Spartans Return Home To Face Stetson Saturday
Spartanburg, S.C. – The USC Upstate women's basketball team returns home with its perfect 4-0 A-Sun record intact Saturday when it plays host to Stetson at 4:30 p.m. in the Hodge Center. The Spartans are coming off a successful road swing through Georgia, having defeated Kennesaw State and Mercer earlier in the week. Upstate owns a 3-2 record all-time against Stetson, splitting the season series last year while taking three out of the last four games. The series dates back to the 2007-08 season when Upstate made the move to NCAA Division I as members of the Atlantic Sun Conference.
Upstate enters the game with a 7-5 overall record and a 4-0 mark in the A-Sun. The Spartans are tied atop the conference standings with Florida Gulf Coast. They have won four of their last five games and look to stay undefeated in conference play. Stetson enters the game with a 5-8 overall record and a 1-3 mark in the A-Sun. The Hatters have lost three-straight games after winning 4-of-6 in late-November and early-December.
Fans can follow the action live online in a variety of ways. Live audio and live statistical updates will be available for free through the official Upstate Athletics website at www.upstatespartans.com. Live video will also be available for a fee on the website on ASun.TV.
Looking Back At Mercer
Chelsea McMillan put the Spartans on her back in the second half to keep Upstate in the game and Upstate, despite holding a 10-point lead early in the half, had to rally to take a 70-64 victory at Mercer Wednesday night. While most of the Spartans had a difficult time scoring midway through the second half as Mercer battled to take the lead, McMillan kept Upstate in the game. She scored 11 points in the final 12:31 to bolster the offense until the team came back together at the end of the game to secure the win. She finished with her fourth-straight double-double and the sixth of the season, tallying 19 points and 15 rebounds. She scored 15 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the second half alone. Lauren McRoberts recorded her first career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Stetson enters Saturday's game with a 5-8 overall record and a 1-3 mark in the A-Sun. The Hatters also enter the contest on a three-game losing streak, having dropped games at Florida State and at home to Lipscomb and Belmont.
Stetson began the year with a win over Saint Leo and have picked up victories over Jacksonville State, North Florida, Youngstown State and Maine. The Hatters have dropped games to South Florida, Georgia State, Miami (Ohio), Jacksonville and Georgia Southern prior to its three-game losing streak entering Saturday.
Stetson averages 62 points per game and allows opponents nearly 67 points a game. The Hatters shoot 37 percent from the field, 28 percent from the three-point arc and 70 percent from the free throw line. Opponents shoot 40 percent from the field and 35 percent from the arc. Opponents also out-rebound the hatters by 3.8 rebounds per outing.
Stetson has three players who average in double figures. Victoria McGowan tops the club and ranks 11th in the A-Sun at 13.2 points per game. She also tops the Hatters with 47 assists and 37 steals on the year. Sasha Sims ranks second on the team with 11.2 ppg, while Tierra Brown ranks third at 10.0 ppg.
Natasha Braboski and Jessica Conner each average 6.3 rebounds per outing to lead the team.
Spartans Off To Best A-Sun Start
Upstate is not only off to one of the best starts in the league this season, at 4-0 the Spartans are off to their best start ever in A-Sun play. In fact, Upstate had lost every A-Sun opener in the previous three years. Upstate was 0-12 in the conference to start the 2007-08 conference slate, the Spartans' first season playing on the Division I level. Upstate was 0-2 to start the 2008-09 campaign and stood 0-3 to start things off last year.
McMillan Approaching 1,000 Career Points
Senior post player Chelsea McMillan has reached career scoring milestones of 800 and 900 points this season. With 34 more points, she will reach 1,000 in her career, reaching the mark in just two and a half years. She started her collegiate career at Sante Fe Community College before transferring to Upstate as a sophomore. When she reaches 1,000 points, she will be the 13th person in the history of the program to achieve the mark.
McRoberts Notches First Career Double-Double
Sophomore forward Lauren McRoberts has been a key player for Upstate throughout the season. A vital player on both ends of the court, she reached a career first at Mercer (Jan. 5) when she finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds for her first career double-double. Her effort, including hitting three free throws in the final 23 seconds, helped lead Upstate to a 70-64 win over the Bears.
Wallace Inches Closer To Career Three-Point Mark
Junior sharpshooter Kendra Wallace is not only closing in on second place on Upstate's all-time three-point record, she is eyeing the top spot. She currently has 149 career three-pointers, ranking third all-time. She is just four treys away from second place on the all-time list, Paula Blackwell (1992-94) at 153. The top spot is owned by Stephanie Feyes (2001-05). The Columbus, Ohio, native made 169 in her four-year career at Upstate. Wallace is just 22 away from the all-time mark. She ranks second all-time with 433 three-point attempts and sixth all-time with a 33.9 three-point field goal percentage.
Copney Tops 500 Career Points
With six points at Kennesaw State (Jan. 3), sophomore Tee'Ara Copney has reached the 500-point plateau for her career. Last year's A-Sun Freshman of the Year and a preseason all-conference selection this season, she now has 511 career points.
McMillan Tops A-Sun In Scoring, Rebounding and Blocks
Upstate senior post player Chelsea McMillan received high praise by the A-Sun coaches when she was named the league's preseason player of the year. She is certainly living up to the hype by leading the conference in both scoring (16.6 ppg), rebounding (11.3 rpg) and blocked shots (1.9 bpg). As a junior, she finished the 2009-10 season ranked fifth in scoring at 14.2 points per game and second in rebounding at 10.8 rebounds per outing en route to earning A-Sun First Team All-Conference honors.
Upstate Among A-Sun's Statistical Leaders
With Chelsea McMillan topping the A-Sun in three statistical categories and Tee'Ara Copney topping one list, Upstate is well represented among the conference's leaders. McMillan leads the A-Sun in scoring (16.6 ppg), rebounding (11.3 rpg) and blocks (1.9 bpg). Copney leads the league in assists (5.5 apg). Kyana Jacobs has been strong at the free throw line all season and ranks second in the league at 84.8 percent. She is shooting 94 percent from the stripe in conference play. In addition to Jacobs, Copney ranks second in the league in steals at 2.6 per outing after leading the league for much of the season. As a team, Upstate leads the A-Sun with 41.9 rebounds and 11.0 steals per game and ranks second in scoring (71.8 ppg), free throw percentage (72.5%) and assists (15.1 apg).
McMillan Nearing Another Rebound Milestone
With 15 rebounds at Mercer (Jan. 5), senior Chelsea McMillan has neared yet another statistical milestone, moving closer to 700 in her career. She currently has 672 rebounds in her two and a half years in the program. She ranks fifth all-time at Upstate, 112 away from fourth on the all-time list. Yakeeshia Ross owns the top mark with 991 in her brilliant four-year career from 2002-06.