Brittany Clency led three players in double-figures as USC Upstate notched its tenth straight home victory Sunday afternoon following a 67-60 win over the UNC Asheville Bulldogs inside the Hodge Center.
Upstate extends its winning streak to three games and improves to 7-5 on the season, while UNC Asheville falls to 3-8 overall. The Spartans have now won ten consecutive home games for the first time since 2010-11. It is the third time in school history that USC Upstate has won ten straight at home as the program also achieved the mark in 1990-91.
Clency finished the game shooting 5-for-10 from the field, 2-of-3 behind the three-point line and connected on all four of her free-throw attempts, while contributing four steals and three assists. Raven Jefferson and Kristen Dickerson each had 14 points to join Clency in double-digits. Jefferson grabbed a career-high eight rebounds against the Bulldogs and Dickerson went a career-best 10-for-12 at the charity stripe. Brittany Starling added nine points and eight rebounds.
Shonese Jones scored a game-high 20 points for UNC Asheville and Chatori Major provided 15 on 6-of-8 shooting. Jeannie Buckner pulled down a team-high six rebounds.
The Spartans scored the game’s first four points before the Bulldogs responded with the next eight to lead 8-4 with 15:29 left on a layup by Jones. Upstate took the lead back three minutes later when a basket from Jefferson gave it 9-8 advantage, capping off a string of five straight points. UNC Asheville took the lead back and held a three-point cushion, 13-10, with 9:31 left after a layup from Leah Wormack.
USC Upstate led by as many as four midway through the first half when a three by Mar’Lisa Braxton, her first points as a Spartan, put them in front 24-20 at the 4:34 mark. The Bulldogs outscored Upstate 14-4 over nearly a three-minute stretch to lead 34-28 shortly before intermission. Dickerson connected on three free-throws in the final 33 seconds to cut the Spartans deficit to 36-34.
UNC Asheville quickly jumped back out to a six-point lead to start the second half when a layup by Paige Love put it in front 42-36. Upstate used an 8-0 run over the next 2:53 to go back in front 44-42 on Jefferson’s layup.
The Spartans did not trail the rest of the game and would push their lead to seven, 53-46, with 9:04 to go after Dickerson made two of her ten free-throws. The Bulldogs managed to tie the game courtesy of a 10-3 run, covering 4:33, completed by a jumper from Jones. Upstate limited UNC Asheville to just four points over the final 3:53 as the Spartans sealed the victory at the free-throw line. Clency and Dickerson combined to score the final seven points of the game, including the last five at the line, for Upstate to give it the seven-point victory.
USC Upstate finished the game shooting 35.5% (22-of-62) as a team and was successful on 19 of its 24 free-throw attempts for a 79.2% mark. The Bulldogs went 22-for-49 (44.9%) overall and 14-of-18 (77.8%) at the free-throw line. The Spartans held UNCA to just 2-of-17 behind the three-point line.
Upstate returns to action Tuesday, Dec. 30 when it travels to Charleston, S.C. to face College of Charleston at 7 p.m.