SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The College of Charleston women’s basketball team escaped from the G. B. Hodge Center on Sunday evening with a dramatic 75-71 victory over the Spartans of South Carolina Upstate.
Down by as many as 17 points in the second half, the Cougars (2-2) mounted a furious comeback, going on a 13-2 run over a five minute span late in the game to tie it up at 65-65 with 4:15 to play.
After Upstate (2-3) took a one point lead with just over two minutes remaining, freshman Breanna Bolden came up with a crucial steal and layup to give the Cougars their first lead since the 15:03 mark of the first half. After two critical defensive stops and with the game on the line, both Bolden and Frye knocked down free-throws to see out the victory and give the Cougars a well-deserved win.
The game started out in favor of the Spartans, who capitalized on 16 first-half turnovers from the Cougars in front of a decided home crowd, eventually taking a 38-27 lead in to the half.
After seeing the Spartans extend their lead to 17 with 13:38 left in the game, the Cougars began to turn up the heat.
The turning point in the game came with 8:54 remaining, when junior Erin Hall hit back-to-back treys within 20 seconds to cut an 11 point game to just five with 8:26 left.
The Cougars were led on the night by senior Afreyea Tolbert who had 16 points and nine rebounds in 35 minutes of action. Tolbert also shot 6-6 from the charity stripe and had two steals.
Tolbert’s back court mates, Frye, Hall and Bolden combined for 34 points while Jazz Green pulled down eight rebounds and senior point guard Jill Brown dropped another four dimes.
The Cougars overcame their first-half woes by shooting 42.9% over the final 20 minutes and shot 80% from the free-throw line as a team.
The Spartans were led by Sharmayne Edwards, who had 17 points and 6 rebounds.
Next up for the Cougars is a Sun, Nov. 23, showdown at UNC Greensboro. Tip-off is set for 2:00 p.m.
Head Coach Natasha Adair
On her team’s resolve…
“I’m very proud of our players and coaches; this was a great team win. Any time you can grind out a road win, that’s a good thing. The character of this team is taking shape and I loved our fight tonight.”
On her team’s second-half performance…
“We just refused to lose tonight. I was especially proud of the efforts of Bolden, Tolbert, Green and Brown– they were good tonight. The game came down to stops and free-throws. We changed things defensively and our players responded. Shooting 80% from the line helped too.”
Senior Guard Alyssa Frye
On her team’s comeback…
“It was a determined performance. Despite the tough start, we had one thing on our mind, get a score and then get a stop. We stayed positive and we came together as a team. Erin Hall knocked down some big time shots and we started executing. I’m proud of the way we fought back"