The USC Upstate women’s basketball team, after spending the last three games on the road, returns to the Hodge Center Thursday evening as it hosts the Jacksonville Dolphins at 7 p.m. in an A-Sun Conference matchup.
The Spartans dropped back-to-back road games last week at Florida Gulf Coast and Jacksonville, and are 9-11 overall and 1-4 in conference play. In the contest against Stetson, Raven Jefferson just missed on her first career double-double after finishing with 10 points and a career-high nine rebounds to lead Upstate. Sharmayne Edwards and Shelby Hicks had seven points each, and Brittany Starling pulled down eight rebounds. Hicks also had seven rebounds to go with her seven points. Travonda Haddock set a new career-high with five blocks.
Starling continues to move up the Spartans career rankings list with her six points and eight rebounds at Stetson. The junior presently has 888 career points and 629 career rebounds, and is one of only nine players in program history to have over 800 points and 600 rebounds in their career. Starling needs just five more rebounds to pass Heather Abrams for seventh-place and 18 points to move into 15th-place in scoring ahead of Tammy Smith.
Edwards and Starling are both averaging in double-figures this season to lead Upstate offensively. Edwards is scoring a team-leading 12.7 points per game while Starling is right behind her at 12.3 points. Starling ranks third in the A-Sun in rebounding with a team-best 9.4 per contest while also shooting a conference-best 51.1% from the field. Brittany Clency is eighth in the league in assists per game with 2.8.
Jacksonville currently sits at 6-12 overall and is tied with Upstate in the conference standings at 1-4. Sherranda Reddick and Briona Brown lead the Dolphin offense as both are averaging over 10.0 points per game this season. Reddick pours in a team-high 12.6 points per game while Brown contributes 10.5 points. Kimberly Dawkins grabs a team-best 7.6 rebounds per contest and Ladeyah Forte’ adds 2.9 assists per game. JU is under the direction of second-year head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin, who is 19-29 with the Dolphins.
The Spartans hold a 7-6 lead in the all-time series over Jacksonville after sweeping the season series last year. Upstate began with a 66-58 victory at Jacksonville before picking up a 68-59 win in Spartanburg. Three Spartans averaged in double-digits last season against JU with Clency averaging 16.0 points per game. Alex Stanford and Starling chipped in with 11.5 and 10.5 points, respectively.
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 remain at home Saturday afternoon as they square off against North Florida at 2 p.m.