Spartans Struggle at No. 9/8 Kentucky
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Contact: Katie Parker, email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The USC Upstate women's basketball team (2-5) dropped its second-straight contest, falling to No. 9/8 Kentucky (4-1) Sunday 100-34 inside Memorial Coliseum.
The Spartans struggled from start to finish as the Wildcat pressure defense kept Upstate off balance. UK took a 52-15 advantage into the locker room at the half. In the first frame, Kentucky scored 26 points off of 21 Upstate turnovers.
The second period wasn't much better for the Spartans as UK opened the half with a 17-2 run. Turnovers continued to plague Upstate in the second stanza as the Kentucky defense forced 17 turnovers, giving the Spartans 38 overall on the day. The Wildcats outscored Upstate 48-19 in the second half, claiming the 100-34 win. This marked the first time the Spartans have allowed 100 points since dropping a 103-72 decision at Elon March 17, 2010.
On the day, the Spartans were led by junior Valese McAllister (Twin City, Ga.) with a season-high nine points, all coming in the second half. Senior Lauren McRoberts (Carmel, Ind.) was second on the team, posting eight points in the opening half off of two three-pointers and a pair of free throws.
Redshirt freshman Maddie Herr (Arcadia, Ind.) helped Upstate with six points off of two threes in the second half, while senior Tyra Smith (Lawrenceville, Ga.) added four points. Smith paced the Spartans in rebounding, pulling down six boards. Freshman Brittany Starling (Sumter, Ga.) and junior KeArrow Jenkins (Lakeland, Ga.) each grabbed four rebounds for Upstate.
Kentucky had four players reach double-figures in scoring as A'dia Mathies led the way with 17 points. Samarie Walker recorded 13 points for the Wildcats, while DeNesha Stallworth and Janee Thompson posted 11 and 10, respectively. Walker swatted a game-high three blocked shots to go along with four steals and two assists. Jennifer O'Neill handed out a game-best five assists, while scoring eight points.
Bria Goss and Azia Bishop snagged a team-high six rebounds for UK, while Mathies pulled down four. Maegan Conwright helped the Kentucky defensive effort swiping three steals. The Wildcats recorded 21 steals compared to Upstate's four.
UK won the battle of the boards, outrebounding the Spartans 42-33. Upstate shot 26.2 percent from the floor and 38.5 percent from behind the arc, while Kentucky was 50.0 percent from the floor and 40.0 from three-point range. The Spartans were better at the line, posting a 77.8 free throw percentage compared to the Wildcats' 58.3 percent from the line. However, Upstate didn't make as many trips to the line as UK did, connecting on 7-of-9 from the charity stripe compared to Kentucky's 14-of-24.
The Spartans hit the road again Tuesday, traveling to Western Carolina for Upstate's eighth game in 17 days. Tip-off in Cullowhee, N.C., is slated for 7 p.m. Follow Upstate women's basketball this season on your mobile device, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.