Upstate Women’s Basketball Looks to Take Flight Against Ospreys
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate women's basketball team (6-17, 5-7 A-Sun) takes on Atlantic Sun Conference foe North Florida (9-15, 6-7 A-Sun) tomorrow at 7 p.m. in the Hodge Center for Upstate's WBCA Pink Zone contest.
North Florida enters Thursday's contest with a 9-15 record this season, including a 6-7 mark in A-Sun play. The Ospreys are 2-11 on the road this season.
In the Ospreys' last outing, they edged Stetson 59-56 at UNF Feb. 4. North Florida was led by Larkira Jones with 14 points and eight rebounds. Octavia Langston and Brittany Kirkland added nine and eight points, respectively. Kirkland handed out a team-high eight assists for UNF.
On the season, North Florida is led by Krikland, averaging 12.2 points per game. Jadhken Kerr is second on the squad with 7.7 points a game, while Fabiola Josil averages 7.0 points a contest. Jones leads the Ospreys in rebounds, snagging 7.0 boards a game. Josil is second on the team with 5.1 rebounds per game.
Earlier this season, Upstate defeated UNF 58-57 in Jacksonville, Fla., off of a buzzer-beater jumper from freshman Briana Robinson (Columbia, Fla.). She led the Spartans with a career-high 20 points and career-best six rebounds. Sophomore Erin Pinkett (Cambridge, Md.) helped with nine points, while freshman Shelby Hicks (Greeneville, Tenn.) had eight points and six boards. Upstate juniors Tyra Smith (Lawrenceville, Ga.) and Tee'Ara Copney (Asheville, N.C.) each dished out five assists.
In the teams' last meeting, the Ospreys' were led by a trio of double-digit scorers. Taylor Smith paced the squad with 12 points, while Josil and Kirkland both tallied 10 points apiece. Josil pulled down a team-high six rebounds, while Jones and Kerr had five each. Kirkland registered five assists for UNF.
North Florida owns a 12-7 overall record against the Spartans. However, Upstate leads the series in Spartanburg, S.C., with a 4-3 mark. The Spartans haven't lost to the Ospreys since Jan. 15, 2011, when they dropped a 91-73 decision in Jacksonville, Fla. Last season, Upstate beat UNF in Spartanburg, S.C., 78-65 Feb. 14, 2011.
The Spartans have been strong from the free throw line all season, shooting 78.1 percent. Upstate ranks ninth in the nation in free throw percentage and leads the conference. Copney leads the squad at the line, shooting 88.5 percent (77-for-87). She leads the A-Sun in the category and is 12th in the NCAA statistical rankings. Junior Lauren 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 16.0 points per game and 4.4 rebounds per contest. Robinson and Smith are averaging 7.2 and 6.6 points per contest, respectively. Freshman Paulina Zaveckaite (Telsiai, Lithuania) leads the squad with 7.0 boards per contest, while McRoberts is second on the team in rebounds, averaging 5.5 per game.
Paint the Hodge Pink:
The Pink Zone event is intended to promote breast cancer awareness and raise donations for the local Gibbs Cancer Center. Upstate's Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) organized several activities for the event, including a bake sale with proceeds benefitting Gibbs and a halftime contest with various gift cards up for grabs.
There will be a donation station set-up in the lobby in addition to donation buckets that will circulate inside the arena. Fans also have a chance to win an iPad2 as one lucky person will take home the brand new tablet.
Upstate has partnered with the Gibbs Cancer Center at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center as the recipient of all of the athletic department's cancer awareness fundraising efforts. The Spartans encourage fans to paint the Hodge Center pink tomorrow night by dressing in pink to show support for the WBCA Pink Zone breast cancer awareness event.