The USC Upstate women’s basketball team starts a three-game road trip on Saturday as the Spartans head to Kennesaw State for a 12 p.m. contest in a battle of two teams tied for fourth place in the Atlantic Sun Conference standings.
Upstate currently sits at 11-11 overall and 3-4 in the A-Sun following a 61-49 home victory last Saturday over North Florida. The Spartans completed the weekend sweep behind double-digit scoring efforts from Brittany Starling and Sharmayne Edwards. Starling finished with a game-high 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting and 6-for-7 at the free-throw line, while Edwards connected on 3-of-4 three’s for 11 points. Mar’Lisa Braxton came off the bench to score nine points on 4-of-6 shooting and Travonda Haddock grabbed a team-high six rebounds. Raven Jefferson set a new career-high in assists as the sophomore dished out six.
With her 16 points in the win over UNF, Starling moved past Tammy Smith into 15th place all-time in scoring at Upstate and is now 80 points away from joining the 1,000 point club. She also inched closer to 6th place in career rebounds after finishing with four against North Florida. Starling needs 14 rebounds to pass Gwen Proctor for sixth place in that category.
Edwards and Starling are both averaging over 10.0 points per game this season to lead the Spartans offensively. Edwards is scoring a team-best 12.7 points per game with Starling a close second at 12.6 points. Starling ranks third in the league in rebounding with 9.1 per contest while Brittany Clency is tied for ninth in assists per game with a team-leading 2.6 per game.
Kennesaw State enters the weekend with a 14-8 overall record and identical 3-4 mark in the conference. The Owls are led by third-year head coach Nitra Perry, who is 27-56 during her tenure at KSU. Deandrea Sawyers leads three Owls in scoring this season as she averages 15.3 points per game to rank second in the A-Sun. Jasmine McAllister contributes a double-double of 13.9 points and 10.7 rebounds (second in the conference) while Kristina Wells pours in 10.5 points and 3.6 assists per game. The 3.6 assists are fourth-best among league players.
The Owls hold a 21-11 lead in the all-time series over Upstate including a 72-63 victory in Spartanburg on Jan. 10 to open A-Sun play. KSU also leads 11-4 when playing in Kennesaw but the Spartans have won the last two meetings highlighted by a 90-78 win last season. In the first meeting earlier this year, three Upstate players scored in double-figures led by Edwards with 15 off the bench. Kristen Dickerson also had 14 points while Clency also came off the bench to score 11.
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 continue their road trip next Thursday against North Florida at 7 p.m.