Sharmayne Edwards led five USC Upstate players in double-figures Tuesday night as the Spartans defeated the Converse College Valkyries 78-50 in their home opener.
The Spartans improve to 1-2 on the season while the Valkyries fall to 1-1.
Edwards was 6-of-12 from the floor as she finished with 14 points and a career-high seven assists, and Alex Stanford recorded her first career double-double on 10 points and 10 rebounds. Kristen Dickerson chipped in 11 points for her first double-digit scoring game at Upstate. Brittany Starling and Maddie Herr each had 10 points as Starling also pulled down eight rebounds. Travonda Haddock set a new career-high in rebounds as she collected a game-high 12 to go with four blocks, four steals and three assists.
Margo Dill led Converse with 12 points and eight rebounds, and Logan Hollis contributed 11 points.
Raven Jefferson and Brittany Clency put Upstate ahead 4-0 early in the first half before the Valkryies scored the next five points when Ashley Salgado’s jumper gave Converse a 5-4 lead just under three minutes into the game. Starling’s free-throw tied the game on the ensuing possession, but Dill answered with a layup to give the Valkyries the lead back.
After a field-goal by Kelcee Dozier cut the Spartan lead to 13-11, Upstate held Converse scoreless for the next 6:02 as it increased its cushion to 24-11 capped by two free-throws from Haddock. The Valkyries scored just three field-goals the rest of the first half while the Spartans went ahead by as many as 21 on Stanford’s layup with seven seconds left. A last second three-pointer by Salgado sent the teams into halftime with Upstate holding a 39-21 lead.
The Spartans limited Converse to just 8-of-28 shooting in the first half as they forced the Valkyries into 15 turnovers and converting them into 14 points.
Upstate’s defense stayed to form to start the second half, holding Converse to three baskets during the first five minutes. Edwards recorded six of the first eight points for the Spartans to open the half as her last field-goal, a three-pointer, gave Upstate a 49-27 lead. The Spartans then used a 10-1 run over a 3:02 span to stretch their led to 59-32 with 11:21 remaining after five different players combined for all 10 points.
Herr connected on each of her first three three-point attempts as her final one provided Upstate with its largest lead of the game, 71-41, at the 8:02 mark. The Spartans led by at least 26 the rest of the way with Haddock scoring the game’s final bucket to put the score at 78-50.
Upstate was 29-of-76 (38.2%) from the field and 7-for-13 (53.8%) behind the three-point line. The Valkyries shot 31.0% (18-of-58) as a team.
The Spartans also held the advantage in points in the paint (32-20), points off turnovers (21-6), second-chance points (18-7), fast-break points (16-0) and points from the bench (36-21).
Upstate hits the road for the third time in four games Thursday evening as it heads to Greensboro, N.C. to face UNC Greensboro at 7 p.m.