CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern goes for a regular season sweep as well as back-to-back wins over USC Upstate after taking a 78-75 decision in Spartanburg just three weeks prior. The win at the G.B. Hodge Center snapped a skid of back-to-back losses to the Spartans and gave the Bucs their first win in Spartanburg since the turn of the century.
Shelby Wilbanks scored a team-high 22 points, her second 20-point effort in as many weeks, to counter Brianna Lewis' 22 points for USC Upstate. Wilbanks drilled a baseline jumper with just :23 seconds on the clock to give the Bucs a lead they wouldn't relinquish down the stretch.
A Rachel Burns free throw put CSU up 78-75 and the Spartans had a good look on a corner three-ball to tie it at the buzzer, but it rimmed-out and CSU survived for what was their second Big South road win in as many tries.
USC Upstate makes their conference debut inside the Buc Dome and just their second trip to CSU's campus since 2000 when they took an 80-68 decision on Nov. 16, 2007. Charleston Southern looks to continue their in-state success as they enter the weekend 2-1 against Big South institutions that call the Palmetto State home.
Saturday's home game against USC Upstate is the American Heart Association game sponsored by Trident Health. The Charleston Southern women's basketball team has made it a mission to teach hands-only CPR to every varsity sport as well as spreading the message across campus this season. Any fan who comes to the game and wants to learn hands-only CPR will receive a red 'I Heart CSU' t-shirt.
Last Time Out
- Senior guard Breannah Bretches became the latest Buccaneer with 20-plus points in a contest as she paced a Charleston Southern offense that shot .448 from the floor and used 26 points off turnovers for a 70-59 win over long-time Big South rival UNC Asheville Tuesday night from the Buc Dome.
- Bretches scored a team-high 20 points in the win, just one shy of tying her career-best 21 from two seasons ago, to help Charleston Southern (7-14, 4-6 Big South) snap UNC Asheville's (11-10, 6-4 Big South) six-game win streak. Bretches was joined in double figures by fellow seniors Shelby Wilbanks (17 points, three rebounds), Weknyne Dumorne (13 points, six rebounds) and Rachel Burns (12 points, three steals) in the win.
- Charleston Southern set the tone early forcing six UNC Asheville turnovers and just two field goals for a 17-5 lead through 10 minutes. The Bucs never trailed in the contest after the 17-5 opening run and held a margin as wide as 16 in the first half.
- The Bulldogs were led offensively by Nadira Evans' 21 points and Jessica Wall added 14 of her 20 in the second half to try and will a comeback, but the Bucs never surrendered the lead.
- Points off turnovers, second chance points and an early shooting funk proved to be the difference Tuesday night with CSU forcing 19 Bulldogs turnovers into 26 points on the other end and scoring 15 second-chance tallies.
Scouting the Spartans
- USC Upstate still leads the Big South Conference with 7.0 three-point field goals made per game and are paced by Brianna Lewis' Big South-leading 18.0 points per contest.
- The trio of Lewis, Riley Popplewell (11.9 ppg) and DeNisha Swain (10.6 ppg) still sit among the top-20 in the Big South in scoring and account for 62% of the Spartans' offense.
- Brianna Lewis matched CSU's Shelby Wilbanks with a game-high 22 points and Michaela Gibbons added 21 - all coming from the three-point line - in the loss.
- Popplewell sits second among the Big South in rebounds (8.4 rpg) while Lewis is fifth in field goal percentage (.429), first in assists (5.3 apg) and seventh in steals (2.4 spg).
A Win on Saturday Would
- Give the Bucs a three-game win streak inside Big South play for the first time this season.
- Become CSU's first three-game win streak of the season.
- Complete a regular season sweep of USC Upstate after defeating the Spartans 78-75 on Jan. 19 in Spartanburg, S.C.
- Give head coach Fred Applin a perfect 2-0 record against USC Upstate.
Extra Basketball On Tap
- Charleston Southern has played many close games this season with seven of their nine Big South contests being decided by just single digits and two going to overtime.
- CSU has played three overtime games this season, all coming on the road and two occurring just seven days apart.
- The Bucs are 1-2 this season when playing an extra five minutes with losses at North Florida and High Point and a win at Presbyterian.
- In their first overtime win of the season, CSU shutout Presbyterian 8-0 after the Blue Hose erased a fourth-quarter deficit to force extra time.
- CSU also has the most single-digit losses in the Big South Conference this season with seven total including an 83-75 decision at SEC and National power Georgia.
Weekend Road Warriors
- Of the Bucs' six wins this season, three have come on the road and four on Saturdays.
- Each of CSU's road Big South wins have also come on a Saturday - Longwood, USC Upstate and Presbyterian.
- Each of CSU's last two Saturday contests have also gone to overtime with the Bucs owning a 1-1 record.