Upstate Embarks On Midwest Swing, Takes On Sycamores, Buckeyes
Spartanburg, S.C. – After starting the season 1-2, USC Upstate has rattled off two straight wins, including an impressive 78-70 victory at home against ETSU on Dec. 4. The Spartans will knock off the rust after exam week and take its show on the road to play at Indiana State (Dec. 12) and Ohio State (Dec. 14) in a pair of non-conference games in the Midwest. Upstate has never played against Indiana State or Ohio State.
Upstate enters the two non-conference games with a 3-2 overall record. The Spartans have reached the win column in each of its last two games, taking a 78-73 victory in overtime at Presbyterian and claiming a 78-70 win over ETSU in their A-Sun opener. Indiana State, Upstate's first opponent on the road trip, stands 4-4 and is coming off a 59-50 victory over Eastern Illinois on Dec. 8. Ohio State is 7-0, ranked sixth in the country, and is coming off a strong 95-84 victory over Oklahoma on Dec. 5.
Fans can follow the action online in a variety of ways. Live audio for free can be accessed at www.upstatespartans.com, Upstate's official Athletics website. Free live stats and video for a fee for the Indiana State game will be available through the official Indiana State Athletics website at www.gosycamores.com. Live stats for the Ohio State game can be accessed for free on OSU's official Athletics website at www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com.
Looking Back At East Tennessee State
Four Spartans finished in double figures and Upstate claimed an important 78-70 victory over ETSU in both team's A-Sun opener on Dec. 4. Chelsea McMillan made an important statement as the A-Sun Preseason Player of the Year led the Spartans with 20 points and eight rebounds. Tee'Ara Copney tallied 17 points and three assists, while Lauren McRoberts and Kendra Wallace added 11 and 10 points, respectively. Upstate held ETSU to 35 percent shooting for the game and forced the Lady Bucs into 28 turnovers. ETSU held a 14-point lead with 13:41 to play, but the Spartans used an 11-0 run to get back into the game and went on for the win. The Spartans held ETSU to 28 percent shooting in the second half and shot 46 percent from the field in the second 20 minutes.
Homecoming For Indiana Natives Freds, McRoberts
Sunday's game at Indiana State will be the first time that Upstate has ventured to the Hoosier state. It will also mark a bit of a homecoming for Indiana natives Kelci Freds and Lauren McRoberts. Freds, a freshman from Warsaw, and McRoberts, a sophomore from Carmel, will get to play in front of their home state fans and a number of friends and family. In addition to Freds and McRoberts, assistant coach Bill Tinder is also returning to his home state. A native of Anderson and Muncie, he was on the Muncie Central High School team that was depicted in the movie Hoosiers as the losing team in the championship game.
Spartans Receive Votes In CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 Poll
After not receiving votes last week, Upstate has once again shown up in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll this week, one of several schools receiving votes. The Spartans are one of four A-Sun schools mentioned in the poll. Florida Gulf Coast is ranked third, while ETSU, Jacksonville and Upstate are receiving votes.
Spartans Shine In Hodge Center Re-Opener
After the completion of the $4 million renovation to the Hodge Center and playing its first four games on the road, Upstate made the most of its home opener and its first in the newly renovated facility by taking a 78-70 victory over East Tennessee State on Dec. 4.
Upstate Among A-Sun Leaders
Though the season is young, Upstate has shown it is one of the better teams in the A-Sun, at least as far as the stats go. The Spartans top the league in scoring at 72.8 points per game. They also lead the conference in rebounding (44.2 rpg), offensive rebounds (16.8 orpg), defensive rebounds (27.4 drpg) and blocked shots (4.6 bpg).
McMillan Tops 800 Career Points
Playing in her third and final season at Upstate (she played her freshman season at Sante Fe Community College in Florida), senior Chelsea McMillan topped the 800-point plateau with 20 points at Presbyterian (Dec. 2). Follwoing her 20-point outing against ETSU (Dec. 4), she now has 838 points in her two-plus years playing for the Spartans. She is also closing in on a milestone in rebounding. She is just three rebounds shy of 600 in her Upstate career.
Jacobs Makes Strides Against ETSU
Freshman Kyana Jacobs is the only true point guard on Upstate's team. Although sophomore Tee'Ara Copney has been inserted into the starting spot at the point, Jacobs is expected to see plenty of action as long as she develops. After some up and down performances to start the year, Jacobs came of age against ETSU. She scored seven of her career-high nine points in the second half, helped Upstate cut down on turnovers in the second half, and sank four key free throws in the last 1:32 of the game to lead the Spartans to a 78-70 win over ETSU (Dec. 4).
Copney Tops A-Sun In Scoring
With 17 points against ETSU (Dec. 4), Tee'Ara Copney maintained her position as the A-Sun's leading scorer. She averages 18.6 points per game. A versatile player, she also ranks among the league leaders in five other statistical categories, including free throw percentage (5th, 80.6), steals (4th, 2.6), three-point field goals made per game (4th, 2.4), blocked shots (14th, 0.6) and assist to turnover ratio (11th, 0.7).
McMillan A Double-Double Machine
Chelsea McMillan holds Upstate's record for the most double-doubles in Upstate's Division I history. She has posted double dips 24 times in her three years in the program. After posting six as a sophomore in 2008-09, she tallied 16 last season, recording a double-double in more than half of the games last season. Not a surprise, she averaged a double-double for the season with 14.2 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. She started the 2010-11 season with a bang, going for 17 points and a career-high 20 rebounds at Mississippi State (Nov. 12).
McMillan Moves Up In Upstate's Record Book
Having played in the program for just two seasons after transferring to Upstate from Sante Fe CC, senior Chelsea McMillan has proven to be one of the top players in the history of the Spartans' program and has moved up on several of Upstate's record lists. She currently ranks in the top 10 in 10 career categories, including second all-time with 105 blocked shots. She ranks third all-time with an 80.8 free throw percentage and a 9.5 rebounds per game average. She is sixth all-time in scoring average (13.3 ppg) and eight all-time with 597 rebounds.
In addition to her career numbers, she ranks in the top five in 10 single-season categories. She owns the season record with 121 offensive rebounds a year ago, while ranking third with 312 rebounds and 51 blocked shots in 2009-10.
Wallace Closes In On Career Three-Point Record
Kendra Wallace was a standout freshman in 2008-09, earning A-Sun All-Freshman honors. She has continued her solid play and is nearing Upstate's career three-point record. She enters the Indiana State game with 132 three-pointers in her career, 37 shy of the record of 169 held by Columbus, Ohio, native Stephanie Feyes (2001-04).
Scouting Indiana State
Indiana State enters Sunday's game against Upstate with a 4-4 overall record, having claimed a 59-50 victory over Eastern Illinois on Dec. 8. The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Sycamores.
ISU started off strong, winning its first two games of the season with wins over Furman and UT-Martin. However, the Sycamores had back-to-back losses at Kansas State and at home against Michigan and again at Florida International and Butler. They held Furman to 36 points in a tough defensive performance.
ISU averages 60.5 points per game and allows opponents to score 61.2 points per outing. The Sycamores shoot 37 percent from the field, including 30.6 percent from the three-point arc. They are 71.4 percent from the free throw line.
While the scoring is fairly even with their opponents, so is the rebounding. They average 36 boards per game, while opponents grab 37.6 per outing.
Brittany Schoen and Taylor Whitley lead ISU in scoring. Schoen averages 12 points per game. Whitley is second at 11.8 points per outing, while topping the club with 32 assists and 20 steals. Shannon Thomas shoots nearly 50 percent from the field and leads the team with 12 blocked shots. She ranks third at 9.8 points per game.
Scouting Ohio State
Ohio State will enter the game against Upstate as one of the top programs in the country. The Buckeyes are currently ranked No. 6 in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today Top 25 polls with new rankings coming out on the 14th, the day of the contest with the Spartans. OSU will play at Syracuse on Saturday, Dec. 11 prior to the meeting with Upstate.
OSU has had a great start to the season, winning its first seven games by an average margin of 16.5 points. The Buckeyes' only single-digit victories of the year came at Temple (84-75) and at LSU (59-55). They also played one common opponents with Upstate, taking an 80-47 victory over ETSU on Nov. 22. Upstate claimed a 78-70 victory over ETSU in its last game.
OSU averages 79 points a game and allows opponents only 63 points per outing. The Buckeyes shoot the ball extremely well, hitting nearly 49 percent of its field goal attempts, though they strugled while hitting just 29 percent from behind the arc. They are solid from the free throw line, hitting 77 percent of their attempts from the stripe. A solid defensive team, the Buckeyes have blocked 35 shots.
OSU has four players who average in double figures in scoring. Jantel Lavender leads the way with 25.7 points per game. She also tops the club with 10.4 rebounds per outing and 17 blocks on the year. Samantha Prahalis is second in scoring at 17 ppg, while Tayler Hill and Brittany Johnson average 13.6 and 13.1 ppg, respectively. Prahalis leads the Buckeyes with 42 assists, one of four players to have 17 or more dimes on the season.