Upstate Women’s Hoops Seeks A-Sun Tourney Berth in Music City
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate women's basketball team (7-18, 6-8 A-Sun) heads to Nashville, Tenn., for a two-game Atlantic Sun Conference road swing. First up for Upstate is Belmont (9-16, 8-6 A-Sun) Thursday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. EST.
With an Upstate and ETSU win in Music City Thursday, the entire A-Sun Championship field will be clinched. ETSU battles Lipscomb at 7:30 p.m. ETSU.
Belmont enters Thursday's contest with a 9-16 record this season, including an 8-6 mark in A-Sun play. The Bruins are 6-5 at home this season.
In the Bruins' last outing, they dropped a 54-34 decision at Florida Gulf Coast Feb. 11. Belmont was led by Katie Brooks with nine points, while Katie Carroll and Cacy Burtnett posted a team-high four rebounds each. Belmont fell to Stetson 68-46 Feb. 9 in DeLand, Fla. The Bruins were led by Molly Ernst with 15 points, while Haley Nelson grabbed a game-high 10 boards.
On the season, Belmont is led by Nelson, averaging 14.1 points per game and 8.6 rebounds per contest. Ernst is second on the squad with 8.0 points an outing, while Alyssa Visbeen pulls down 3.4 boards a game. Brooks contributes 7.5 points a game, while Visbeen adds 6.5.
Earlier this season, Upstate defeated Belmont 61-51 inside the Hodge Center Jan. 21. The Spartans were led by four players scoring double-figures as junior Tee'Ara Copney (Asheville, N.C.) led the way with 15 points. Her classmate Lauren McRoberts (Carmel, Ind.) posted her second double-double of the season, putting up 11 points and snagging 10 rebounds. Junior Hannah Ohl (Danville, Ill.) and freshman Shelby Hicks (Greeneville, Tenn.) tallied 11 and 10 points, respectively for the Spartans.
In the teams' last meeting, the Bruins were led by Nelson with a double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds, while Brooks recorded 14 points. Nelson also registered a game-high three blocked shots. Brooks dished out a game-high four assists, while Adrienne Tarrence had three helpers.
Upstate owns a 5-4 overall advantage against Belmont, including a 2-2 mark in Nashville, Tenn. The Spartans have won the last five meetings against the Bruins. Upstate hasn't lost to Belmont since dropping a 67-61 decision in Music City Feb. 13, 2009.
The Spartans have been strong from the free throw line all season, shooting 77.5 percent. Upstate ranks ninth in the nation in free throw percentage and leads the conference. Copney leads the squad at the line, shooting 87.8 percent (79-for-90). She is second in the A-Sun in the category and is 14th in the NCAA statistical rankings. McRoberts 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 15.5 points per game and 4.5 rebounds per contest. Freshman Briana Robinson (Columbia, S.C.) and Tyra Smith (Lawrenceville, Ga.) average 7.3 and 7.2 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.