Whitney Bunn led three Furman players in double-figures Wednesday evening as the Paladins used a late second-half run to defeat USC Upstate 74-59 from Timmons Arena to conclude non-conference play.
The Spartans fall to 8-7 overall while Furman improves to 11-5 on the season.
Bunn finished the game with 17 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds for the Paladins, and Brittany Hodges and Holli Wilkins contributed 17 and 12 points, respectively. Sarah Durdaller had a game-high 11 rebounds and Hodges chipped in with six.
Kristen Dickerson led Upstate with 13 points and Brittany Clency added 11. Maddie Herr finished with eight points, and Brittany Starling and Travonda Haddock each had seven. Starling pulled down a team-high eight rebounds and Haddock posted six.
The Spartans trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half as Furman opened the game on a 9-2 run. The Paladins took a seven-point lead just 3:21 into the contest when Durdaller connected on a layup. Upstate managed to trim its deficit to six, 11-5, on a free-throw by A’Lexxus Davis, but Furman responded with a quick 6-2 run to lead 18-7 at the 13:20 mark on Bunn’s three-point play. The Paladins maintained a seven-point cushion midway through the half before Hodges put the margin back at 11 when her layup made the score 28-17 with 6:31 left.
USC Upstate answered with a 13-2 run of its own over nearly a four-minute stretch and tied the game 30-30 with 2:24 to go on Haddock’s three. Hodges responded with a field-goal to put Furman in front by two, but Herr came back with a three to give the Spartans their first lead since the start of the game.
Bunn’s two free-throws with 12 seconds left were the final points of the half, sending the Paladins into the break ahead 36-33.
Dickerson scored the first seven points of the second half for the Spartans to keep them within one, 41-40, less than four minutes in. After Hodges made it 46-42 with a pair of free-throws, Dickerson connected on a three to put it back at a one-point contest. Upstate fought back from a five-point deficit and were down three at the 11:49 mark following Dickerson’s free-throw.
The Paladins recorded six consecutive points during a 1:35 stretch to increase their advantage to 57-48, only to see the Spartans come back with four free-throws by Clency to put the score at 57-52 under eight minutes remaining in the game.
Furman broke the game open with an 8-0 run over a four minute stretch to lead 65-52 after a jumper by Wilkins. Durdaller made it a 14-point game, 70-56, two minutes later with her three. Two free-throws from Allison Beasley with seven seconds left to put the final score at 74-59.
Upstate concluded the game shooting 30.6% (27-of-72) as a team and was successful on 10-of-13 (76.9%) free-throw attempts. The Paladins went 29-of-53 (54.7%) overall and 70.6% (12-for-17) from the charity stripe.
The Spartans begin A-Sun play Saturday afternoon as they host Kennesaw State at 4:30 p.m. from the Hodge Center.