Greensboro, N.C. – Shelby Hicks recorded her first double-double of the season, and Brittany Starling had a team-high 17 points, as USC Upstate used a strong second half to defeat the UNC Greensboro Spartans 69-60 Thursday night from Fleming Gym.
The Spartans even their record at 2-2 overall while UNCG drops to 1-2 on the season.
Hicks pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds to go with her 12 points, while Starling just missed on her second double-double after finishing with nine rebounds. Sharmayne Edwards added 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting. Brittany Clency contributed 12 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Jarae Savage collected 19 points for UNC Greensboro to lead three players in double-figures. Shanese Harris and Lucy Mason had 13 and 11 points, respectively. Savage and Mason both grabbed seven rebounds each.
UNCG opened the game on a 13-2 run over the first 3:31 as Upstate committed three turnovers and missed on three of its first four field-goal attempts. Mason scored six of UNC Greensboro’s points to start the contest, with Harris adding four. The final basket by Harris put UNCG ahead by double-digits. Savage gave UNC Greensboro a 13-point lead twice with the last coming at 21-8 with 14:32 left.
The Spartans would hold UNCG scoreless for the next six minutes as they chipped away at the lead courtesy of a 13-0 run. Kristen Dickerson tied the game for the first time at 21-21 after her two free-throws at the 9:01 mark. A layup by Harris ended UNC Greensboro’s scoring drought, leading to five straight points to increase its lead out to five, 26-21, two minutes later.
Upstate tied the game again when back-to-back three’s from Raven Jefferson and Maddie Herr evened the score 34-34 with just under a minute left before intermission. Skye Jefferson answered the following possession to put UNCG back in front by two. Starling’s free-throw sent the teams into the locker room with UNC Greensboro leading 36-35.
Starling and Edwards teamed up to score the opening eight points to start the second half as the Spartans went on an 8-2 run to take a 43-38 lead. UNCG rallied four minutes later as Savage’s field-goal gave it a 47-45 advantage. Upstate responded with nine points in a row to increase its cushion to 54-47, but Harris got UNC Greensboro to within two after her three-pointer and a jumper.
The Spartans held off several UNCG charges late in the half as the home team was only able to get as close as three, 58-55, with 6:11 remaining. After a three by Bailey Williams made it a three-point game, Upstate did not allow a field-goal for nearly six minutes to take its largest lead of the game when a three-point play by Hicks gave the Spartans a 65-55 lead. Edwards sealed the victory for Upstate as her free-throws made the score 69-60.
Despite shooting 31.1% (23-of-74) from the field, the Spartans forced UNC Greensboro into 27 turnovers and attempted 14 more free-throws. Upstate turned the 27 turnovers into 26 points, while its 25 offensive rebounds led to 23 second-chance points. The Spartans converted on 20 of their 27 free-throw attempts while UNCG was just 8-for-13. UNC Greensboro finished the game 23-of-56 (41.1%) from the field.
Upstate returns to the Hodge Center Sunday afternoon to host IPFW at 3 p.m.