DeLand, Fla. – Brittany Clency scored a game-high 23 points as USC Upstate defeated Stetson 61-56 in the Edmunds Center on Monday night. The victory snaps an eight-game losing streak to the Hatters.
Upstate improves to 11-7 overall and 2-1 in the Atlantic Sun while Stetson falls to 10-7 and 1-2.
Clency finished 9-for-16 from the field and tied a career-high with three three-pointers for her third 20-point-plus game of the season. Brittany Starling recorded her second straight double-double and 11th of the season with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Victoria Hadler tied a career-high with five points.
Breana Bey scored 19 points to lead Stetson, followed by Brianti Saunders with 17. Bey led the Hatters with eight rebounds.
Stetson opened the game on a 9-0 run with a pair of three-pointers by Saunders and a three-pointer from Beach. Clency got the Spartans on the board with a jumper at the 6:58 mark. The Spartans cut the Stetson advantage to 11-8 at the first quarter media timeout with 4:33 to play in the period. Upstate’s defense stiffened as the Spartans forced turnovers on three consecutive Stetson possessions while taking a 12-11 lead on a pair of Starling free throws with 2:45 to go in the quarter. The Hatters retook the lead thanks to a Sarah Sagerer three-pointer before Clency sank a three-pointer with just over a minute to play in the frame to give Upstate a 15-14 advantage after the opening period. Both teams finished 5-for-13 (38.5%) from the field in the first 10 minutes.
Upstate opened the second quarter on a 5-0 run thanks to a Jefferson layup and a Clency three-pointer for a 20-15 lead, which prompted a Stetson timeout with 7:29 to play in the period. A pair of Starling free throws gave the visitors a 23-16 lead at the 5:51 mark only to see Stetson trim the Upstate lead to four, 23-19. The Spartans answered with a Dickerson jumper to extend their lead to 25-19 with 4:33 to play. Upstate’s lead would hold steady at between five and seven points for the remainder of the quarter as a Victoria Hadler layup sent the Spartans into halftime with a 30-23 lead.
After Stetson was charged with a technical foul, Clency sank one of two free throws to give Upstate a 31-23 lead with 9:06 to play. The Hatters went on a 10-2 run with a Saunders layup tying the game at 33 with 5:27 remaining in the third quarter. A Clency layup followed by a Tamera Thorpe fast break layup gave Upstate a 37-33 lead, only to see the Hatters retake the lead on an Aisha Turner jumper. Stetson led 43-40 at the end of three quarters.
Following a Bey layup that gave the Hatters a 52-45 lead, Upstate went on an 8-0 run as a Haddock layup with 5:07 remaining gave the Spartans a 53-52 lead. A Turner layup ended a Stetson scoring drought of 4:47 as the Hatters pulled to within a point, 57-56, with 1:36 to play. Clency hit a jumper from just outside the free throw line to give the Spartans a 59-56 lead with 27 seconds left. McKenna Beach attempted the game-tying three-pointer for Stetson with seven seconds left, but Starling pulled down the defensive rebounding before Kristen Dickerson hit two free throws for the final points of the game.
Stetson finished the game 24-for-58 (41.4%) from the field while Upstate was 23-for-62 (37.1%). The Spartans hit 11 of 13 free throw attempts (84.6%) while Stetson hit two of their three free throw attempts (66.6%). The Spartans outrebounded Stetson 39-34.
Upstate returns to the Hodge Center on Saturday afternoon against Jacksonville. Tip-off is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.