Greenville, S.C. – The USC Upstate Spartans received career-high afternoons from Alex Stanford and Brittany Clency on Saturday as it rallied in the second half for a 65-55 victory over the Furman Paladins at Timmons Arena.
The Spartans improve to 5-6 on the season while the Paladins even their record at 6-6.
Stanford and Clency combined to go 14-for-26 from the field for 36 points. Stanford led all scorers with 19 points and Clency added 17 and three assists. Raven Jefferson chipped in with 10 points, six rebounds, two blocks, one assist and one steal. Brittany Starling pulled down a team-high eight rebounds to go with seven points.
Maddie Herr produced Upstate's first points 19 seconds into the contest as her free-throw put the Spartans ahead 1-0. Furman answered to take a 5-4 lead on a three-pointer by Allison Beasley, and then became 7-4 after two free-throws from Brittany Hodges. Clency responded the following possession with a three to tie the game at 7-7.
The Paladins took their largest lead of the half, 17-12, with 9:45 left after a layup by Holli Wilkins. Upstate then proceeded to go on a 14-2 run over the next 3:53 capped off by Clency's three-pointer to put the Spartans in front 26-19.
Furman cut its deficit to three, 29-26, with less than two minutes left before halftime after posting a 7-3 run. Sharmayne Edwards gave Upstate a 31-26 lead heading into the locker room on her layup with three seconds left.
The Paladins came out quickly to start the second half and recorded four straight points from Beasley and Brigid Morrissey to put them down 31-30. Hodges gave Furman a 34-33 lead with her layup at the 17:27 mark. Starling and Lauren Bogle put the Spartans back ahead 37-34, but the Paladins later took a 40-37 lead on a layup by Hodges.
Furman held its largest lead of the game, 46-39, at the 11:42 mark on a basket from Whitney Bunn. The Paladins maintained the seven-point advantage until back-to-back field goals by Stanford and Clency put Upstate to within three at 48-45.
Stanford took over after that as she scored eight of the next 10 points for the Spartans to give them a 55-52 lead with just over five minutes left in the game. Clency stretched the Upstate lead to five, 58-53, with 3:08 remaining, and then put the game away for good two minutes later. Her three-point play gave the Spartans a 61-54 advantage with 57 seconds left, and Upstate would finish the game at the free-throw line to earn the 65-55 come-from-behind victory.
The Spartans went 25-of-64 (39.1%) from the field and limited the Paladins to just one three-pointer on the afternoon. Furman converted on 1-of-13 three-point attempts and went 20-for-55 (36.4%) overall.
Upstate led in points in the paint (28-26), points off turnovers (17-10), fast break points (8-0) and bench points (30-8).
Sarah Durdaller had a team-high 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Paladins, while Hodges added 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The Spartans open Atlantic Sun play Thursday, Jan. 2 when they host Northern Kentucky at 7 p.m.
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