DeLand, Fla. – Brianti Saunders led four players in double-figures as Stetson defeated USC Upstate 67-44 Saturday afternoon inside the Edmunds Center to wrap up a three-game conference road trip for the Spartans.
Upstate falls to 9-11 overall and 1-4 in the league, while the Hatters improve to 15-4 on the season and 4-1 in A-Sun play.
Raven Jefferson just missed on her first career double-double as the sophomore led the Spartans with 10 points and nine rebounds. Sharmayne Edwards and Shelby Hicks added seven points each, and Brittany Starling contributed eight rebounds. Hicks also had seven rebounds to go with her seven points. Travonda Haddock set a new career-high with five blocks.
Saunders finished with a game-high 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting. C.J. Coddington and Myeisha Hall had 12 points apiece while Jama Sharp finished with 11. Coddington led the team in rebounding with nine.
The teams traded the lead three times over the first 3:19 of the first half as Jefferson put Upstate ahead 7-5 after her three at the 16:41 mark. The Spartans took the lead back twice after Stetson had tied the game within a three-minute span with the last coming on Edwards’s layup with 12:08 left making the score 12-11.
After a three by Jefferson evened the score at 14-14 less than two minutes later, the Hatters connected on three consecutive three’s from Saunders, Hall and Deasia Beal to go in front of Upstate 23-14 with 7:55 remaining. Starling followed with a jumper to cut the Spartans deficit to seven on the next possession, but Stetson answered with an 8-2 run covering a 3:11 span to take a 33-20 lead with just over two minutes left before the half.
Hall and Coddington hit back-to-back three’s just before intermission to send the Hatters into the break ahead 39-23.
Upstate stayed within a 16-point margin to begin the second half after a pair of free-throws by Coco Ritter trimmed the Stetson lead to 45-29 less than four minutes into the period. The Spartans would be held scoreless for the next six minutes as the Hatters pushed their lead to 51-29 courtesy of a 6-0 run. Amber Porter gave Stetson its largest lead of the game at 55-31 on her layup at the 8:44 mark.
Upstate was only able to get as close as 19 three times over the final seven minutes of the game. Haddock’s three with 2:07 remaining made it 63-44. Saunders and Coddington scored the game’s final four points from the free-throw line to put the final score at 67-44.
The Spartans concluded the game shooting 25.4% (17-of-67) overall while the Hatters went 23-of-68 for a 33.8% clip.
Upstate returns to the Hodge Center Thursday evening at it hosts Jacksonville at 7 p.m.