Nashville, Tenn. – Brittany Starling led four USC Upstate players in double-figures as the Spartans picked up a 76-67 victory over the Lipscomb Lady Bisons during its road finale Wednesday evening inside Allen Arena.
Upstate improves to 14-14 overall and 6-7 in the league, while Lipscomb drops to 8-19 on the season and 3-10 in conference play.
Starling recorded her 10th double-double of the season after finishing with 18 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. She was 6-of-8 from the field and a perfect 6-for-6 at the free-throw line. Brittany Clency finished 7-of-14 shooting for 17 points while also dishing out five assists. Raven Jefferson added 15 points, five rebounds and three assists, while Sharmayne Edwards made 9-of-10 free-throws for 12 points. Shelby Hicks added seven points and Travonda Haddock pulled down seven rebounds for the Spartans.
Danay Fothergill scored a game-high 24 points for the Lady Bisons and had seven rebounds and four assists. Ashley Southern contributed a double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds.
Upstate split the opening 14 points with Lipscomb as Starling evened the score at 7-7 with her layup. The Spartans led twice during the first 2:02 on a pair of free-throws by Haddock and a three from Jefferson with 18:26 remaining. Fothergill answered Starling’s basket with a three and Sara Bliss added a layup with 15:50 left to give the Lady Bisons a 12-7 lead.
Upstate fought back to within one, 14-13, with 10:21 to go after Edwards and Clency scored three straight points, and would trade field goals over the next minute of play. The Spartans would go scoreless over nearly a four minute stretch as Fothergill and Southern recorded five consecutive points to put Lipscomb ahead 21-15 at the 5:59 mark. Clency ended the run after her three put Upstate down 21-18 with 4:48 left on the clock.
After the Lady Bisons went up 24-20 on Loren Cagle’s free-throw, Starling picked up the next four Spartan points to trim their deficit down to 25-24 with 1:17 to go. Fothergill’s two free-throws sent Lipscomb into the half in front 27-24.
The Lady Bisons jumped out to a 31-24 lead to start the second half after Chandler Cooper’s layup at the 17:45 mark gave Lipscomb the seven-point cushion. Starling managed to get Upstate within three, 31-28, following a pair of free-throws, but Fothergill extended the advantage back to seven as her layup made it a 35-28 contest with 16:13 remaining.
Five straight points by Hicks sparked a 14-3 run by the Spartans to give them their first lead since the start of the game. The Spartans connected on three straight triples by Jefferson, Clency and Edwards to give them a 42-38 lead as the clock hit 12:42. Upstate led the rest of the way while the Lady Bisons were only able to get within one with 10:43 to go on a three by Fothergill.
The Spartans would go in front by double-digits with 4:03 left courtesy of Clency’s jumper, giving them a 63-52 lead to conclude a quick 8-0 run covering a 1:24 stretch. Prior to the run, Lipscomb had trimmed Upstate’s lead down to three when Southern’s basket put the score at 55-52. The Spartans led by at least seven points over the final 1:49.
Upstate converted 13 of its final 14 free-throw attempts to end the game with Edwards making eight of them. The last two free-throws by Starling with 25 seconds left in the game increased the Spartans lead out to 76-65.
Upstate outscored the Lady Bisons 52-40 in the second half and made 20-of-21 free-throws for a 95.2% clip.
The Spartans finished the game shooting 23-of-58 (39.7%) overall and went 23-for-25 (92.0%) at the charity stripe. Lipscomb was 26-of-62 (41.9%) as a team.
Upstate closes out its regular season Saturday afternoon when it hosts Northern Kentucky at 2 p.m. It will also be Senior Day for the Spartans as they are set to honor Edwards, Hicks, Lauren Bogle and Maddie Herr prior to the game.