Upstate Women’s Basketball Heads North for Rumble at Radford
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate women's basketball team (0-3) travels to Virginia to rumble with Radford tomorrow at 3 p.m.
Radford was picked to finish third in the Big South preseason coaches/media poll as RU returns the 2010-11 Big South Coach of the Year in Tajama Ngongba.
Radford opened the 2011-12 season with back-to-back wins for the first time in program history since the 1985-86 campaign. The Highlanders beat Eastern Mennonite 100-42 Nov. 12 and Winston-Salem State 69-46 Nov. 16.
RU is led by Ashley Buckhannon, averaging 21.0 points per game and 2.5 rebounds per contest. She tallied a career-high 25 points against Winston-Salem State to go along with a career-best six steals Nov. 16. Da'Naria Erwin Spencer is second on the team with 16.5 points per game, while Tiana Cannon is averaging 12.0. Cannon is leading the Highlanders in rebounding with 9.0 boards per contest, while Victoria Hamilton has snagged 7.5 per game.
This is the third meeting between Radford and Upstate, each with a win at home in the prior two contests to knot the series up at 1-1.
Most recently, the Spartans beat the Highlanders 87-81 in Spartanburg at the Hodge Center Dec. 18, 2010. Tee'Ara Copney led Upstate in the contest with 22 points and recorded eight assists, four steals and four boards. RU was led by Erwin Spencer with 18 points and eight assists. Upstate outshot RU 45.6 percent to 37.0 percent. The Spartans boasted a 41.2 three-point percentage, while the Highlanders shot 31.8 from behind the arc. Radford shot 76.9 from the free throw line, compared to Upstate's 71.8 percent. The Spartans out-rebounded the Highlanders 43-40.
Radford's win against the Spartans came Jan. 3, 2008, when the Highlanders claimed a 76-34 decision in Radford, Va., at the Dedmon Center. Upstate shot 24.0 percent from the floor, while the Highlanders shot 38.3 percent from the floor. The Spartans were 11.1 percent from behind the arc, compared to RU's 31.8 percent from three-point range. Upstate was 64.3 percent from the charity stripe, while Radford was 59.0 percent from the line. The Highlanders won the battle of the boards, grabbing 49 rebounds compared to 29.
The 0-3 start marks the first time the Spartans have dropped their first three contests of the season since the 2001-02 campaign, when they started the year 0-7. That season Upstate opened the season with a 72-67 loss to North Greenville Nov. 16, 2001. In the season-opener last week, the Spartans dropped a 75-57 decision to the Crusaders at the Hodge Center Nov. 11. This is the first time under head coach Tammy George that the Spartans have posted a 0-3 record to start the season.
Wednesday night's (Nov. 16) 88-42 loss at Vanderbilt was 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.
Last Sunday's (Nov. 13) 91-34 loss at then-No. 20/19 North Carolina was 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.
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).
Upstate is led by Copney with 13.3 points per game and 3.0 rebounds per contest. Junior Hannah Ohl and sophomore Kim Roach are averaging 7.7 and 7.3 points per game, respectively. Junior Lauren McRoberts leads the squad with 5.0 boards per contest, while freshman Paulina Zaveckaite is averaging 4.7 boards.
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.