Spartanburg, S.C. – The top two teams in the Atlantic Sun Conference will face off Monday evening in the Hodge Center when Upstate plays host to Florida Gulf Coast at 5:00 p.m. Upstate enters the game with a 7-6 overall record and a 4-1 mark in the A-Sun after suffering its first conference loss of the season Saturday evening to Stetson. FGCU enters the game with a perfect 12-0 overall record and a 5-0 mark in the A-Sun. The Eagles are ranked No. 3 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 Poll and are receiving votes in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today Top 25 polls.
FGCU owns a 4-1 lead in the series that dates back to the 2007-08 season when Upstate and FGCU both made the transition to NCAA Division I and the A-Sun. The Eagles ran off four-straight wins in the series before Upstate claimed an 86-78 victory at home last February.
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 Stetson
Despite allowing a 17-0 Upstate run and falling behind by 10 points in the second half, Stetson rallied into the lead and held off Upstate to take a 74-65 victory Saturday evening in the Hodge Center. Upstate suffered its first conference loss with the decision and ended a two-game winning streak overall. Stetson's Jessica Conner led all scorers with 25 points on 8-for-10 shooting from the field and 9-for-12 shooting from the free throw line. Two other Hatters also finished in double figures. Chelsea McMillan scored all 14 of her points in the second half as Stetson clogged the middle and challenged Upstate to win from the perimeter. Upstate fell behind by 10 points in the first half, but used a 12-0 run to close out the half, the final three coming on a three-pointer from Tee'Ara Copney at the buzzer, to take a 30-28 lead at the intermission. Upstate extended the run to 17-0 with five-straight points to open the second half, but Stetson rallied to take the lead with 6:44 to play and never trailed again.
Florida Gulf Coast enters Monday night's game at Upstate with a perfect 12-0 overall record and a 5-0 mark in the A-Sun. The Eagles are coming off a 77-70 victory over ETSU in Johnson City, Tenn., Saturday afternoon.
FGCU has received votes in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today Top 25 polls and is ranked third in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll.
FGCU has claimed wins over some marquee named opponents on the season, taking non-conference wins over Seton Hall, Troy, Virginia Tech, Montana, Florida International and Indiana. The Eagles have claimed A-Sun wins over North Florida, Jacksonville, Belmont, Lipscomb and ETSU. Lipscomb was undefeated in the league when FGCU played them and ETSU was a one-loss team in conference play entering Saturday's game.
FGCU is the A-Sun's top-scoring program, averaging 74.1 points per game. The Eagles increase that average to 80.4 during conference play. They shoot at a 43.9 percent clip from the field, 38.1 percent from the three-point arc and 67.1 percent from the free throw line. The Eagles have made 138 three-pointers on the year, while opponents have made just 55. Opponents average 56.3 points per game and shoot 36.5 percent from the field and 27.2 percent from the arc.
Sarah Hansen leads a trio of FGCU players who average in double figures for the year. She averages 13.4 points per game and also tops the club with 6.5 rebounds per outing. Kelsey Jacobson ranks second at 13.3 ppg, while Shannon Murphy is third at 12.8 ppg.
Stetson Lost A First On Several Fronts This Season
When Upstate took its 74-65 loss by Stetson (Jan. 8), it was a first in a number of areas for the Spartans this season. It marked the first time Upstate has lost this year when it shot between 40-49 percent from the field. It also marked the first time the Spartans have lost when scoring first and when leading at halftime.
Spartans Off To Best A-Sun Start
Upstate is not only off to one of the best starts in the league this season, at 4-1 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.
70 Is The Magic Number
It's not brain surgery. The more you score, the more likely you are to win games. In Upstate's case, the magic number is 70. The Spartans are 7-1 this season when scoring 70 or more points, including a 2-0 mark when scoring 80 or more. Upstate is 0-5 this season when scoring below the 70-point mark.
McMillan Approaching 1,000 Career Points
Senior post player Chelsea McMillan has reached career scoring milestones of 800 and 900 points this season. With 20 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 Santa 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 150 career three-pointers, ranking third all-time. She is just three 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 19 away from the all-time mark.
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 528 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 (16.4 ppg), rebounding (11.2 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
Individually, Upstate players top the A-Sun in four statistical categories, while ranking in the top five in four others. Chelsea McMillan leads the league in scoring (16.4 ppg), rebounding (11.2 rpg) and blocks (1.9 bpg), while Kyana Jacobs tops the conference with an astounding 86.5 percent free throw percentage. Tee'Ara Copney ranks second with 5.2 assists per game, while ranking third with 2.4 steals per outing. As a team, Upstate leads the A-Sun with 10.9 steals per game and is second in scoring (71.3 ppg) and rebounding (41.5 rpg).
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 683 rebounds in her two and a half years in the program. She ranks fifth all-time at Upstate, 101 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.