averaging 15.5 points, while Upstate is fifth with a -6.3 scoring margin. FGCU tops the A-Sun in free throw percentage, shooting 76.2 percent from the line, while the Spartans are a close second with a 74.4 freebie percentage. The Eagles are second in the conference with a .425 field goal percentage, while Upstate is third with a .422 field goal percentage.
Despite being known for its three-point shooting, FGCU ranks fifth in the A-Sun with a .316 percentage behind the arc. Upstate ranks second in the league, shooting .330 percent from long distance.
SPARTAN QUICK HITS
• Upstate closed out a four-game homestand Feb. 4, with a 78-62 victory over Lipscomb as head coach Tammy George tabbed her 100th win at Upstate in eight seasons. She became the winningest coach in program history during the 2010-11 season.
• The Spartans improved to 3-7 on the road Jan. 21, picking up a 61-52 win at Kennesaw State to snap a five-game skid and mark the beginning of a three-game winning streak, which came to an end with an 81-61 setback to Northern Kentucky Feb. 2.
• During the three-game win-streak, Upstate averaged 65.7 points a game and beat opponents by a margin of 13.3 points.
• Brittany Starling was named the A-Sun Newcomer of the Week Jan. 29 after turning in back-to-back double-doubles in a pair of Spartan victories. In two games, the freshman center averaged 20.0 points per game and 13.5 rebounds an outing. She pulled down a career-high 15 boards against Jacksonville Jan. 26 and tallied a career-best 21 points against North Florida Jan. 28. She went on to post a team-high 15 points against NKU Feb. 2 and grabbed a team-high 11 boards rebounds against LU Feb. 4, marking the seventh-straight contest that the rookie has led Upstate in either points or rebounds.
• Starling leads Upstate on the boards this season, pulling down 5.8 rebounds per game and is 15th in the A-Sun. She is second on the team for Upstate in scoring and leads all newcomers, averaging 9.4 points per game. Starling climbed to second in the conference with a 51.7 field goal percentage, leading all A-Sun freshmen.
• Tweety Hawkins flirted with a double-double against Lipscomb Feb. 4. She posted a career-best 15 points and handed out a career-high eight assists.
• Tyra Smith handed out a season-high eight assists in the Spartans' 64-52 win over UNF Jan. 28 and gave out six assists against LU Feb. 4. Smith is currently fourth in the A-Sun, dishing out 4.0 helpers a contest.
• Tee'Ara Copney paces Upstate this season, averaging 13.5 points per game to rank fourth in the A-Sun. She posted a team-high 21 points against LU Feb 4, marking her sixth 20-point outing this season.
• After setting the Upstate career record in steals earlier this season, Copney currently is tied for third in the league in steals per game, averaging 2.5 a contest. She is 89th in the NCAA stats.
• Upstate tops the Atlantic Sun in defensive rebounds, snagging 26.5 defensive boards per game. The Spartans are third in the conference in field goal percentage, shooting 42.2 percent from the floor, while ranking 67th in the NCAA national statistical rankings. Upstate is second in the A-Sun in free throw percentage with a 74.4 mark to rank 29th in the nation.
• The Spartans shot a staggering 58.1 percent from the floor against North Florida Jan. 28, marking the highest field goal percentage recorded by any team in the A-Sun this season.
Fans can watch the action as the contest is broadcasted nationally on ESPN3 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.