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Dec. 1, 2009
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - For the first time in the Division I era, six USC Upstate women's basketball players posted double-figure efforts and an active Upstate defense forced 21 Winston-Salem State turnovers on Tuesday night at the C.E. Gaines Center. It all added up to head coach Tammy George's 50th career win at USC Upstate, doing so against her former college teammate, as the Spartans posted an 84-60 non-conference win.
George is the fourth Upstate coach in school history to reach 50 career wins, tying Tammy Holder's mark of 50 set from 1988-91 and she did it against Winston-Salem State's Dee Stokes, who played with George at Charlotte, as the two both graduated in 1993.
"To say this was a team win is an understatement," George said. "We were able to use everyone (Tuesday) and they all played significant minutes and contributed. To have six players in double figures, and to keep Winston-Salem State to just 26 rebounds, those are both really very nice achievements. We struggled somewhat offensively at times, but we never really let them into the game and I am very proud of that. It was just a great team win."
Upstate also improved to 5-2, the team's best start in the D-I era, as it shot 43.6 percent compared to 51 percent by Winston-Salem State (2-5 overall). However, Upstate used 14 offensive rebounds and a 40-26 advantage on the glass overall to go with a plus-five advantage in turnovers to hoist up 13 more shots. A 22-7 advantage in free throws made helped keep Upstate in control for most of the game, as the Spartans shot 82 percent from the line while the Lady Rams shot just 44 percent.
The Spartans were able to build a six-point lead in the first three and a half minutes of the game thanks to a pair of treys from sophomore Kendra Wallace (Hurricane, W.Va./Nitro) that gave Upstate an 8-2 advantage. The Rams cut the lead to four points, but a 3-pointer from junior Sharniece Wadelington (Greenville, S.C./UNC Greensboro) started a 9-4 run that was capped by a jumper from Wadelington, putting Upstate up 19-8 with 10:55 left, as Upstate used nine Rams' turnovers in the first nine minutes to build the lead.
Four straight points from Richardson gave Upstate a 31-15 lead with 4:24 left and from there, the Rams cut the lead to 10 before a layup from junior Kim Pitman (Plumtree, N.C./Avery) and a pair of free throws from Wadelington helped Upstate to the locker room with a 37-25 advantage.
In the second half, a 20-8 run by the Spartans occupied the first eight minutes of the half. By the time junior Chelsea McMillan (East Gadsden, Fla./Santa Fe C.C.) capped the run with a three-point play, she had scored seven points in the run while senior Koko Richardson (Mary Esther, Fla./Santa Fe C.C.) had added five. The lead never dropped back below 20 and Upstate kept working, as an 11-0 run led by five points from freshman Tee'Ara Copney (Asheville, N.C./T.C. Roberson) gave the Spartans a 70-39 lead with 7:04 left.
Vontisha Woods helped the Lady Rams close the gap a bit, as she scored 14 of her 16 points in the second half, helping to cut the Spartans' lead to the final 84-60 margin by leadng the Rams' 21-14 run that occupied the games' final seven minutes.
McMillan led the Spartans in scoring for the third time this season, as she scored 15 points and added seven rebounds and a blocked shots. Richardson added 13 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals. Three players finished with 11 points, as senior Courtney Hawkins (Greer, S.C./Greer), Wallace and Wadelington each finished at the number. Hawkins also added two assists and two steals, Wallace, who led Upstate with three 3-pointers, added three assists and Wadelington posted four rebounds, two assists and three steals. Copney also added 10 points, four rebounds and a steal.
Sophomore Lesley Daniel (Collinwood, Tenn./Collinwood) added seven points, three assists and two rebounds. Pitman posted four points and four rebounds in the post and freshman Lauren McRoberts (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) added two points, two assists and three rebounds.
Woods tied for the Lady Rams' rebounding lead with four and Shawanda Hanton posted nine points, five assists and four rebounds. Chloe Morse added eight points and four rebounds and Elizabeth Maas notched three blocks.
The Spartans will now into a two-week break for midterms before retaking the court when they travel to Clemson for a 7 p.m. game on Tuesday, Dec. 15.
Upstate is 8-7 all-time against schools from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, but it is 4-1 since moving to D-I in 2007.
Senior Courtney Hawkins is just one trey away from becoming the fifth player in school history to reach 100 in a career.
With her two steals, senior Courtney Hawkins passed Heather Abrams' seventh-best mark in school history of 161 steals set from 1993-97. Hawkins now has 162 in her career.
Sophomore Kendra Wallace has hit a 3-pointer in a career-high 14 straight games, including in all seven games of this season ... the stretch is now the fifth-longest in school history.
Senior Koko Richardson tied a season high with 13 points and set one with two steals in the game.
Upstate is now 14-5 (.737) in the D-I era when it scores 70 or more points.