By Carey Phillips
USC-Upstate pulled away late in the game to claim a 70-62 non-conference women’s basketball victory from Western Carolina on Nov. 12 at USC-U.
Brianna Lewis scored 20 points for the Lady Spartans. Michaela Gibbons added 16, and Jada Logan had 10.
Jewel Smalls had a double-double for the Lady Cats with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Andrea Martin-Ruiz and Alyssa Walker scored 13 and 12 points, respectively.
WCU led 48-47 on Tembre Moates’ follow shot to open the fourth quarter.
Gibbons countered with a pair of three-pointers giving USC-U the lead for good, 53-48, at the 7:50 mark.
Lewis’ trey made it 60-54 with 5:43 on the clock.
A pair of baskets by Smalls cut the gap to 60-58 with 4:28 remaining.
The Lady Spartans scored the next seven points for the game’s largest lead, 67-58, on Logan’s free throw with 32 seconds to play.
The game was close from the beginning with four ties and six lead changes in the first period.
A three-pointer by Smalls gave WCU a 17-16 edge at the 1:30 mark. Anda Kuzmina hit a trey 10 seconds later putting USC-U up 19-17.
Logan’s basket with 16 seconds left made it 21-17 at the quarter break.
An 8-2 run, including four by Kathryn Kirkwood, extended the margin to 30-23 with five minutes to go in the half.
Walker and Lauren LaPlant hit three-pointers in a 12-3 spurt as Western took a 35-33 edge on Moates’ basket with 35 seconds on the clock.
Lewis scored with 12 seconds to go for a 35-35 halftime tie.
Judith Martin-Ruiz opened the second half with a three-pointer for a 38-35 lead with 9:16 to go in the third period.
After five lead changes and a tie, the Lady Spartans went up 45-43 on Gibbons’ three-pointer at the 1:28 mark.
They were in front 47-46 entering the fourth quarter.
Stats were close with the Lady Cats making 42.4 percent of their field goal tries and USC-U hitting 42.6 percent.
The Lady Spartans had a 36-34 rebounding edge. Kirkwood led the way with eight.
Both teams had 14 turnovers.
Completing the WCU scoring were Moates with eight, LaPlant and Judith Martin-Ruiz with five apiece and Mia Littlejohn with two.