Upstate Women’s Basketball Set for Battle with Bears
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate women's basketball team (6-16, 5-6 A-Sun) wraps up its Peach State tour tomorrow with a 2 p.m. Atlantic Sun Conference contest at Mercer (3-20, 1-11 A-Sun).
Mercer enters Saturday's contest with a 3-20 record this season, including a 1-11 mark in A-Sun play. The Bears are 1-11 at home this season.
In the Bears' last outing, they dropped a 75-59 decision against ETSU Feb. 2. Briana Williams led Mercer with 16 points, while Precious Bridges tallied 11 points and Alicia Williams added 10 points. Alicia Williams posted a team-high eight rebounds.
On the season, Mercer is led by Briana Williams, averaging 14.7 points per game. Ry'van Buchanan is second on the squad with 10.3 points a game, while Bridges averages 8.6 points a contest. Alex Phillips leads the Bears in rebounds, snagging 6.7 boards a game. Sharmesia Smith is second on the team with 5.9 rebounds per game.
Earlier this season, Upstate defeated Mercer 77-56 in the Hodge Center Jan. 9. For the first time this season, the Spartans had five players scoring double-figures against the Bears. Junior Tee'Ara Copney (Asheville, N.C.) led Upstate with 18 points, while freshmen Briana Robinson (Columbia, S.C.) and Shelby Hicks (Greeneville, Tenn.) tallied 13 and 12 points, respectively. Juniors Tyra Smith (Lawrenceville, Ga.) and Lauren McRoberts (Carmel, Ind.) posted 10 points. McRoberts registered her first double-double the season with her 10 points and a game-high11 rebounds.
In the teams' last meeting, the Owls were led by a trio of double-digit scorers. Buchanan paced the squad with 16 points, while Jasmine Blakemore and Briana Williams both posted 12 points. Buchanan and Phillips pulled down a team-high five boards each.
The overall series between Mercer and Upstate is tied at 5-5, including a 2-2 mark in Macon, Ga. The Spartans haven't lost to the Bears since Jan. 14, 2010, when they dropped a 57-53 decision in Spartanburg, S.C.
The Spartans have been strong from the free throw line all season, shooting 78.1 percent. Upstate ranks eighth in the nation in free throw percentage and leads the conference. Copney leads the squad at the line, shooting 87.7 percent (64-for-73). She is second in the A-Sun in the category and is 16th in the NCAA statistical rankings. McRoberts (Carmel, Ind.) technically has the best overall percentage, but hasn't had enough trips to the line to rank in the league or NCAA statistics. She boasts an 88.6 percent at the charity stripe, going 31-for-35 on the season.
On the season, Upstate is led by Copney with 15.4 points per game and 4.4 rebounds per contest. Robinson and Smith are averaging 7.3 and 7.0 points per contest, respectively. Freshman Paulina Zaveckaite (Telsiai, Lithuania) leads the squad with 6.8 boards per contest, while McRoberts is second on the team in rebounds, averaging 5.7 per game.