– Brittany Clency scored a season-high 18 points as USC Upstate won its third straight game Sunday afternoon after defeating the IPFW Mastodons 85-73 inside the Hodge Center.
The Spartans improve to 3-2 on the season while IPFW drops to 2-2.
Clency added five rebounds and five assists to her effort, while shooting 6-of-13 from the field and 5-for-6 at the charity stripe. She was one of four Upstate players to score in double-figures along with Sharmayne Edwards (14), Maddie Herr (11) and Brittany Starling (10). Shelby Hicks led the Spartans with eight rebounds and Starling chipped in with six.
Haley Seibert poured in a game-high 23 points for the Mastodons as she went a perfect 9-for-9 at the free-throw line. Keanna Gary also had 11 points and Rachel Rinehart pulled down nine rebounds to lead all players.
Upstate began the game on an 8-2 run highlighted by registering the first six points as a layup from Edwards gave it a six-point lead with 15:48 left. After a jumper by Brett Green made it 10-6, the Spartans held IPFW to just one field-goal over the next 9:06 as they increased their lead to 25-14 at the 6:07 mark on a basket by Raven Jefferson. During that stretch, the Mastodons connected on eight straight free-throws as two by Rinehart cut the Upstate lead to 20-14. Jefferson answered with five straight points.
Reibert got IPFW to within one three minutes later after scoring eight of the next 10 points topped off by her three with 3:23 remaining to put the score at 27-26. Gary gave the Mastodons their first lead of the game with just under two minutes left before halftime, only to see Alex Stanford collect six consecutive points for the Spartans to put them back in front 34-30. Green’s layup with six seconds left cut IPFW’s deficit to 35-34 heading into the locker room.
Upstate outscored the Mastodons 10-2 over the first three minutes of the second half which saw Herr push the lead out to 45-36 with a layup. IPFW managed to get within four twice during the next six minutes before Kamilah Carter made it a one-point game, 55-54, with 9:24 following two free-throws.
The Spartans responded with a 13-3 run covering a period of nearly four minutes to break the game open when a three by Jefferson provided Upstate a 70-59 advantage at the 4:53 mark. The Mastodons were only able to get as close as six, 79-73, after a basket by Green. Edwards, Clency and Starling finished out the game for the Spartans by scoring the final six points, with Starling’s layup giving Upstate its largest lead of the game at 85-73 with nine seconds left in the contest.
As a team, the Spartans were 29-of-71 (40.8%) shooting and forced IPFW into 21 turnovers, leading to 22 points. It is the third straight game an Upstate opponent has committed 20 or more turnovers. The Spartans were also 23-of-33 (69.7%) at the free-throw line.
The Mastodons were successful on their first 19 free-throw attempts and finished the game 28-of-32 for an 87.5% mark. IPFW shot 20-for-58 (34.5%) from the field.
Upstate heads to Orangeburg, S.C. Tuesday evening to face South Carolina State at 6 p.m.