Upstate Women Look to Soar Past Owls in Hodge Double-Feature
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate women's basketball team (1-13, 0-3 A-Sun) hosts Atlantic Sun Conference foe Kennesaw State (6-9, 1-3 A-Sun) tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. in the second contest of a Hodge Center double-header with the Spartan men.
Kennesaw State enters Saturday's contest with a 6-9 record this season, including a 1-3 mark in A-Sun play. The Owls are 4-5 on the road this season.
KSU is on a two-game losing-streak after falling to Stetson 65-55 Jan. 2 and to Florida Gulf Coast 87-50 Jan. 4. In the loss to Stetson, the Owls were led by Kristina Wells with 13 points and Chelcey Farrar with 12 points. Against FGCU, KSU was led by Taylor Mills with 12 points and Lisa Capellan with 10 points.
The Owls are led by Mills, averaging 12.9 points per contest. Ashley Holliday and Sametria Gideon contribute 11.9 and 11.2 points per game, respectively. Gideon leads the Atlantic Sun in rebounding, snagging 7.7 boards per contest. Capellan is second on the team, averaging 7.1 rebounds a game. Mills tallies 58 assists and 42 steals on the season, while Holliday has 42 assists and 32 steals.
KSU owns a 17-7 overall advantage against the Spartans, including a 7-5 mark in Spartanburg, S.C. Upstate swept the Owls last season, beating them 75-67 at KSU Jan. 3, 2011 and 69-64 at the Hodge Center Jan. 31, 2011. In the teams' last meeting, Tee'Ara Copney (Asheville, N.C.) led the Spartans with 27 points, while Chelsea McMillian added a double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds. Angie Smith and Holliday led Kennesaw with 16 points and 12 rebounds, respectively. Gideon grabbed 12 boards for the Owls that night.
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 Copney 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) has turned in three consecutive double-doubles. 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. She tied her career-high 17 rebounds at ETSU Jan. 4, while putting up 11 points to record her third-straight double-double. This marked the fourth double-figure scoring effort this season for the Lithuanian center. Her first two double-doubles earned her 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.
Upstate is led by Copney with 15.4 points per game and 4.0 rebounds per contest. Junior Tyra Smith (Lawrenceville, Ga.) and freshman Briana Robinson (Columbia, S.C.) are averaging 7.0 and 6.3 points per contest, respectively. Zaveckaite leads the squad with 7.5 boards per contest, while junior Lauren McRoberts (Carmel, Ind.) is second on the team in rebounding, averaging 4.4 per game.