The USC Upstate women’s basketball team closes out a quick two-game homestand Saturday afternoon when it welcomes the North Florida Ospreys to the Hodge Center for a 2 p.m. contest.
Upstate snapped a three-game losing streak Thursday evening after a thrilling 66-64 last-second victory over Jacksonville behind Shelby Hicks’s buzzer-beating basket. The game-winner by Hicks was the second of her career as the Spartans improved to 10-11 on the season and 2-4 in A-Sun play. Brittany Starling scored a game-high 16 points and finished one rebound shy of a double-double with a team-best nine. Sharmayne Edwards added 15 points and seven rebounds, while Hicks had nine points and Travonda Haddock eight. Raven Jefferson scored seven points along with Edwards.
The buzzer-beater by Hicks made the ESPN Sportscenter Top 10 last night as it made the list at No. 6. It is the first time the women’s basketball team has been featured on the Top 10 list and fourth in the history of Upstate athletics. The play was also highlighted on the Sick 15 by the website www.sicksports.com.
With her nine rebounds against Jacksonville, Starling passed Heather Abrams for 7th place in career rebounds as a Spartan and also eclipsed the 900-point plateau. She needs just two points to move into 15th place in career scoring.
Edwards and Starling are both averaging over 10.0 points per game this season with Edwards leading the team at 12.8 points. Starling adds 12.4 points and is third in the conference in rebounding with 9.3 per game. Brittany Clency sits ninth in the A-Sun in assists as she leads the team with 2.7 per contest.
North Florida comes in with a 10-11 overall record as well and is 1-5 in the league after falling 46-40 at Kennesaw State last night. The Ospreys are led by 23rd-year head coach Mary Tappmeyer, who is 312-344 at UNF and 407-429 in 30 seasons as a coach. North Florida is led offensively by Destinee Smith with 13.4 points per game to rank eighth in the league in scoring. Paulina Zaveckaite tops the A-Sun in rebounding with a team-best 11.4 per contest while Brittany Wright contributes 2.9 assists per game.
The Ospreys hold a slight 13-12 lead in the all-time series over the Spartans, but Upstate swept the season series last year with a 62-51 victory in Jacksonville followed by 79-63 win in Spartanburg. Clency averaged 18.0 points per game last season against North Florida and Edwards had 13.5 points. Starling pulled down 9.0 rebounds.
Fans can follow the action on www.upstatespartans.com via live stats. The game is being televised on ESPN3. Updates will also be posted on the Upstate women’s basketball Twitter page (@UpstateWB).
The Spartans begin a three-game road trip next Saturday against Kennesaw State at 12 p.m.