Brittany Starling and Sharmayne Edwards combined for 43 points as USC Upstate won its eighth straight home game Saturday afternoon following a 60-38 triumph over the Maryland Eastern Shore Lady Hawks from the Hodge Center.
Upstate evens its record at 5-5 on the season while Maryland Eastern Shore falls to 4-5 overall.
Starling picked up her second straight double-double, and third of the season, as she had 21 points while grabbing a career-high 20 rebounds. The 20 rebounds are the most by a Spartan since Paulina Zaveckaite had 22 against Stetson on Feb. 25, 2012, and the most by any player in the A-Sun this season. Edwards led all players with a game-high 22 points and connected on four three-pointers, while Kristen Dickerson added 11.
Shawnee Sweeney had a team-high 13 points for UMES and was joined in double-digits by TeAmber Burke with 10. Burke and Taryana Kelley each pulled down a team-best seven rebounds.
Upstate’s defense controlled the first half limiting the Lady Hawks to just 10 points, which is the lowest scored in a half by a Spartan opponent since St. Andrews had six back during the 2012-13 campaign. UMES shot just 3-of-24 in the opening half, including 0-for-8 from three, with four its points coming at the free-throw line.
Starling, Edwards and Dickerson scored the first 13 points to start the game for Upstate as it held a 13-4 lead just over five minutes into the game. Following a jumper by Sweeney at the 15:53 mark, the Spartans held Maryland Eastern Shore scoreless for the next 9:16 as they built a 19-4 cushion after two free-throws by Starling. The Lady Hawks used a jumper from Burke to make it a 19-6 game with 6:39 left.
Upstate held UMES without a basket for another 6:23 after that and led by as many as 15 after a layup by Dickerson gave the Spartans a 21-6 lead. The Lady Hawks scored four of the last five points of the first half to give Upstate a 22-10 lead heading into intermission.
The Spartans went to Starling early in the second half with the junior scoring 12 of her 21 points in the opening 6:57. Maryland Eastern Shore had cut its deficit to 26-16 just two minutes into the half, but Starling answered with 10 of the next 12 points to give Upstate a 20-point lead, 38-18, with 13:03 remaining. Edwards followed two minutes later with back-to-back three’s to increase the Spartan lead to 44-20.
Upstate led by at least 20 points for a majority of the second half with the Lady Hawks getting to within 17 twice. UMES logged just four points over the final 3:18 with all of those coming at the free-throw line. The Spartans held a game-high 24-point advantage twice with the last coming at the 1:15 mark when Coco Ritter’s layup put Upstate ahead 60-36.
The Spartans finished the game shooting 35.3% (24-of-68) as a team and went 8-for-12 (66.7%) at the charity stripe. Maryland Eastern Shore was 12-of-54 (22.2%) as a team and 2-for-16 (12.5%) behind the three-point line. The Lady Hawks connected on 12 of their 15 free-throw attempts for an 80.0% mark.
Upstate continues its home stand Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. against Morehead State.