CHARLESTON, S.C. – Led by a swarming defense and four players in double figures, the Charleston Southern women's basketball team cruised to a 67-52 Big South Women's Basketball Championship First Round win over USC Upstate from the Buc Dome.
Four players finished the game in double figures for CSU (13-17) as Shelby Wilbanks (15 points), Ke'Asia Jackson (14 points), Breannah Bretches (11 points) and Tierra Steede (10 points) made it three-straight wins for the Bucs while Michaela Gibbons and Natala Panufnik ended the night in double figures for USC Upstate (7-23).
The Spartans came out shooting .438 from the floor and held a 20-18 lead after 10 minutes, but a defensive stranglehold over the next 20 minutes flipped the script and gave the Bucs a 24-point second-half lead. In the second and third quarters, CSU outscored the Spartans 34-11 and used 23 turnovers for 25 points on the other end.
The Bucs completed the three-game sweep of the Spartans and moved to 2-0 in all-time matchups with the No. 10 seed in the Big South tournament while collecting their third win as the No. 7 seed. CSU also advanced to the quarterfinals for the fourth-straight season and four-consecutive tournament in which the Bucs won their first game.
After the up-and-down first quarter, CSU put their foot on the gas thanks to Jackson's 14 points and 21 Spartan turnovers to race past USC Upstate 49-32 over the final 30 minutes.
How It Happened
- USC Upstate's Brianna Lewis was able to drive to the rim and create open looks for the Spartans early on as they held a 20-18 margin after the first quarter.
- CSU quickly adjusted defensively while knocking down shots on the other end to close the first half on a 16-2 run and hold the Spartans scoreless over the final 3:48.
- The Bucs kept their foot on the gas outscoring USC Upstate 18-4 in the third and held a lead as large as 24 in the second half for a 52-31 advantage heading into the final quarter.
- CSU held the Spartans to just 11 points over the second and third quarters while Ke'Asia Jackson, Tierra Steede and Breannah Bretches all knocked down key baskets.
- Shelby Wilbanks scored 11 of her team-high 15 in the first quarter then pulled down seven boards and dished out a pair of assists.
- USC Upstate cut into the final margin with a 21-15 fourth, but the Bucs' lead was too much to overcome.
News and Notes
- CSU won their first game in the Big South tournament for the fourth-straight season and advance to the quarterfinals for the fourth-consecutive tournament.
- The Bucs had four players in double figures making it back-to-back games doing so.
- Charleston Southern also improved to 2-0 versus the No. 10 seed, collected their third win as the No. 7 seed and beat the Spartans in their first-ever tournament matchup.
- The Bucs turned 23 Spartan turnovers into 25 points and scored 16 second-chance points on 13 offensive rebounds.
- CSU tied their season-best performance defensively versus a Division-I opponent in holding the Spartans to just 52 points Tuesday.
CSU heads to No. 2 High Point for the Big South quarterfinals seeking their first win over the Panthers this season after taking them to overtime and losing in the final moments earlier. Tipoff is slated for 6 p.m from the Millis Center and can be seen on ESPN3.