The USC Upstate women’s basketball team returns to the Hodge Center Thursday evening for the first of two games as the Spartans are slated to host the Stetson Hatters at 7 p.m.
Sharmayne Edwards scored a career-high 29 points last Saturday in Upstate’s 60-58 victory at Jacksonville, improving its record to 13-12 overall and 5-5 in the A-Sun. Edwards connected on a career-best 11 field goals and gave her five 20-point scoring performances this season. Brittany Starling recorded her ninth double-double of the season on 13 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Brittany Clency contributed nine points and Mar’Lisa Braxton had six points and five rebounds.
Edwards was rewarded for her effort on Monday as she was named the A-Sun Player of the Week by College Sports Madness. She becomes the second Spartan this year to be selected as Player of the Week by the website. Starling earned the weekly recognition on Jan. 19.
The duo of Edwards and Starling lead Upstate offensively this season as both are averaging in double-figures. Edwards ranks ninth in the league in scoring with a team-best 13.4 points per game. Starling nearly averages a double-double with 12.3 points and 9.1 rebounds (third in the conference) and is tied for the league-lead in field goal percentage at 52.0. Clency contributes 2.6 assists per game to rank 10th in the A-Sun in that category.
Stetson currently sits at 18-6 overall and is second in the conference standings with a 7-3 mark. The Hatters are led by seventh-year head coach Lynn Bria, who is 126-93 at Stetson and 279-306 in 20 seasons of coaching. Brianti Saunders is one of four players averaging over 10.0 points per game this season as she leads the team with 14.4. Jama Sharp and Amber Porter are both scoring 13.3 points while Myeisha Hall chips in 12.9. Porter grabs a team-leading 7.5 rebounds per contest and Sharp dishes out 4.0 assists per game.
The Hatters lead the all-time series over the Spartans 12-4 including a 67-44 win in DeLand, Fla. on Jan. 24. The series is tied 3-3 when playing at the Hodge Center with Stetson winning the last two.
In the first meeting this season, Raven Jefferson just missed her first career double-double after recording a team-high 10 points and nine rebounds. Edwards and Shelby Hicks each had seven points and Starling added eight rebounds. Hicks also finished with seven rebounds and Travonda Haddock pulled down six to go with a career-best five blocks.
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 face Florida Gulf Coast at 2 p.m. in their Play 4Kay game. All cancer survivors wearing pink will be admitted to the game free of charge.