Ogden, Utah – Kristen Dickerson scored a game-high 21 points but it wasn’t enough as the Weber State Wildcats defeated the USC Upstate women’s basketball team 79-53 in the WBI Semifinals at the Dee Events Center.
Weber State improves to 23-11 and advanced to face Louisiana in the WBI Championship on Saturday. Upstate finishes the 2015-16 season at 22-12. The 22 wins are the most in the Division I era and third-most in program history.
Dickerson’s 21 points were one shy of tying her career-high. Brittany Starling recorded her 21st double-double of the season and 43rd of her career with 15 points and 14 rebounds. She concludes her Upstate career with a program-record 1,120 rebounds and fourth with 1,533 points. Raven Jefferson also finished in double-figures with 10 points.
Deeshyra Thomas led Weber State with 20 points, followed by Emily Drake and Brittany Dunbar with 17 each. Kailie Quinn recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Quinn got the Wildcats on the board with a three-pointer 41 seconds into the game before the Spartans took a 13-7 lead following a pair of Dickerson free throws with 6:09 to play in the opening quarter. Upstate took a 17-13 lead after a Starling layup with 2:22 to go, but three-pointers by Drake and Dunbar gave Weber State a 17-16 advantage after the opening frame.
The Wildcats made their first four shots of the second quarter, taking a 28-19 lead with 7:48 to play after a Thomas jumper. Starling cut the Spartan deficit to six, 32-26, with 4:49 to play before the Wildcats went on a 7-0 run for a 39-26 lead after a Drake three-pointer with 3:17 remaining. Weber State led 41-28 at halftime.
Starling cut the Upstate deficit to eight, 42-34, with a jumper at the 7:22 mark. Weber State answered with a Drake three-pointer to push their lead back to double-digits, 45-34. The Wildcats led 60-41 following a Dunbar layup with 2:18 to play and led 63-43 at the end of the third quarter after a Jaiamoni Welch-Colman jumper.
A Thomas layup with 8:04 to go gave the hosts a 67-43 lead. Upstate would pull to within 17, 68-51, thanks to a Travonda Haddock layup with 5:07 to play but the Spartans would get no closer the rest of the way. A Welch-Colman layup with 41 seconds to play served as the final points of the game.
Upstate went 20-for-59 (33.9%) from the field and 2-for-14 (14.3%) from behind the three-point line. Weber State was 30-for-56 (53.6%) from the field and 11-for-23 (47.8%) from behind the arc. The Wildcats’ field goal percentage was the second-highest by any Upstate opponent this season. The Spartans held a 37-34 advantage on the glass.