Spartans Use Strong Fourth Quarter to Defeat Morehead State

December 14, 2015 at 4:50 pm

Morehead, Ky. – Brittany Starling scored 26 points while pulling down 19 rebounds as the USC Upstate women’s basketball team scored 29 points in the fourth quarter en route to an 86-72 victory at Morehead State. The Spartans and Eagles were tied at 57 following the third quarter.

Upstate improves to 6-5 on the season while Morehead State drops to 4-7.

Starling scored 20 points for the sixth time this season while posting her second consecutive double-double and her fifth of the season. She also set a new career high with four steals. Brittany Clency finished with 20 points while Tamera Thorpe finished with 13 points, one point shy of a career high. DeNishia Swain scored a career-high 10 points. Travonda Haddock finished with four blocks. Kristen Dickerson led Upstate with four assists. Starling and Raven Jefferson each had four steals. Upstate forced a season-high 34 turnovers.

Eriel McKee led Morehead State with 24 points, followed by Miranda Crockett with 15 points, Shay Steele with 14 points and Brooke Todd with 10 points. McKee and Steele each pulled down 11 rebounds. Aaliyah Wells had four assists.

Morehead State opened the game on a 7-0 run before the Spartans got on the board with a Haddock jumper and Dickerson layup. Following a Haddock layup at the 6:06 mark to cut the Spartan deficit to 9-6, MSU went on a 5-0 run for a 13-6 lead. A Starling layup brought the visitors to within five, 17-12, before the Eagles ended the opening quarter with a 21-12 lead.

Following a Todd layup that gave the hosts a 23-12 lead, Upstate went on an 11-2 run to pull within a pair, 25-23. After a Tate jumper at the 5:07 mark to give the Eagles a 31-27 edge, Upstate went on a 6-0 mark and took a 33-31 lead following a Clency jumper with 2:39 to play.  Natalie Greenwell’s layup with 1:50 remaining in the second quarter gave Morehead State a 34-33 lead before the Spartans used a Dickerson layup and Clency free throw to claim a 36-34 edge. McKee sent Morehead State into halftime with a 37-36 edge thanks to a three-pointer with just over a minute to play.

Consecutive baskets by Crockett gave Morehead State a 41-36 lead before the Spartans evened the score at 41 thanks to a Starling layup and a Swain three-pointer. Morehead State took a 53-45 lead after a McKee layup with 4:11 to play, but the Spartans closed out the quarter on a 12-4 run to tie the game at 57 after three quarters.

The Eagles opened the final period on a 7-2 run, taking a 64-59 lead with 7:53 remaining. Upstate claimed a 65-64 lead following a pair of Starling free throws. The Spartans used a 12-2 run to take a 77-66 lead with 3:13 remaining following a Thorpe free throw. Morehead State cut the Upstate lead to 79-72 following a Wells jumper with 63 seconds to play before Upstate closed out the game on a 7-0 run with Starling’s old-fashioned three-point play wrapping up the scoring. The Spartans 15 of their 29 points in the quarter off of 10 Morehead State turnovers.

Morehead State finished 28-for-71 (39.4%) from the field while Upstate went 30-for-81 (37.0%). The Spartans were 3-for-14 (21.4%) from the three-point line and 23-for-31 at the free throw line while the Eagles were 1-for-9 (11.1%) from behind the arc and 15-for-21 (71.4%) at the stripe. Upstate scored 32 points off of turnovers compared to 14 by Morehead State but was outrebounded 59-43.

Upstate travels to North Carolina for a 4 p.m. matchup on Wednesday.

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