Spartanburg, S.C. – USC Upstate traveled up the mountain to the cool air of Asheville, N.C., but the Spartans found a hot-shooting team in UNC Asheville as the Bulldogs placed four players in double figures to take a 95-76 victory over Upstate Tuesday night at the Justice Center.
Upstate fell to 1-2 on the year with the loss. The Spartans will be back in action on Dec. 2 at Presbyterian. UNC Asheville improved to 3-1 on the year with its second-straight win over an A-Sun opponent after beating Campbell last Saturday.
Tee'Ara Copney (Asheville, N.C.) played in front of her hometown crowd and led the Upstate attack with 21 points and a career-high eight assists, but the Spartans couldn't hold down the motion offense of UNCA.
UNCA used its cutting and screening motion offense to keep Upstate off balance throughout the night. The Bulldogs shot 49 percent from the field and were 11-of-25 from the three-point arc in the win. They also forced Upstate into 22 turnovers which led to 33 points for UNCA.
The teams jockeyed for position early in the first half and when Kendra Wallace (Hurricane, W.Va.) nailed a three-pointer with 13:15 to play, the game was tied at 16-16. To that point, there had been three ties and two lead changes.
However, Breaira Barksdale's layup with 12:56 to play gave UNCA an 18-16 lead and the Bulldogs would never trail again. The bucket started a 9-2 run that gave UNCA a 25-18 lead. With the Bulldogs holding a seven-point lead, Upstate made a run to cut the lead to three, 29-26, with 8:02 remaining in the half.
UNCA, though, used a 13-2 run to open a 14-point advantage with 5:35 to play. The Bulldogs gave three points back but took an 11-point edge, 51-40, at halftime. UNCA shot 48 percent from the field and was a torrid 7-of-13 from the arc in the half. Lindsey Thompson led the way, connecting for 21 points to lead the Bulldogs.
Upstate came out in the second half and battled back into the game. The Spartans cut it to six points less than two minutes into the half. UNCA, though, put the game away with a 14-1 run to open a 19-point lead, 68-49, with 13:12 to play. The lead grew to as many as 25 and Upstate would get only as close as 13 before the Bulldogs took the 95-76 win.
UNCA shot 49 percent from the field (35-of-71) and 44 percent (11-of-25) from the three-point arc in the game. The Bulldogs also shot 14-of-18 from the free throw line in a strong shooting exhibition. Upstate finished the game shooting 36 percent from the floor and 19 percent from the arc.
Madisen Wedd (Georgetown, Ky.) narrowly missed her first collegiate double-double. The freshman finished with 18 points and nine rebounds to help the Upstate cause. Chelsea McMillan (East Gadsden, Fla,) had nine points and eight boards. Copney added five steals and four rebounds to her 21 points and eight assists.
Thompson finished with 26 points to lead all scorers for UNCA. Kendall Shepard was strong all around, finishing with 19 points, eight assists and six rebounds. Barksdale added 15 points and six assists, while Kelli Riles chipped in with 12 points and eight boards for the Bulldogs.