Spartans Unable to Overcome Slow Second Half Start against Presbyterian

Spartans Unable to Overcome Slow Second Half Start against Presbyterian

Clinton, S.C. – The USC Upstate women's basketball dropped their second Big South Conference game of the season, falling to Presbyterian College 70-54 on Saturday afternoon.

With the loss the Spartans fall to 5-9 overall and 1-2 in Big South Conference play. Meanwhile, Presbyterian improves to 4-11 and 2-2 in conference.


  • The Spartans are now 0-5 on the season when wearing black uniforms and drop to 0-2 in conference games played on Saturdays.
  • Riley Popplewell and Brianna Lewis each scored 15 points in the loss. Lewis also led the team with four assists in the contest.
  • Michaela Gibbons led the team in rebounds with nine boards and was the Spartans third leading scorer with eight points.
  • USC Upstate forced Presbyterian to commit 20 turnovers in the game.
  • The Spartans bench outscored the Blue Hose 26-17 and scored 15 points off of turnovers.
  • USC Upstate shot 34 percent from the field, 23 percent from three point range and 66 percent at the free throw line.
  • Presbyterian forward Salina Virola finished the game with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Bria Gibbs added 16 points and Kacie Hall contributed 15 points in the victory for the Blue Hose.
  • Presbyterian out rebounded USC Upstate 45-34 and outscored the Spartans 38-24 in the paint.
  • The Blue Hose shot 44 percent from the field, 21 percent from beyond the arch and 68 percent from the free throw line.  


  • Presbyterian scored the first bucket of the game at the 9:30 mark in the opening quarter.
  • Popplewell scored the Spartans first points of the contest with 8:10 to go in the first quarter. The basket ignited a 7-2 run by the Spartans over the next several minutes.  
  • The Spartans defense was stingy in the opening moments of the quarter forcing four Presbyterian turnovers.
  • Swain stole the ball with two minutes to go in the quarter and laid in the fast break layup to give the Spartans a 17-13 lead.
  • Presbyterian held for the last shot of the quarter and the Spartans forced the Blue Hose to throw the ball out of bounds.  
  • USC Upstate shot 50 percent from the field in the opening quarter and forced Presbyterian to turn the ball over five times.


  • Gibbons scored the opening basket for the Spartans in the second quarter. The short lead did not last however as Presbyterian answered quickly with a layup of their own.
  • Brianna Lewis put the shake and bake on a defender to break a tie with Presbyterian. On the very next possession Lewis split a pair of defenders and gave the Spartans a 23-19 advantage.
  • USC Upstate called a timeout with 4:56 to go in the half after Presbyterian tied the game at 23.
  • With 4:20 to go in the quarter Gibbons found Lewis sprinting down the middle of the lane for a wide open layup. The basket gave the Spartans a 25-23 advantage.
  •  Presbyterian once again held possession of the ball for the final shot of the half. The Spartans stopped the initial drive to the basket, but the Blue Hose grabbed the offensive rebound and laid the ball in with four seconds to go in the half.
  • The Spartans trailed 33-31 going into the halftime break.
  • USC Upstate shot 40 percent from the field in the first half and 26 percent from beyond the arch.
  • The Spartans bench outscored the Blue Hose 14-6 in the opening half.
  • Gibbons and Lewis each had eight points in the first 20 minutes of action.


  • USC Upstate was forced to call an early timeout after a 4-0 run by Presbyterian to start out the third quarter. The quick run gave the Blue Hose a 37-31 lead.
  • The Spartans first points of the second half came from a pair of free throws from Popplewell at the 6:10 mark of the third quarter.
  • Moments later DeNisha Swain knocked down a corner three for the Spartans first field goal of the quarter.
  • At the first media timeout of the third quarter, USC Upstate battled back to make the score 41-38. The Spartans started the third quarter shooting just 28 percent from the field.
  • Out of the media timeout the Spartans defense forced an early turnover but the USC Upstate offense was unable to buy a basket as the ball rattled around the rim on multiple occasions.
  • With 2:09 to go in the quarter Popplewell hit a three pointer from the top of the arch pulling the Spartans within a pair of points at 45-43.
  • The Spartans went into the fourth quarter down 53-45.  


  • Lewis raced down the court and scored the Spartans first basket of the quarter with 8:12 remaining in the game. Presbyterian immediately called timeout to slow any momentum the Spartans might have had.
  • USC Upstate called a timeout with 5:17 to go in the quarter down 61-49.
  • Presbyterian went on a 7-0 run before Popplewell laid the ball in the 59 seconds to go in the game.
  • Lewis scored the final bucket of the game with 25 seconds to go in the contest.
  • The Spartans made just 8 shots in the final two quarters of play and shot just 28 percent in the final quarter.


  • The Spartans return home on Tuesday, January 15 to face UNC Asheville at 6:00 p.m.

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