SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate women's basketball team (0-2) is set to face Vanderbilt (2-0) tomorrow in Music City for a 7 p.m. (CT) tip-off.
After going 20-12 last season with a 10-6 mark in Southeastern Conference play, Vanderbilt starts the 2011-12 campaign receiving votes in both the Preseason AP Top 25 Poll and the Preseason ESPN/USA Today Poll.
The Commodores finished third last year in the SEC and earned a berth to the NCAA Tournament. Vandy dropped an 81-62 decision to BIG EAST Conference foe Louisville in the first round.
Vanderbilt returns seven players from the 2010-11 squad, including three starters, while welcoming four newcomers. Vandy returns its leading scorer from last year in Jasmine Lister, who averaged 11.8 points per game. Stephanie Holzer (11.1 ppg) is back for the Commodores as well as is Tiffany Clarke (7.6 ppg). Holzer led the team in rebounding last season, averaging 6.0 snags per game, while Clarke was second on the team with 5.4 boards per contest.
In their first two games this season, Lister contributes to top the scoring efforts for the Commodores. She averages 18.5 point per game. Christin Foggie is averaging 13.5 points per contest, while Clarke has 12.0 per outing.
This is the first meeting between Upstate and Vandy. The Commodores opened the season with an 86-55 win over Alabama A&M Nov. 11 and a 95-51 victory against Western Illinois Nov. 14.
This marks the first 0-2 start for Upstate since the 2007-08 campaign. The Spartans fell to Kentucky 74-59 Nov. 10, 2007 and lost to Wake Forest 58-51 Nov. 13, 2007.
Tomorrow night's contest against Vanderbilt is the first of two Southeastern Conference foes for the Spartans this season. Upstate travels to Auburn Nov. 27 for a 2 p.m. (CT) game.
The last time Upstate faced a SEC team, the Spartans fell 87-53 at Mississippi State in the season-opener Nov. 12, 2010.
Last Sunday's (Nov. 13) game against No. 20/19 North Carolina is the first of two Atlantic Coast Conference opponents on the docket for Upstate this season. The Spartans will make the trip from Spartanburg to Durham, N.C., for a 2 p.m. tip-off at No. 8/8 Duke Dec. 11.
In 2010-11, Upstate earned a postseason berth into the Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI), which marked the university's first Division I postseason appearance. The Spartans dropped a 103-72 decision in the WBI to Elon. This season, the Spartans are eligible for the Atlantic Sun Basketball Championship as well as an NCAA Tournament berth.
The Spartans return six players from last season's squad and welcome eight newcomers. Upstate welcomes five freshmen to the team (Hikeya' Davis, Maddie Herr, Shelby Hicks, Briana Robinson and Paulina Zaveckaite) and a trio of junior college transfers (Hannah Ohl, Erin Pinkett and Tyra Smith).
The Spartans were picked to finish seventh in the A-Sun Preseason Coaches' Poll and fifth in the A-Sun Preseason Media Poll. Copney was a unanimous Preseason All-Conference Team pick, after averaging 15.1 points per game last season. She also averaged 4.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.4 steals per contest.