Yakeeshia Ross is the third person affiliated with the women’s basketball program to be inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame.
As a senior in 2005-06, Ross was one of the foundational elements of Tammy George’s inaugural team, helping the team to its first winning season in eight years and first NCAA Division II Tournament berth in over a decade. Ross was part of a squad that finished with a 16-14 mark and helped the Rifles post their first win in the Peach Belt Tournament in six years, with a 69-62 win over Columbus State and an appearance in the conference semifinals.
Ross was instrumental in helping the Rifles improve their win total in all but one of her seasons and helped lay the foundation for USC Upstate’s current Division I success. She is one of 13 players in school history to score 1,000 career points, and finished her illustrious career ranking sixth on the Rifles’ career scoring ledger, with 1,429 points. Ross was especially potent in the paint, shooting the ball at a 52.0-percent (584-of-1,124) clip for her career.
Ross’ success as a post player wasn’t just limited to her productivity as a scorer, it also extended to her contributions as a defensive presence as well as her abilities to rebound on both ends of the floor.
She concluded her career as the only player in the history of the Peach Belt Conference to claim both the league’s Freshman of the Year (2002-03) and Player of the Year (2005-06) in her career. For her efforts in her senior season, Ross also garnered national acclaim, as she was named an NCAA Division II Honorable Mention All-American.
Ross’ 204-career blocked shots and 991 career rebounds are still school standards. She finished her career averaging 12.6 points per game, which ranks 10th on the program’s all-time career scoring scroll, while pulling down 8.8 rebounds per outing in 113 career contests, which ranks her fourth on the career rebounds list.
As a senior in 2006, Ross had her best season in an Upstate uniform. She averaged a double-double with 16.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. The Peach Belt Conference Player of the Year turned in one of the best individual campaigns in program history, setting new single season marks for rebounds (316) and blocked shots (67), while posting 15 double-doubles in 30 outings in her final season.
Ross still resides in Spartanburg and works with special needs children at the Charles Lea Center.