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Jan. 12, 2008
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Career-high efforts in points from sophomore Courtney Hawkins (Greer, S.C./Greer) and freshman Kasey Thompson (Marion, Ind./Oak Hill), the USC Upstate women's basketball team fell in its Atlantic Sun Conference home opener to Campbell, 84-70, on Saturday afternoon at the Hodge Center. However, the Spartans couldn't find an answer for the Camels' Marlena Murphy, who tied career highs with 24 points and 18 rebounds to lead Campbell.
"We played really hard," Upstate head coach Tammy George said. "(Murphy) was tough inside for us. We're real undersized for her. (She's) just a great player -- first-team all-conference. We got into some foul trouble, but I'm very proud of the kids. They played hard, they never quit and kept fighting."
Hawkins poured in a career-high 30 points, adding five rebounds, three assists and three steals in the game. She hit 9-of-21 shots from the floor and poured in all 11 of her free-throw attempts, moving her season percentage to 70.2 percent (40-for-57).
Thompson added 17 points, including a career-high four 3-pointers, and also added five rebounds and three assists and two steals. The Indiana native has 10 3-pointers in her last three games and 16 on the season, which is 10th in the school's freshman record book.
The Camels used 40 points in the paint and a dominating 50-29 advantage on the glass, led by the efforts of Murphy, helping negate the Spartans 21-16 advantage in forcing turnovers.
The Camels (6-10 overall, 1-2 A-Sun) used a 13-3 run that occupied 3:41 between the first and second half to turn a 23-22 Spartan lead into a 35-26 advantage. Ashley Williamson posted six points in the half and Murphy added four during the run.
Upstate (4-10 overall, 0-2 A-Sun) answered by cutting the lead to five at 37-32 with 16:47 left in the game after an open layup in the paint by sophomore Shanea Wyant (Lafayette, Ind./Lafayette Jefferson). However, the teams exchanged buckets before a 6-0 run for the Camels gave the Spartans a 45-34 lead with 12:33 left. Murphy posted four during the run.
The Spartans cut the lead back to five at 55-50 with 8:46 remaining, thanks to two clutch 3-pointers from Thompson and a free throw from junior Courtney Bradley (Columbia, S.C./Dutch Fork). However, two fouls on Bradley, the Spartan point guard, in the next 23 seconds disqualified her from the game and helped Campbell go on the decisive 23-11 run over the next 6:35 to give the Camels a 78-61 lead. During the run, Murphy took over with 10 points.
After falling behind 6-0, Upstate answered with an 8-0 run, led by five points from junior Ebony Johnson (Columbia, S.C./Ridgeview), as she capped the run with a corkscrew layup after a steal by junior Cherale Powell (Wilkesboro, N.C./Wilkesboro C.C.) on the front end of a 3-point play. The Spartans kept the game close for much of the first half, and after falling behind 22-20, a jumper from Hawkins and a free throw from Johnson gave the Spartans a 23-22 lead with 3:10 left in the first half.
Johnson tied a season-high with 12 points and added three rebounds, two assists and four steals. Bradley posted three points, three rebounds, two steals and four assists.
Williamson posted 18 points and nine rebounds and Lynisha Ochogu posted 17 points, three rebounds and three steals for the Camels, who snapped a five-game losing streak with the win. Maggie Rich added six assists.
Upstate will stay at home, as Gardner-Webb takes the short trek from Boiling Springs, N.C. to the Hodge Center for a 7 p.m. game Monday.
Upstate is 63-61 all-time against schools from North Carolina and 41-21 inside the Hodge Center..
With her four assists, junior Courtney Bradley tied Jametria Hannah (1988-92) for third in school history with 318 career helpers.
Freshman Kasey Thompson moved into 10th in the school's freshman record book with her fourth 3-pointer of the game and 16th of the season. This was the third straight game Thompson drained at least three 3-pointers.
Freshman Kasey Thompson posted a career-high three assists.
Junior Cherale Powell also posted a career-high three assists and added a career-high three steals.
Sophomore Courtney Hawkins passed the 350-career point mark in the game, and she is one-point shy of passing her freshman year total of 185 points. Her scoring average this season jumped from 11.9 points to 13.2.