Orangeburg, S.C. – Kourtney Williams scored a game-high 18 points for South Carolina State Tuesday evening as the Lady Bulldogs defeated USC Upstate 60-50 in non-conference action from Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center.
Upstate evens its record at 3-3 with the loss while the Lady Bulldogs improve to 3-0.
Williams finished 6-for-6 at the free-throw line and was 6-of-15 overall as she added three rebounds and three blocks. Amber Howard contributed 14 points and six rebounds highlighted by a 3-for-5 performance behind the three-point line. Jasmine Coleman grabbed seven rebounds to lead the team.
Raven Jefferson had a team-high 11 points for the Spartans after shooting 5-of-7 overall. Brittany Clency and Maddie Herr compiled eight points each, and Brittany Starling pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds. Starling also had seven points along with Shelby Hicks.
Despite both teams connecting on 11 field-goals in the first half, South Carolina State benefited from three three-pointers and a 7-of-7 mark at the charity stripe, while Upstate made just 1-of-9 three’s and none its four free-throws.
The Lady Bulldogs took an early 5-2 lead when two free-throws from Williams with 18:14 left gave SCSU a three-point lead. The Spartans followed with six straight points, including four from Hicks, to put Upstate in front 8-5. A three by Jefferson two possessions later pushed the Upstate lead to four at 11-7.
The Spartans would miss on five of their next six field-goal attempts as South Carolina State used a 12-2 run, covering 5:04, to take a 21-15 lead at the 5:38 mark. The Lady Bulldogs led by as many as nine the rest of the half with the last coming on two free-throws by Toni Grier with 1:17 remaining to send SCSU into halftime ahead 32-23.
South Carolina State opened the second half with Williams and Jazzmine Johnson picking up the first four points to stretch its lead to 36-23. The Lady Bulldogs led by that margin until a free-throw from Mallory Stone made it a 43-29 game with 13:01 remaining. After a three by Hicks cut Upstate’s deficit to 45-34, South Carolina State went on a quick 6-0 run over nearly a two-minute span to take its largest lead of the game, 51-34, at the 6:40 mark on back-to-back free-throws by Johnson.
The Spartans answered with a 10-4 run of its own during a 2:05 stretch to get back to within an 11-point margin, 55-44, capped by Herr’s triple with just over three minutes left in the game. Upstate received several late free-throws from Herr and Kristen Dickerson to end the game with a score of 60-50.
The Spartans finished the game shooting 33.3% (18-of-54) and was 11-for-19 (57.9%) at the free-throw line. The Lady Bulldogs were successful on 17 of their 18 free-throw attempts for a 94.4% clip, and was 20-of-48 (41.7%) as a team.
Upstate has the next four days off before hosting Brevard College Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. inside the Hodge Center.