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Dec. 3, 2007
CHARLESTON, S.C. - After shooting 18 percent from beyond-the-arc in the last four games, the USC Upstate women's basketball team caught fire from downtown on Monday night at John Kresse Arena, hitting 50 percent of its trifectas (12-for-24) to down the College of Charleston, 73-62. The win snaps a two-game drought for the Spartans (3-5 overall) and is the team's first win against the Southern Conference in 11 years and first-ever in 15 meetings with the Cougars (1-6 overall).
"We know we're a good-shooting team and we've had trouble the last four games," Upstate head coach Tammy George said. "We got some good shots on Monday night. We made our first couple and got our confidence up and that helped us shoot very well."
Sophomore Courtney Hawkins (Greer, S.C./Greer) led a contingent of three Spartans (3-5 overall) in double figures, as she posted 21 points, hitting 4-of-7 from 3-point land and 5-of-6 from the free throw line to ice the game. She added six rebounds and three assists in the game.
Freshman Oceana Jackson (Carnesville, Ga./Franklin County) posted her second straight strong outing with 17 points and four rebounds. Jackson hit 6-of-13 shots from the field and became the first Spartan to reach 100 points at the Division I level in the game.
However, the night's honors belonged to junior Courtney Bradley (Columbia, S.C./Dutch Fork) who posted 14 points, four 3-pointers and six assists. In the process, she became the 30th player in school history to reach 500 career points, finishing the game with 501, and passed Sarah Jansen (1999-2004) for fifth in career assists at Upstate, finishing the game with 299. Her four 3-pointers left her one shy of 100 in her career, which would make her just the fourth to reach 100 in a career.
"It was another great night for her," George said. "She played a lot of minutes. She looked for her shot Monday and she shot very well. She handled the ball well for us and was a great leader."
Freshman Tiffany Whiting (Troutman, N.C./South Iredell) rebounded from a two-game stretch with no 3-pointers by connecting on three in four chances and added two rebounds and two assists. Junior Ebony Johnson (Columbia, S.C./Ridgeview) added four points and seven rebounds and sophomore Shanea Wyant (Lafayette, Ind./Lafayette Jefferson) posted three points and a team-high nine rebounds for the Spartans.
Charleston cut the lead down to 10 with 2:05 left, using a 7-0 run and a full-court press to fluster the Spartans. From there, the Spartans were sent to the line to win the game, where they hit seven free throws in the final two minutes to close out the game.
The Cougars crawled within nine at 52-43 after a free throw from Jill Furstenburg with 7:06 left, but the Spartans responded with two 3-pointers from Hawkins and a free throw from Jackson to take a 59-43 lead with 6:18 left. The Cougars once again cut into the lead, coming within 13 with 3:54 left, but Whiting answered with a three from the left side to stretch the lead to 16.
The Spartans saw their lead drop to nine with 13:01 left in the second half after a jumper by Tonia Gerty, but responded with five straight points, as Bradley bombed her fourth trifecta of the night and Jackson hit a turnaround jumper as the shot clock expired to make it 50-36.
Upstate shot 50 percent (7-for-14) from downtown in the first half, led by three trifectas from Bradley and two from Whiting to help them take a 12-point lead into intermission.
Upstate jumped out to an early 12-2 lead, thanks to two workmanlike baskets from Jackson and 3-pointers from Bradley and Hawkins. From there, the Spartans rolled, finding their outside shot, as Whiting hit two trifectas and freshman Kasey Thompson (Marion, Ind./Oak Hill) also added one to give the team a 25-7 lead with 8:30 left in the first half.
The Cougars heated up after that, and a 3-pointer and fast break layup from Ericka Williams and a reverse layup from Sarah Moye cut the lead to nine at 34-25, but Bradley spotted up on a 3-pointer from the left side on a broken play as time expired in the first half to give the Spartans a 12-point lead at the half.
Upstate will finish the early portion of its schedule on Thursday when it travels to Georgia Tech for a 7 p.m. game before the team takes a three-week break from competition, hosting Bethune-Cookman on New Year's Eve in a 7 p.m. game.
Upstate is 26-40 all-time against Southern Conference opponents, last beating a SoCon team on Dec. 7, 1996 (Western Carolina, 74-61).
The Spartans are 1-14 all-time against the Cougars. All the games previously played came before the Spartans moved to the NCAA in 1990.
Junior Courtney Bradley hit four 3-pointers, giving her 99 in her career, one away from becoming the fourth player in school history to reach 100. She is one away from becoming the fifth player in school history to reach 300 career assists.
Junior Courtney Bradley tied Sarah Jansen (1999-2004) for fifth in school history with 295 assists on a no-look inbounds pass to freshman Tiffany Whiting, who drilled a 3-pointer with 12:01 left in the first half. She passed Jansen with a dish to junior Ebony Johnson for a jumper with 1:57 left in the first half.
With her free throw with 2:37 remaining in the game, junior Courtney Bradley became the 30th player in school history to reach 500 career points.
Junior Ebony Johnson posted her 50th career steal with a swipe with 5:48 remaining in the first half.
Freshman Oceana Jackson became the 47th rookie in Upstate history to reach 100 points when she hit a twisting layup in the lane with 17:22 left in the first half.
Freshman Tiffany Whiting hit three 3-pointers, after a two-game stretch without a 3-pointer.