WBB Game Preview: USC Upstate

WBB Game Preview: USC Upstate

Saturday, January 19
CSU at USC Upstate
G.B. Hodge Center – Spartanburg, S.C.
2 p.m. | Live Stats | ESPN+
CSU Notes (PDF)

CHARLESTON, S.C. – CSU looks to rebound after falling at home to preseason favorite Radford Tuesday night and collect their second-straight Big South road win. Shelby Wilbanks has been a go-to scoring option over the past week-plus averaging 14.0 points per contest over her past four outings.

The Bucs get their first crack at USC Upstate in over a decade when the two meet for the inaugural time as Big South foes. The Spartans lead the all-time series, but Saturday marks just the third matchup since the Spartans jumped to the Division I level.

CSU's defense will have a tough task as three of the top-15 scorers in the Big South reside in the USC Upstate lineup, paced by Brianna Lewis' 19.5 points per game – tops in the conference. Riley Popplewell (11.8) and DeNisha Swain (11.2) sit 12th and 14th, respectively, and round out a trio of Spartans that make up the Big South's second-highest scoring offense.

For Openers

  • The Bucs kick off a four-game road swing with their first trip to USC Upstate as Big South foes Saturday afternoon. CSU will head to High Point, Gardner-Webb and Presbyterian across the four-game stretch.
  • Saturday's matchup is the first in over a decade between the in-state foes and just the third all-time meeting with the Spartans competing at the Division I level. USC Upstate is 2-0 in those meetings as head coach Tammy George was on the sideline in both Spartan wins.
  • Charleston Southern gets their first look at both Hampton and USC Upstate early in the slate as the Bucs opened with the Pirates just two weeks ago and head to Spartanburg Saturday. CSU will make the return trip to Hampton while the Spartans also make their Buc Dome debut later in 2019.
  • CSU looks to get back in the win column and make it back-to-back road victories after an 81-74 takedown of Longwood on Jan. 12 in Farmville.

Last Time Out

  • Paced by three double-doubles Tuesday night, Radford used an early 14-2 run to pull ahead for good and down the Charleston Southern women's basketball team 67-41 in Big South play from the Buc Dome.
  • CSU (4-12, 1-4 Big South) saw another double-digit performance from Shelby Wilbanks, who had 30 in a win Saturday, but it wasn't enough to match double-doubles from Lydia Rivers, Sydney Nunley and Savannah Felgemacher from Radford (10-6, 4-1 Big South) in the loss.
  • Wilbanks' 11 paced the Bucs while Ke'Asia Jackson added nine and Weknyne Dumorne pulled down a team-best eight boards.
  • Radford shook off a slow start to shoot over .500 over the final two quarters on their way to a .426 total mark. CSU won the offensive rebound battle 19-16, but only shot .238 from the floor.

Scouting the Spartans

  • USC Upstate boasts the second-highest scoring offense in the Big South and shoot an even .400 from the floor - good for second as well. The Spartans also aren't afraid to shoot it from deep as they average a conference-best 7.4 treys per game.
  • The Spartans also rank second in assists per contest (13.2) and fourth in steals (11.2).
  • USC Upstate is led by a trio of Brianna Lewis, Riley Popplewell and DeNisha Swain who all sit among the top-15 in scoring as Lewis paces the Big South at a scorching 19.5 points per contest. Popplewell adds 11.8 for 12th in the league and Swain sits 14th at 11.2 points per game.
  • Popplewell also averages a near double-double with 8.2 boards per game trailing on Radford's Lydia Rivers.
  • Lewis also leads the Big South with 5.9 assists per game and is responsible for over 13 field goals per contest between scoring and assists. Lewis also plays 37.5 minutes per game - almost two more than Radford's Destinee Walker.

A Win on Saturday Would

  • Give the Bucs back-to-back Big South road wins for the first time this season and first time since a pair of wins at Presbyterian and Longwood last season.
  • Give the Bucs a win in their first conference clash with the Spartans after 10 previous battles.
  • End a two-game skid against the Spartans after USC Upstate took both matchups this century in 2007 and 2008.
  • Give the Bucs a win over nine of the other 10 Big South institutions with a chance to make it all 10 later in the season against Hampton.
  • Make the Bucs a perfect 1-0 under Fred Applin against the Spartans and hand USC Upstate's Tammy George her first loss in the head-to-head series.