Upstate Looks to Hit the High Note in Nashville
Spartanburg, S.C. – USC Upstate returns to the hardwood Saturday evening when it travels to Nashville, Tenn., to take on Belmont at 6:00 p.m. Eastern time, 5:00 p.m. Central time. The Spartans claimed a 69-51 victory over the Bruins on Jan. 22 in Spartanburg and have won each of the last three contests in the series. Belmont does hold a one-game edge in the series, leading 4-3 all-time.
Upstate enters the game with a 14-11 overall record and a 10-6 mark in the A-Sun. The Spartans currently sit in fourth place in the league standings, a half a game back of Stetson in third. The Spartans are on a two-game winning streak and have won seven of the last 10 games. Belmont enters the game with an 8-17 overall record and a 5-11 mark in the conference. The Bruins ended an eight-game losing streak when it traveled to Buies Creek, N.C., and took a 54-45 victory at Campbell the last time out.
Fans can follow the action live online in a variety of ways. Live audio and statistical updates will be available for free through the official Upstate Athletics website at www.upstatespartans.com and the official Belmont Athletics website at www.belmontbruins.com. Live video will also be available for a fee on the web at ASun.TV.
Looking Back at North Florida
Upstate used a late run in the first half to open a seven-point cushion at halftime, and increased the lead to 20 points midway through the second half to cruise to a 78-65 victory over North Florida on Senior Night in the Hodge Center last Monday. Three seniors - Sharniece Wadelington, Kimberly Pitman and Chelsea McMillan - were honored in a pregame ceremony for their contributions to the program. When the ball was tipped, the teams battled for position until Upstate used a 15-4 run to open a 26-17 lead with 1:21 to play in the half. The Spartans led by seven at halftime. After UNF cut the lead to one on two occasions early in the second half, Upstate outscored the Ospreys 27-8 to open a 55-35 advantage with 10:07 to play and cruised to the win. McMillan led the Spartans with 27 points and 11 rebounds for her 14th double-double of the season. Tee'Ara Copney added 19 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals in a solid all-around performance.
When Belmont came to Spartanburg in January, it was in the midst of a solid season. The Bruins stood 7-10 overall and 4-4 in the A-Sun. Upstate claimed a 69-51 victory over the Bruins and Belmont was in the beginning stages of losing eight-straight games. The Bruins enter Saturday evening's game against Upstate with an 8-17 overall record and a 5-11 mark in the conference.
Belmont snapped its eight-game losing streak, its longest of the season, with a 54-45 win at Campbell last Saturday. The Bruins have claimed league wins over Kennesaw State (home), Stetson (away), North Florida (home), Lipscomb (home) and Campbell (away), while losing in the conference to Mercer (home), Florida Gulf Coast (away), Jacksonville (home), Campbell (home), Upstate (away), ETSU (Away), Lipscomb (away), Stetson (home), Florida Gulf Coast (home), Jacksonville (away) and Stetson (away).
Belmont is a fairly low-scoring team and averages 57.6 points per game. The Bruins average a little lower in conference play at 56.2 points per outing. Opponents average 64.2 points per outing with that figure dropping to 61.8 ppg in league play. They shoot 36.2 percent from the field, 32.7 percent from the three-point arc and 72.2 percent from the free throw line for the season. Opponents shoot 37.4 percent from the field and 31.7 percent from the arc.
Haley Nelson leads Belmont in scoring overall and in conference play, avergaing 12.8 and 12.7 ppg, respectively.
Wallace Queen of the Three-Pointer
When Kendra Wallace nailed a three-pointer in the first half of the North Florida game on Feb. 14, she moved into sole possession of the all-time three-point record at Upstate. She now has 172 in her career, three more than Stephanie Feyes who set the previous record of 169 in 2005.
Spartans Get It Done at Home
To say that Upstate likes playing at home is an understatement. The Spartans are currently 10-2 on the year in the Hodge Center, 8-1 at home against A-Sun opponents. On the road, the Spartans are just 4-9 on the year, 2-5 against league foes.
McMillan in Rare Air
Senior post player Chelsea McMillan is in rare air within the storied history of the women's basketball program. She is the 13th person in the history of the program to reach 1,000 career points. With 1,203 points and 832 rebounds in her three seasons at Upstate, she is just the fourth person to reach 1,100 points and 800 rebounds.
Roach Hits the Offensive Glass
Freshman Kim Roach has proven to be a solid player for the Spartans in her first season in the program. She ranks sixth in scoring at a little more than six points per game. She has also proven to be strong on the offensive glass for the Spartans. She has 67 total rebounds on the year with 41 coming on the offensive glass. That figure represents 63 percent of her rebounds for the season.
McMillan Surpasses 1,200 Career Points
Chelsea McMillan has reached career scoring milestones of 800, 900, 1,000 and 1,100 points this season. With 27 points against North Florida (Feb. 14), she reached 1,200 points. She is the 13th player in the history of the program to reach 1,000 points and now ranks in a tie for ninth all-time with 1,203 points. She started her collegiate career at Santa Fe Community College before transferring to Upstate as a sophomore.
Upstate Basketball Adds Another Member to Athletics Hall of Fame
Prior to the start of the game against Mercer (Jan. 29), Upstate held its annual Athletics Hall of Fame banquet and the women's basketball program contributed to the festivities. Yakeeshia Ross, who wore the Green, White and Black from 2002-06, was enshrined in her first year of eligibility. The program's all-time leader in rebounds (991) and blocked shots (202), she also ranks sixth all-time in scoring at 1,463 points.
McMillan Tops the A-Sun in Rebounding
Chelsea McMillan ranks among the league leaders in several statistical categories. She tops the league with 11.8 rebounds per game and is the only player in the conference to average a double-double with 17.4 points as well.
Wallace Tops 800 Career Points
Though the countdown is on in Kendra Wallace's chase of the all-time three-point record at Upstate, she has already reached one career milestone, topping 800 career points. She now has 841 points and is well on her way to becoming the 14th person in the history of the program to reach 1,000 in her career.
Copney Tops 600 Career Points
Sophomore Tee'Ara Copney needed just eight points to reach 600 in her Upstate career entering the game against Lipscomb (Jan. 24). She earned that and more, finishing with 19 to surpass the 600-point plateau in her young career. She is set to top 700 career points, tallying 691 entering this weekend.
McMillan Tops 800 Career Rebounds
While Chelsea McMillan has reached 1,000 career points, she also has moved up on the all-time rebounding list at Upstate. She has topped the 800-career rebound mark to rank fourth all-time at Upstate. Yakeeshia Ross owns the top mark with 991 in her brilliant four-year career from 2002-06.
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 37 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. She started the 2010-11 season with a bang, going for 17 points and a career-high 20 rebounds at Mississippi State (Nov. 12). She now has 15 double dips this season.
Upstate's Win Over Lipscomb First Ever for Upstate on TV at Home
The win over Lipscomb (Jan. 24) in the CSS Game of the Week was not only the first-ever women's basketball game to be telecast from the Hodge Center, it was also the first time an Upstate basketball team has won on television at home. The men's team has played two games on television in the Hodge Center and has dropped both contests.
Roach Turns in Strong Outing Versus Belmont
Freshman forward Kim Roach has shown progress throughout her first season playing college ball. On Jan. 22 against Belmont, she turned in one of the best games of her young career. She finished with 13 points and turned in career highs with eight rebounds and three steals. A 58 percent free throw shooter, she was 7-for-9 from the charity stripe for the game.