January 8, 2014

Spartans Hit the Road this Week to Face Stetson, FGCU

Stetson Game Notes
FGCU Game Notes

Spartanburg, S.C. – The USC Upstate women's basketball team will hit the road for the first time in conference play this week as it travels down to the state of Florida for contests against Stetson and Florida Gulf Coast.

The Spartans are currently 6-7 this season and 1-1 in the conference. Stetson is 8-5 overall and 0-1 in league play, while Florida Gulf Coast is 7-6 and 1-0.

Upstate produced one of its best games since joining Division I last Saturday in its 92-69 home win over Lipscomb. The Spartans' 92 points scored are the most against an Atlantic Sun opponent in program history and second-most in the Division I era. Upstate also dished out 27 assists as a team to rank first in the Division I record book and tied for fourth in school history.

The Spartans also shot a season-high 52.0% as a team courtesy of career afternoons from several players. Brittany Starling and Shelby Hicks each produced double-doubles for Upstate as it picked up its first conference win of the season. Starling led the Spartans with 18 points and 10 rebounds to earn her seventh career double-double, and second of the season, while Hicks tied her career-highs of 14 points and 12 rebounds to collect the second double-double of her career. Brittany Clency dished out a career-best seven assists and finished with 16 points. Valese McAllister set a new career-high with 15 points and tying her career-best mark of eight rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench. Alex Stanford also came off the bench to contribute a career-high eight assists.

Starling leads the Upstate offense this season with 11.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. She ranks fourth in the A-Sun in field-goal percentage (.531), ninth in rebounding, and seventh in offensive (2.7) and ninth (4.9) in defensive rebounds per game. Stanford is seventh in field-goal percentage (.500) and Hicks is tied for fifth in blocked shots per game (1.2).

Stetson is led by sixth-year head coach Lynn Bria. She is 89-84 during her time with Stetson and is 242-297 in her 19 seasons as a head coach. Sasha Sims leads the Stetson offense with 18.0 points per game (second in the A-Sun) and is one of five players averaging in double-figures. Brianti Saunders (14.6), Amber Porter (11.6), Cherisse Burris (11.2) and Jama Sharp (11.2) are also scoring in double-digits per game.

Florida Gulf Coast is under the direction of 12th-year head coach Karl Smesko. He is 295-62 with Florida Gulf Coast and is 356-89 in 15 seasons as a head coach. Sarah Hansen averages a team-high 14.2 points per game for Florida Gulf Coast, and is joined in double-figures by Whitney Knight (13.1) and Stephanie Haas (12.2).

The Spartans will be meeting Stetson for the 13th time in program history Thursday. Stetson leads the all-time series 8-4 and is 5-1 when playing in DeLand. Stetson won 79-55 last season at the Edmunds Center.

Upstate is facing off against Florida Gulf Coast for the 12th time Saturday night. Florida Gulf Coast leads the series 9-2 and 6-0 in games played at Alico Arena. Florida Gulf Coast was victorious 72-49 in Fort Myers last year.

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