Sharmayne Edwards scored a team-high 20 points as USC Upstate rallied from 10 points down in the second half Wednesday evening to defeat the Lipscomb Lady Bisons 71-68 for its first A-Sun victory of the season.
Upstate improves to 9-8 overall and 1-1 in the league, while Lipscomb falls to 5-11 on the season and 0-2 in conference play.
Edwards led four players in double-figures after scoring at least 20 points in a game for the fourth time in her career as a Spartan. Brittany Starling recorded her sixth double-double of the season, and 18th of her career, with 14 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. She reached a career milestone on Wednesday by becoming the ninth player in Upstate history to grab over 600 rebounds in their career. Brittany Clency and Raven Jefferson provided 13 and 11 points, respectively, while both had six rebounds. Shelby Hicks came off the bench to pull down six rebounds.
Danay Fothergill had 21 points and seven rebounds for the Lady Bisons, and was one of four players to score in double-digits along with Chandler Cooper (12), Sara Bliss (12) and Ashley Southern (10). Cooper and Fothergill collected a team-leading seven rebounds apiece and Southern added six.
Fothergill and Cooper combined for five three-pointers in the opening seven minutes of the game to give Lipscomb an early 18-8 lead. Haddock and Starling scored the first four points to put the Spartans in front by four, but the three’s from Fothergill and Cooper sparked a 20-4 run over a 4:59 stretch. Fothergill’s layup with 12:49 left pushed the Lady Bison lead to 20-8. Upstate would trim its lead down to seven twice during the next 3:48 with the last coming at the 9:01 mark after a three from Edwards made the score 23-16.
Lipscomb managed to increase its advantage back to 11 midway through the first half with Southern putting it ahead 31-20 with 3:28 to go before the half. Clency was able to cut the lead down to six, 36-30, just before intermission, but Southern’s layup with 28 seconds remaining sent the Lady Bisons into the break leading 38-30.
After Southern began the second half by putting Lipscomb in front 40-30, the Spartans fought back to take its first lead since the start of the game courtesy of a 12-0 run over nearly a four-minute span. Jefferson scored seven of the 12 points with her last giving the Spartans a 42-40 lead at the 15:57 mark. Edwards would later push the advantage to three.
The Lady Bisons came back to take a 50-49 lead on Loren Cagle’s layup, only to see Edwards score four straight to put Upstate back in front by three. Edwards followed several possessions later with a three to put the Spartans ahead 58-53, only to see Lipscomb rally to within two with 7:27 remaining after a free-throw by Fothergill. Upstate then went on an 8-2 run to take its largest lead of the contest at 66-58 capped by Clency’s layup with 4:58 left.
The Spartans saw their lead cut to one, 68-67, with 1:40 to go on Fothergill’s free-throw, but the Lady Bisons would not get any closer. Upstate held Lipscomb without a field goal for the final 1:40 and used three free-throws from Starling and Clency to give the Spartans a 71-68 victory. Clency’s free-throw with two seconds left sealed the win.
Upstate shot 48.3% in the second half and finished the game 27-of-64 (42.2%) overall. The Lady Bisons connected on eight three’s in the first half but were limited to just one in the second. Lipscomb was 24-of-59 (40.7%) shooting as a team. Both teams went 11-for-16 (68.8%) at the charity stripe.
The Spartans recorded seven blocks in the contest and out-rebounded the Lady Bisons 47-31 leading to a 17-6 margin in second-chance points.
Upstate hits the road for the next three games starting Saturday night when it heads to Northern Kentucky for a 7 p.m. tipoff.