Women’s Hoops Advances to WBI Quarterfinals With 85-71 Victory Over Upstate
CHARLESTON, SC -
Playing in their first postseason game on home court since 2010, the College of Charleston women’s basketball team downed the Spartans of USC Upstate on Thursday night, 85-71, at TD Arena to advance to the quarterfinals of the Women’s Basketball Invitational for the second consecutive season.
The College (18-14), will now square-off against another Atlantic-Sun opponent in the Norse of Northern Kentucky University, who the Cougars defeated last season in the opening round of the WBI, 72-70, in Highland Heights, Ky.
Against the Spartans, the Cougars were led by senior Alyssa Frye who knocked down six three-pointers en route to a game-high 21 points. Fellow senior Afreyea Tolbert also had 10 points and eight rebounds while junior center Mikaela Hopkins scored 17 points, pulled down five boards and blocked three shots to help give the Cougars their 11th home win of the season.
After winning the opening tip, the Cougars jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead, courtesy of a mid-range jumper from senior point guard Jill Brown. As both teams struggled to shoot the ball, the Spartans slowly crept back in to the game, eventually taking a 13-12 lead at the 11:57 mark of the first half, thanks to a transition bucket Travonda Haddock.
It would be the Spartans’ only lead of the game, as baskets from Hopkins, Frye and CAA all-rookie honoree Bre Bolden reasserted the Cougars’ eight point lead, 25-17 with just 6:19 to play in the opening stanza. After trading baskets over the remaining six minutes, a late free throw from junior Darlington, S.C, native Jazz Green gave The College a seven point, 36-29 lead as both teams made their way to the locker rooms at halftime.
In the second half, another deep trey from Frye – a second team all-CAA selection – put the Cougars up 10, 39-29 with 19:45 to go in the game. The Cougars frustrated the Spartans defensively in the second half, playing mostly zone, which closed down the lanes and forced Upstate – which came in to the game shooting just 36% from the field and 28% from behind the arc – to settle for jumps shots.
Despite their offensive woes, the Spartans closed the Cougar advantage to just seven with 12:09 to play, following a jumper from Sharmayne Edwards, but that was as close as the Spartanburg outfit would come, as a triple from junior sharp-shooter Erin Hall and a nice put-back from freshman Jasmine Carter gave the Cougars a commanding 12-point lead, 58-46, with 10:35 to play.
The Cougars would go on to extend their lead to as many as 17 points after a turn-around jumper from Carter at the 2:33 mark. A late Maddie Herr three-pointer proved too little too late for Upstate, as the Cougars walked away 85-71 winners.
Next up for The College is a quarterfinal showdown with Northern Kentucky, this Saturday, Mar. 22, at TD Arena, with tip-off set for 7:00 p.m.
POST GAME QUOTES:
College of Charleston Head Coach Natasha Adair
On her team’s opening round win…
“In the first half, it seemed like there was a lid on the rim…our shots just weren’t falling. But I thought we were playing hard, with energy and played some pretty good defense so we told the team at halftime to stick to the plan and keep competing. I’m really proud of our effort tonight.”
“Next up is Northern Kentucky, here at TD Arena on Saturday at 7 p.m. It’s a privilege to be able to play here on our home court and we’re very thankful for that opportunity. We played Northern last season in the opening round (WBI) at their place and were able to get a win. They are a disciplined, well-coached team who will demand our best effort. I can’t wait to get back out there.”