FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate women's basketball team will close out its 2012-13 home schedule Monday evening, welcoming Mercer into the Hodge Center for a 7:03 p.m. tip-off broadcasted nationally on ESPN3 in Atlantic Sun Conference action.
This will be the 12th meeting between Mercer and Upstate. The Bears hold a 7-5 advantage against the Spartans in the all-time series. The two squads are knotted up at 3-3 when playing inside the Hodge Center. Earlier this season, Upstate dropped a 72-55 decision at Mercer Jan. 19, pushing Upstate's then-losing streak to five games.
The Bears jumped to second in the A-Sun standings with a 67-58 win over ETSU Feb. 16, while Stetson dropped a 73-68 loss at Northern Kentucky to slip to third in the league. MU holds an 11-2 mark in conference action and a 17-7 overall record. Upstate is tied for fifth in the A-Sun with a 6-8 record in league play and a 10-15 mark overall.
Precious Bridges leads Mercer in scoring, averaging 17.5 points a game, while Kendra Grant is second on the squad with 13.3 points a contest. Bridges tops the A-Sun in scoring average, while Grant is fifth. Teanna Robinson leads the Bears on the boards, averaging 7.9 rebounds an outing, while Sharmesia Smith is second on team, pulling down 6.0 boards per game.
Robinson is fourth in the A-Sun in rebounding, while Smith tied for 13th. Starling leads Upstate with 5.8 boards a game to take 15th in the league. Starling tops the A-Sun in field goal percentage with .531, while MU's Alicia Williams is 14th with .436.
The Bears are sixth in the league in scoring offense, averaging 59.8 points per game, while the Spartans are seventh with 59.8 points a contest. Upstate is sixth in the A-Sun with a -7.1 scoring margin, while Mercer is fourth with a -2.4 scoring margin. If the contest comes down to the charity stripe, the Spartans have the edge as they are third in the league, shooting 73.2 percent from the line, while the Bears are ninth with a 66.4 freebie percentage. Upstate is third in the conference with a 42.1 field goal percentage, while MU is fifth, shooting 38.0 percent from the floor.
SPARTAN QUICK HITS
• The Spartans improved to 7-6 at home this season with a 57-48 win over Kennesaw State Feb. 16, after dropping two-straight road contests at FGCU and Stetson.
• Earlier this season, Upstate snapped a five-game losing streak with a 61-52 win at Kennesaw State Jan. 21, sparking a three-game win-streak. The Spartans are hoping their Saturday win over KSU will have a similar ripple effect. During the three-game win-streak, Upstate averaged 65.7 points a game and beat opponents by a margin of 13.3 points.
• The Spartans 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.
• Brittany Starling nearly tabbed her fourth double-double of the season, recording 14 points and a team-best nine rebounds against the Owls Feb. 16. She has really come alive for the Spartans as of late as the KSU game marked the 10th-straight contest that the rookie has led Upstate in either points and/or rebounds. In the last seven contests, Starling is averaging 14.1 points per game and snagging 9.1 rebounds an outing.
• Starling leads Upstate on the boards this season, pulling down 5.9 rebounds per game and is 15th in the A-Sun. She is second on the team in scoring and leads all newcomers, averaging 9.7 points per game.
• Tyra Smith tied her season-high, handing out eight assists against Kennesaw State Saturday and gave out six assists against LU Feb. 4. Smith is currently fourth in the A-Sun, dishing out 4.0 helpers a contest. She ranks 133rd in the nation in assists per game.
• In A-Sun only contests, Shelby Hicks is third in the league with a 50.0 field goal percentage behind Starling (.539) and North Florida's Raneisha Lamar (.535). Starling also tops the conference list in all games with a 53.1 field goal percentage.
• Tee'Ara Copney paces Upstate this season, averaging 13.1 points per game to rank seventh in the A-Sun. She posted a game-best 20 points against Kennesaw State Saturday, marking her seventh 20-point outing this season.
• After setting the Upstate career record in steals earlier this season, Copney is second in the A-Sun in steals per game, averaging 2.5 a contest after swiping five against KSU Saturday.
• The Spartans are third in the conference in field goal percentage, shooting 42.1 percent from the floor, while ranking 55th in the NCAA stats. Upstate climbed to third in the A-Sun in free throw percentage with a 73.2 mark to rank 51st in the nation. The Spartans are tied for second in the league in defensive rebounds, snagging 25.6 defensive boards per game.
• 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 streamed lived for free 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.