Nashville, Tenn. – For the second year in a row, USC Upstate traveled to Nashville, Tenn., and swept games against Belmont and Lipscomb. On Monday night, Tee'Ara Copney made the difference, scoring a game-high 28 points and nailing four free throws in the final 19 seconds to lift the Spartans to an 81-76 victory of Lipscomb in A-Sun women's basketball action.
Copney (Asheville, N.C.) added five rebounds, five assists and three steals to help the Spartans improve to 16-11 overall and 12-6 in the A-Sun. Upstate will travel to Campbell on Saturday for the Spartans' final road trip of the season. Lipscomb fell to 8-19 overall and 5-13 in the league.
Upstate trailed throughout the first half and the first 10 minutes of the second half. However, the Spartans rallied into the lead midway through the second half and held off Lipscomb for the win. The Spartans also had to counter a balanced Lady Bisons attack which placed five players in double figures.
Lipscomb gained the lead with a 9-0 run early in the first half to open a four-point advantage. The Lady Bisons increased the lead to as many as seven late in the half before settling for a five-point lead, 31-26, at halftime.
Though Upstate battled to cut the lead to two early in the second half, Lipscomb outscored the Spartans by nine over the next five minutes to open its largest lead of the game, 11 points, with 12:03 to play in the game. The Lady Bisons seemed to be on control of the game. That is when the Spartans made their move.
Logan Castlebury (Sea Grove, N.C.) nailed two three-pointers as Upstate used an 18-2 run over the next five minutes to turn an 11-point deficit into a five-point lead with 7:10 to play. Lipscomb would not go away and answered with a 5-0 spurt to tie the game.
However, Upstate would not allow Lipscomb to break back on top. Copney nailed a jumper to give Upstate a 65-63 lead. She converted two free throws with 2:42 to play to give Upstate a six-point advantage, but Lipscomb would not go away.
The Lady Bisons cut the Upstate lead to one on a jumper by Anna Bowers with 19 seconds to play. Copney, though, made the most of the fact that Lipscomb was forced to foul. Copney nailed four free throws the rest of the way to keep Lipscomb at bay and secure the win for Upstate.
Upstate shot 44 percent from the field and 39 percent from the three-point arc for the game. The Spartans did a good job of getting to the free throw line, converting 20-of-27 from the stripe. Lipscomb shot 41 percent from the field and 32 percent from the arc. The Lady Bisons made 10-of-16 from the free throw line.
Chelsea McMillan (East Gadsden, Fla.) also had a strong outing for Upstate. She finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and three steals to help the Spartans to the win. Lauren McRoberts (Carmel, Ind.) also turned in a solid game, finishing with 13 points, nine rebounds and three assists.
Valerie Bronson led the Lipscomb attack with 18 points. Four other Lady Bisons finished in double figures as well.