Upstate WBB, Wofford, PC, Converse Updates
Upstate Women’s Basketball Rolling
Things have been going well for the USC Upstate Women’s basketball team as of late. The Spartans sit at 6-2 with their two losses coming to Clemson and Florida.
Upstate has won 4 straight games and five out of the last six. The four in a row include wins over Mars Hill, Western Carolina, UNC Greensboro, and Jacksonville. Prior to the win over Jacksonville on Monday the Spartans had lost eight in a row to the Dolphins.
Coach Burke credits a lot of the teams early success to the teams new players who have come in and breathed new energy into the program.
Red-shirt sophomore Chellia Watson leads the team in scoring averaging 14.9 points per game while the second leading scorer is Freshman Rachel Rose with 13.3 points per game. Senior Molly Coleman has also been a big part of the scoring for the Spartans averaging 11.3 points per game so far in her senior campaign.
Upstate has three more basketball games this week. A home game on Wednesday at 6pm against Bob Jones University, followed by back to back games on the road against Morehead State on Saturday at 2pm and then Kentucky on Sunday at 2pm. After those three games the Spartans will take 10 days off before starting Big South Conference play on the 29th vs Presbyterian.
PC Basketball Loses Two Close Games
The Presbyterian College Blue Hose lost 2 games last week by a combined 7 points to Morehead St. and the College of Charleston.
Last Sunday, PC Head Coach Quinton Farrell returned to CofC, where he was an assistant for 5 years, and the Blue Hose played their hearts out. Two missed shots at the end of regulation and a missed shot at the end of Overtime, and PC wound up just short in the 78-76 loss. Rayshon Harrison and Winston Hill each had 26 points.
This week, PC has 2 home games. We’ll host Carver on Wednesday night before the Wofford Terriers visit the Templeton Center Saturday at 4:00. This will be the first time since 2015 that the Blue Hose and Terries have squared off. Wofford won that day 68-58. These two were supposed to meet in 2020, but the game got cancelled due to covid.
Wofford Basketball Off to Good Start
The Wofford Terriers are off to a 7-4 start to the season. They have already had a huge upset, having beaten Georgia on the road 68-65 back on November 28th. They’ve also beaten Bob Jones, Erskine, Hampton, Georgia Southern, Gardner-Webb, and Kennesaw State. Their losses have come to South Carolina, Clemson, Richmond, and Coastal Carolina.
Through the first 11 games of the season, the Terriers have 3 players averaging in double digit points per game in sophomore guard Max Klesmit (15 ppg), Junior Forward BJ Mack (14.5 ppg), and senior Guard Ryan Larson (10.5 ppg). That trio has combined for over 400 points already, with Klesmit leading all scorers with 165 points. Larson leads the team in 3 point shooting, going 22-49 from behind the arch, while BJ Mack leads in all other offensive statistical categories except for assists (Larson, with 46).
Defensively, the same trio has combined to force 76 turnovers, with 41 steals.
Over the last week, Wofford went 1-1, picking up a 78-70 win on the road at Gardner-Webb on Wednesday and dropping a heartbreaker Sunday at Coastal Carolina 60-59. Against GWU, BJ Mack recorded a double-double with a new career high 28 points and 13 rebounds.
Sunday at Coastal, the Terriers trailed big, much like South Carolina did against Florida State. Wofford chipped their way back into the game with a huge 15-0 run to tie it at 51 on a huge 2 from the game’s leading scorer Max Klesmit (15 points, 6-6 from the charity stripe). The Terriers took a 59-56 lead with under a minute to play on a clutch 3 from BJ Mack before 2 costly fouls allowed the Chants to reclaim the lead by 1. It came down to the final shot, a deep heave from near half court that Klesmit missed by mere inches.
This week, Wofford will have just 1 game as they will travel to Clinton on Saturday to take on PC at the Templeton Center at 4:00.
Freshman Making Impact for Converse
The Converse Valkyries men’s team dropped a tough one last Saturday to Lees-McRae 87-80. Eli Pitts led the team with 23 points, one of four players in double figures on the night. Coach Ryan Saunders team battled from down 18 points to cut the lead to 4, but they couldn’t quite get over the hump. Converse now sits at 4-4 overall, and 3-3 in conference play.
The team will now have it’s first road test of the season on Wednesday, as they play at UNC-Pembroke, followed by a game at Gardner-Webb on Friday. This will be the beginning of five straight road games for the Valkyries after starting the season with eight straight at home.
Freshmen have been a big part of the early success for the team, but I think the more experienced players like Wes Morgan and Jordan Warlick will need to step up in these road games. These two, along with leading scorers Jimmie Sanders and Sigurd Lorange (both 16.3 PPG) will need to create some big plays to keep the home crowds from being a factor. The team is shooting just 29% on three pointers on the season, and that number will need to improve if they want to come out of this stretch with a winning record.