Spartans Grind Past Lipscomb, Clinch Berth in A-Sun Tournament
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Despite shooting just 31.6% (18-57) from the floor and 18.8% (3-16) from beyond the arc, the USC Upstate women's basketball team defeated Lipscomb, 50-44, Saturday afternoon inside Allen Arena. With the victory, the Spartans secured a spot in the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament, which begins Feb. 29 in Macon, Ga.
Upstate (8-19, 7-9) opened the contest on a 6-0 run over the first 2:48 of the contest. Lauren McRoberts (Carmel, Ind.) scored four of the points during the Spartan spurt.
Lipscomb (5-22, 3-13) missed its first six shots before finally getting on the board at the 16:59 mark of the first half. Brittany Duerk's jumper cut the Upstate lead to four, 6-2. Duerk's bucket sparked a 7-0 run for the Lady Bison as the home team took a 7-6 lead with 14:50 to play in the opening period.
The Spartans were able to regain the lead thanks to a three-pointer by Hannah Ohl (Danville, Ill.) less than 20 seconds later. Tee'Ara Copney (Asheville, N.C.) recorded a steal and raced the other way for an easy fast break lay-up, putting Upstate ahead 11-7, with 14:07 to play.
The Bison tied the contest four times during the final 14 minutes of the first half, but were unable to regain the lead. After Lipscomb tied the contest at 18 with 5:53 to play, the Spartans closed the half on a 5-1 run to take a 23-19 lead into the locker room at the half.
McRoberts led the Spartans with 10 points in the first 20 minutes, while Morgan Faulkner and O'Neisha Smith led the Bison with four each.
Thanks to a jumper and free throw by McRoberts, the Spartans pushed their lead to five (26-21) with 19:07 to play.
Lipscomb trimmed the Spartan lead to just two points (28-26) with 16:29 left in the contest.
The Lady Bison suffered a four-plus minute drought, one that allowed the Spartans to push the lead to seven thanks to five straight points from Copney.
Upstate was able to extend the lead to nine, 37-28, with 9:54 to play. However, the Spartans fell victim to a four-plus minute scoring drought as Lipscomb used a 7-0 run to climb within two points (37-35) with 7:11 remaining.
The Spartans were able to survive the drought and they pushed their lead to as many as 10 in the final minute before claiming the six-point win.
Copney led the Spartans with 16 points, while McRoberts recorded a double-double consisting of 15 points and 15 rebounds. Copney also dished out four assists.
Morgan Faulkner led the Lady Bison with 11 points.
Lipscomb finished the game 16-for-68 from the floor (23.5%) and 4-of-25 from beyond the arc (16.0%). The Spartans finished the contest 73.3% from the line (11-15) compared to 44.4% for Lipscomb (8-18).
The Spartans will return to the Hodge Center Thursday evening for a 5 p.m. contest against Florida Gulf Coast.