Women's hoops falls at USC Upstate, 72-53
Freshman Queen Alford
Freshman Queen Alford
A solid first half helped USC Upstate outlast the Jacksonville University women’s team, 72-53, Saturday in A-Sun action at the Hodge Center.

The Spartans (7-12, 3-5) used two big first-half runs and held the Dolphins (7-12, 3-5) scoreless for the first eight minutes of the second half to set up the win.

Brittany Starling celebrated her 19th birthday with 19 points and 15 boards to lead the Spartans, who shot 45.5 percent from the floor in the first half. Tee’Ara Copney added 13 points off the bench to help the cause.

“We are lot better than what we showed today,” JU head coach Jill Dunn said. “They made us pay dearly for our mistakes. We need to forget about this one quickly and focus on ending this road trip with a victory Monday.”

After a slow start In the first half, Tweety Hawkins made a layup to kick off a 12-1 Spartans run for a 21-10 advantage (8:03). Freshman Queen Alford had two layups off the bench and made a three-pointer in the corner to cut the JU deficit to 23-20 (5:07). The Dolphins rally was short lived as Lauren McRoberts hit a three-pointer in the next possession to spark a 17-3 stretch for a Spartans’ lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

The Dolphins, who shot 25.9 (7-27) percent in the first half, were led by junior Stephanie Edwards with 14 points and three steals. Alford finished with 11 points, while senior Tracie Sneed added 10 points and six boards.

The Dolphins ended their second-half scoring drought with a three-pointer by sophomore Britney Holliday (12:02). Edwards added two layups and three-point play for JU, while two free throws from freshman Briona Brown cut the Dolphins’ deficit to 53-41 with 7:21 remaining. Shelby Hicks hit a layup for the Spartans, while Copney beat the shot clock with a three-pointer and added a three-point play in the next possession to lock up the win.

McRoberts finished with 11 points for the Spartans in the win. Hicks had nine points and Hawkins tallied eight in the victory.

The Dolphins wrap the road trip Monday against East Tennessee State in Johnson City, Tenn., at 7 p.m. Fans can follow the action through the live links at