Spartans Stymied at ETSU
Johnson City, Tenn. – USC Upstate shot a season-low 19 percent from the field and turned in its lowest-scoring game of the season as East Tennessee State dominated play for most the game and took a 64-42 victory over the Spartans Wednesday night in A-Sun women's basketball action.
Upstate fell to 10-9 overall and 6-4 in the A-Sun with the loss. The Spartans will play host to Mercer Saturday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. on Homecoming and Hall of Fame day in the Hodge Center. ETSU improved to 11-9 overall and 8-3 in the league.
With snow falling outside, the shooting temperatures were cold for Upstate inside the MSHA Athletic Center. The Spartans shot just 20 percent from the floor and just under 13 percent from the three-point arc in the loss. The cold shooting offset Upstate's ability to force ETSU into turnovers. The Spartans forced the Buccaneers into 36 turnovers on the night, but only scored 19 points off of those miscues.
Upstate opened a 4-1 lead early in the game, but ETSU countered with a 9-0 run to take a 10-4 advantage with 14:51 to play. The Spartans managed to cut the lead to one, 10-9, but the Buccaneers went on a monstrous 25-4 run to basically put the game away.
By the time Destiny Mitchell converted a three-point play with 5:41 to play in the half, ETSU held a 35-13 lead. ETSU went into the half with a 39-15 advantage as Upstate turned in its lowest-scoring half of the season, the next closest being 23 points in a win over Longwood last week.
Upstate shot just 18 percent in the first half and made just 1-of-11 from the three-point arc. After getting to the line 31 and 30 times in the last two games, the Spartans didn't shoot a free throw in the first half. Chelsea McMillan (East Gadsden, Fla.) picked up three fouls in the first half and couldn't make her presence felt.
Upstate made an initial push to get into the game early in the second half. The Spartans used a 9-2 run to cut the ETSU lead to 17 points with 14:56 to play. However, ETSU increased the lead to 26 points over the next four minutes and the lead grew to as many as 29 before the Buccaneers settled for the 22-point win.
The 42 points scored by Upstate were the lowest since the season opener at Mississippi State when the Spartans scored 53.
No Spartan scored in double figures. Kelci Freds (Warsaw, Ind.) turned in a career high with nine points to lead the Spartans. Tee'Ara Copney (Asheville, N.C.) added eight. McMillan finished with 17 rebounds.
Mitchell led the ETSU offensive attack with 18 points. She also had nine rebounds and five steals. Gwen Washington came off the bench for 11 points, while Jasmine McIntosh added 10. Latisha Belcher picked up 18 rebounds.