Strong Second Half Lifts Upstate Past Norfolk State, 70-58

January 3, 2015 at 5:45 pm

Spartanburg, S.C. – The USC Upstate women’s basketball team won its 11th-straight home game Saturday afternoon as Brittany Starling’s double-double of 12 points and a game-high 19 rebounds propelled the Spartans to a 70-58 victory over the Norfolk State Spartans from the Hodge Center.

Upstate improves to 8-6 on the season, while Norfolk State falls to 2-10.

Starling recorded her second straight double-double, and fifth of the season, after finishing the game 5-of-8 from the field, while adding two blocks and one assist. Sharmayne Edwards added 12 points to tie for the team-lead with Starling and Kristen Dickerson contributed 11. Both Edwards and Dickerson dished out four assists each.

Rae Corbo scored a game-high 22 points for NSU and was joined in double-figures by Koryn Lawrence with 14. Kayla Roberts grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds.

The first half saw the lead change hands a total of nine times as both teams did not lead by more than four for the opening 16 minutes of the game. The Spartans traded the first 16 points with Norfolk State as the game sat tied at 8-8 3:57 into the contest on a jumper by Edwards. Jefferson followed with a field-goal to give Upstate a two-point cushion, but Kayla Roberts answered with a three for NSU to put it in front 11-10. Mar’Lisa Braxton’s layup gave the Spartans their largest lead of the half, 16-13, with 9:16 to go.

Norfolk State came back to take a 17-16 lead on two free-throws by Corbo at the 7:25 mark. Corbo increased NSU’s lead to 20-16 after her three-point play less than a minute later. After Brittany Clency made it a one-point game, Norfolk State used a 7-0 run over the next 2:40 to take its largest lead of the game, 29-21, capped by Corbo’s jumper with 2:10 remaining.

Upstate finished the half on a 7-1 run to head into halftime trailing 30-28. Starling and Alex Stanford combined for the last seven points with Starling’s basket making it a 29-28 contest with 37 seconds left.

The second half started with the score even three times over the opening 4:50 with NSU taking the lead back each time. Roberts pushed Norfolk StaAwedrtte’s advantage to 41-38 on two free-throws at the 13:58 mark, but the Spartans equaled the score on Starling’s layup and a three by Shelby Hicks. NSU held off the Upstate charge twice to lead by four before the Spartans took control of the game.

Braxton gave Upstate a 55-52 lead with 5:15 to go on a layup, sparking an 8-2 run that saw the Spartans lead 61-55 less than four minutes remaining in the game. Upstate limited Norfolk State to just four points, two coming on free-throws, over the final 4:53 as it broke the game open on five straight points by Starling and Raven Jefferson. Corbo had cut the Spartans led to 61-56 with 3:49 remaining on a pair of free-throws, only to see Upstate score nine of the game’s last 11 points. Clency’s free-throw with 34 seconds left sealed the 70-58 victory.

USC Upstate outscored NSU 42-28 in the second half and held it to 7-of-22 shooting.

The Spartans finished the game shooting 38.2% (26-of-68) as a team while NSU went 16-of-45 (35.6%) overall.

Upstate held the advantage in points in the paint (30-12), points off turnovers (17-9), second-chance points (13-2) and fast-break points (6-0).

The Spartans close out non-conference play Wednesday evening when they travel to Greenville, S.C. to face Furman at 7 p.m.

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