Clark and Burley both tally double-doubles in the loss
SPARTANBURG, S.C. (March 11, 2014) – The ETSU women’s basketball team took a 34-31 advantage into halftime but watched USC Upstate storm back to take a lead with 12:37 left to play, resulting in a 76-66 defeat on Tuesday evening inside the Hodge Center in the quarterfinals of the 2014 Atlantic Sun Championship.
With the loss, ETSU ends the season 9-21 overall, while USC Upstate improves to 17-13 on the year. The Bucs also finish the year with a 5-13 conference record.
Like it has in the previous two meetings between the two teams this season, the contest started out hotly contested. Neither team accumulated a lead of more than four points through the first eight minutes of play. Trailing by two points with 11:50 to go in the first half, the Bucs went on an 8-0 run to take a 20-14 advantage with 9:25 left in the period. The Blue & Gold maintained a lead throughout the half with strong play in the paint from Serena Clark (Stone Mountain, Ga.) and Tiana Burley (Camilla, Ga.). With 1:53 to go in the half, Shawn Randall (Orlando, Fla.) nailed a jumper to allow ETSU to go into the break leading, 34-31. This advantage was the third time this season the Bucs have gone into halftime with a lead against the Spartans.
Much like the first half, the second period started off back and forth. Following ETSU holding a lead over the first seven minutes of the half, Upstate responded with a surge to take 46-45 lead with 12:35 left to play. This burst then turned into a 13-5 run over the next five minutes to allow the Spartans to take their largest lead of the game, 59-50. The Blue & Gold tried to methodically chip away at its deficit, but were answered by Upstate routinely. Within four points with 1:36 to go, the Spartans knocked down their free throws down the stretch to seal the game, 76-66.
For USC Upstate, Brittany Clency led the way with a game-high 22 points, while Brittany Starling posted 18 and Valese McAllister added 16. Meanwhile, both Burley and Clark notched double-doubles with Burley totaling 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Clark tallied her 10th double-double of the season with 13 points and 13 rebounds. In addition, Shamauria Bridges (Miramar, Fla.) added 12 points.
Shooting 39 percent from the field, the Spartans also shot a stellar 84 percent (21-of-25) from the free-throw line. Furthermore, Upstate recorded a dominant 46 points in the paint and turned 19 ETSU turnovers into 16 points. Additionally, Upstate got out on the break for 10 points and corralled 17 offensive rebounds.
ETSU shot identically to USC Upstate at 39 percent and converted on its limited opportunities at the free-throw line with 9-of-10 makes. The Bucs also translated 19 offensive rebounds into 20 second-chance points and assisted on 15 of their 27 made field goals. In addition, the Blue & Gold outrebounded the Spartans, 47-41, and got 22 points from its bench.
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