Spartan Women’s Hoops Seeks First A-Sun Win at ETSU
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate women's basketball team (1-12, 0-2 A-Sun) heads to Johnson City, Tenn., taking on Atlantic Sun Conference foe ETSU (1-11, 0-2 A-Sun) tomorrow at 4:45 p.m. as both teams look for first conference win.
ETSU enters Wednesday's contest with a 1-11 record this season, including a 0-2 mark in A-Sun play. The Buccaneers are 1-3 at home this season. ETSU picked up its one win of the season against Morehead State Dec. 20 with a 68-57 decision.
The Bucs are led by Destiny Mitchell, averaging 10.0 points per contest. Tarita Gordon and Natalie Pickwell contribute 9.6 and 8.8 points per game, respectively. Tosha Austin leads the squad in rebounding, snagging 7.3 boards per contest. Mitchell is second on the team, averaging 7.2 rebounds a game. Gordon and Mitchell each tally 20 assists on the season and 14 steals.
In their last outing, the Bucs lost to in-state rival Chattanooga 88-80 Dec. 22. ETSU was led by a trio of double-digit scorers with Gwen Washington leading the charge with 18 points. Mitchell and Maria Bond helped the Buccaneer cause with 14 and 12 points, respectively. Austin posted a team-high nine rebounds on the night, while Mitchell grabbed eight boards.
ETSU owns a 6-2 overall advantage against the Spartans, including a 4-0 mark in Johnson City, Tenn. Upstate won the first of two meetings against the Bucs last season, claiming a 78-70 victory Dec. 4, 2010 in Spartanburg, S.C. In the most recent meeting, ETSU picked up a 64-42 decision in Johnson City Jan. 26, 2011.
The Spartans wrapped-up non-conference action Jan. 2, hosting Western Carolina. Upstate's non-conference slate this season included a pair of contests against Southeastern Conference opponents in Vanderbilt and Auburn and another set of games against ranked Atlantic Coast Conference teams in then-No. 20/19 North Carolina and then-No. 6/5 Duke.
The Spartans started a four-game road swing Sunday, Dec. 11 at Duke and closed out the road tour at Coastal Carolina Thursday, Dec. 29. The four-game span marked the longest away stint for Upstate this season. Earlier this year, the team had three-straight road games, where the Spartans dropped decisions to then-No. 20/19 North Carolina (Nov. 13), Vanderbilt (Nov. 16) and Radford (Nov. 19). Upstate set out again for a two game stint, traveling to Auburn (Nov. 27) and UNC Asheville (Nov. 30). The Spartans picked-up their only win of the season on the road at Asheville with a 73-66 victory.
The win at UNC Asheville earlier this season snapped a six-game skid for Upstate as junior Tee'Ara Copney (Asheville, N.C.) posted a career-high 34 points. The win was the first of the season for the squad. The Spartans are currently battling a six-game losing-streak.
Freshman Paulina Zaveckaite (Telsiai, Lithuania) turned in back-to-back double-doubles, earning her the Atlantic Sun Conference Newcomer of the Week honors Jan. 3. In two games, the freshman averaged a double-double with 14.5 points per game and 15.0 rebounds per contest. She recorded the first double-double and first double-figure rebounding effort for Upstate this season with a career-high 17 boards and a career-high 15 points at Coastal Carolina Dec. 29. Zaveckaite once again led the Spartans in both columns against Western Carolina Jan. 2, tallying 14 points and 13 rebounds. This marked the third double-figure scoring effort this season for the Lithuanian center.
Upstate is led by Copney with 15.0 points per game and 3.9 rebounds per contest. Junior Tyra Smith (Lawrenceville, Ga.) and freshman Briana Robinson (Columbia, S.C.) are averaging 7.3 and 6.3 points per contest, respectively. Freshman Zaveckaite leads the squad with 6.6 boards per contest, while junior Lauren McRoberts (Carmel, Ind.) is second on the team in rebounding, averaging 4.7 per game.