Spartanburg, S.C. – The USC Upstate women's basketball team, fresh off receiving the university's first-ever big to a national postseason tournament, will return to the court for the first time in 18 days when it travels to Elon, N.C., to play Elon in the first round of the Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI). The Spartans are 1-1 all-time against Elon, but have not played since a 79-63 victory in Spartanburg on Dec. 8, 1992.
Upstate enters the game with a 17-12 overall record after its thrilling 75-74 victory over Florida Gulf Coast in the regular season finale on Feb. 28 in the Hodge Center. The Spartans finished tied for third in the A-Sun regular season standings with a 13-7 record. The Spartans also boast the A-Sun Player of the Year in Chelsea McMillan and second team all-conference pick, Tee'Ara Copney. Elon stands 19-12 overall after advancing to the semifinals of the Southern Conference Tournament before losing to Appalachian State, 72-48. The Phoenix boasts two all-conference picks, second team selections Ali Ford and Kelsey Evans.
Fans can follow the action live in a variety of ways. Free live audio will be available via www.upstatespartans.com, the official Upstate Athletics website. Free live statistical updates are available at www.elonphoenix.com, the official Elon Athletics website. Live video for a fee can also be accessed at www.elonphoenix.com.
Looking Back at Florida Gulf Coast
Upstate trailed by 17 points midway through the second half and by 10 with a little over three minutes to play, but rallied to claim a 75-74 victory over league champion Florida Gulf Coast in the regular season finale on Feb. 28 in the Hodge Center. Chelsea McMillan had a monster game and sank the game-winning three-pointer with four seconds to play to secure the win for the Spartans. She finished with the 40th double-double of her career, tallying 20 points and 14 rebounds. Upstate trailed by 17 with 12:01 to play in the game. The Spartans trailed by 10, with 3:05 remaining, but made a tremendous comeback. Upstate trimmed the lead to two with 20 seconds left and after a Lady Eagle missed free throw, McMillan made her game-winning three-pointer.
Elon enters Thursday night's game against Upstate in the first round of the WBI with a 19-12 record. The Phoenix advanced to the semifinals of the Southern Conference Tournament, losing to Appalachian State, 72-48.
Elon finished with a 12-8 record in the SoCon, finishing fourth in the regular season league standings. The Phoenicxused a seven-game league winning streak in early January to place itself into the upper half of the conference standings. However, they were just 5-6 in the final 11 conference games of the season before claiming a 69-62 win over Furman in the quarterfiinals of the SoCon Tournament.
Elon is a solid offensive team who also hits the boards hard. The Phoenix average 67.5 points per game and grab 41.1 rebounds per outing. Opponents average 64.2 points and 39.3 boards per game, with Elon holding positive advantages in both categories. The Phoenix shoot 42 percent from the field, 30 percent from the three-point arc and 65 percent from the free throw line. Opponents shoot 38 percent from the field and 31 percent from the arc.
Ali Ford, a sophomore from Morganton, N.C., is a second team all-conference selection and ranks second in the SoCon in scoring at 16.5 points per game. She leads the Phoenix with 89 assists on the season and is the main three-point threat, making 82 of Elon's 129 treys on the year. Also a second team all-conference pick, Kelsey Evans (So., Raleigh, N.C.) leads the SoCon with 9.2 rebounds per outing. She also averages 11.6 points per game and tops the Phoenix with 70 blocked shots on the year.
McMillan Named A-Sun Player of the Year
With a target put on her back as the A-Sun Preseason Player of the Year, senior post player Chelsea McMillan lived up to the billing and was named the A-Sun Player of the Year by the league's coaches. McMillan leads the A-Sun in scoring (18.0 ppg) and rebounding (11.7 rpg), while ranking among the league leaders in seven statistical categories overall. She was also the only unanimous first team all-conference selection.
Copney Earns A-Sun Praise
Averaging 14.9 points per game and ranking among the league leaders in six statistical categories, sophomore guard Tee'Ara Copney earned second team all-conference honors in the A-Sun. She was a preseason all-conference pick and lived up to the expectations.
An All-Conference First
With Chelsea McMillan and Tee'Ara Copney earning all-conference honors this year, 2010-11 marks the first time since the 1994-95 season that the women's basketball team has had more than one selection to any all-conference team.
Women's Basketball Earns School's First Ever National Postseason Bid
The women's basketball program has been one of the leaders in the university's transition to NCAA Division I as members of the Atlantic Sun Conference. One of the nation's most improved clubs in 2008-09 and 2009-10, the Spartans have finished third in the conference in each of the last two seasons. With the bid to the Women's Basketball Invitational, the team is the first at Upstate to earn a national postseason tournament bid.
George Becomes Winningest Coach in Program History
With an 81-76 victory at Lipscomb on Feb. 21, Upstate head coach Tammy George became the program's all-time leader in wins. She tied Peggy Sells (1992-95) with 80 wins on Feb. 19 after the Spartans' 63-53 victory at Belmont. The win at Lipscomb gave her 81 wins to put her atop the all-time list at Upstate. She now has 82 in her career following Upstate's thrilling 75-74 victory over Florida Gulf Coast.
McMillan Among Program's Best
The Division I era career leader in 16 statistical categories, senior Chelsea McMillan is also one of the top players to ever wear a Spartan uniform overall. She ranks seventh all-time in scoring with 1,288 points and fourth all-time with 875 rebounds. She also ranks second with 152 blocked shots and ranks in the top five in seven other statistical categories.
Copney Making a Name Among Program's Top Players
Nearing the end of her sophomore season, Tee'Ara Copney has already placed her name on several career lists at Upstate and has the potential to turn in one of the best careers of any player in a Spartan uniform. She has already cracked the top 20 in scoring, ranking 18th with 752 points. Her 13.2 scoring average is eighth all-time. She is one of seven players to reach 100 career three-pointers, ranking seventh with 101. She ranks 16th all-time with 172 assists and 14th with 133 steals.
McMillan Among Nation's Best
Chelsea McMillan not only ranks among the A-Sun leaders in several statistical categories, her name is also among the nation's leaders. She ranks sixth in the nation with 11.7 rebounds per game, ninth with 17 double-doubles, 34th with 18.0 points per outing and 39th with 2.0 blocked shots per game.
Spartans Secure Second-Straight Winning Season
After picking up a win at Belmont on Saturday, Upstate assured itself of a second-straight winning season. The Spartans won 20 games last year and have 17 this season entering Thursday night's game at Elon.
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 11-2 on the year in the Hodge Center, 9-1 at home against A-Sun opponents. On the road, the Spartans are just 6-10 on the year, 4-6 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 1,288 points and 875 rebounds in her three seasons at Upstate, she is just the fourth person to reach 1,200 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 85 total rebounds on the year with 51 coming on the offensive glass. That figure represents 60 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 1,288 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 11.7 rebounds per game and is one of two players in the conference to average a double-double with 18.0 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 700 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. With 21 points at Belmont (Feb. 19), she topped the 700 career point mark and now has 752 in her two seasons in the program.
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 40 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 18 double dips this season.