Upstate Opens A-Sun Play at Home Against Northern Kentucky, Lipscomb

Northern Kentucky Game Notes

Spartanburg, S.C. – After spending the last five games on the road, the USC Upstate women's basketball team returns to the Hodge Center to open Atlantic Sun play this week against Northern Kentucky and Lipscomb.

The Spartans begin conference play Thursday, Jan. 2 at 7 p.m. with Northern Kentucky before hosting Lipscomb at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 4.

Upstate heads into the conference opener with a 5-6 overall record, while Northern Kentucky is 4-7 overall and Lipscomb boasts a 3-8 record on the season. The Bisons open league play at East Tennessee State Thursday night.

The Spartans completed their five-game road swing on Dec. 21 with a 65-55 victory at Furman. Upstate was down by as many as seven points in the second half against Furman, but rallied back for the 10-point win behind career-high afternoons by Alex Stanford and Brittany Clency. Stanford led all scorers with 19 points off the bench on 8-of-13 shooting, and also tied her career-high of six rebounds in 22 minutes of action. Clency added 17 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals. Raven Jefferson also contributed 10 points, six rebounds, two blocks, one assist and one steal for the Spartans.

Brittany Starling currently leads Upstate offensively with 11.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. She is one of two Spartans averaging over 10 points per game this season as Sharmayne Edwards is pouring in 10.0 per contest. Starling ranks in the top 10 for the Atlantic Sun in several categories including rebounding (8th), field-goal percentage (t-8th), and offensive (10th) and defensive (9th) rebounds. Stanford is tied with Starling in field-goal percentage while Shelby Hicks is fifth in blocked shots per game.

Northern Kentucky is led by second-year head coach Dawn Plitzuweit. Melody Doss leads NKU's offense as she is averaging 18.1 points per game to rank second in the conference. Kayla Thacker adds 12.3 points per contest.

Lipscomb is under the direction of second-year head coach Greg Brown. The Bisons currently have five players averaging in double-figures this season led by Alex Banks' 18.0 points per game. She is joined by Danay Fothergill (16.2), Ashley Southern (15.4), Chandler Cooper (13.9) and Sara Bliss (11.8).

Northern Kentucky leads the all-time series over Upstate 2-0. The series began last season as NKU was victorious 81-61 in Spartanburg on Feb. 2, 2013. The Spartans and Lipscomb will be meeting for the 13th time on Saturday with Upstate holding a 9-3 lead in the series. The Spartans defeated Lipscomb 78-62 at the Hodge Center on Feb. 4, 2013.

Upstate hits the road for two games next week as it travels to Stetson (Jan. 9) and Florida Gulf Coast (Jan. 11).

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