Charleston Women win WBI opener over USC Upstate

Charleston Women advance to quarterfinals of the Women's Basketball Invitational. Photo courtesy of

Charleston Women advance to quarterfinals of the Women’s Basketball Invitational.
Photo courtesy of

The women’s basketball team beat South Carolina Upstate, 85-71, on Thursday night to advance to the quarterfinal round of the Women’s Basketball Invitational.

In their first home postseason game since 2010, the Cougars led most of the way and extended their lead to as much as 17 in the second half.

Charleston broke out to a quick 8-0 lead to open the game, before the Spartans took a one-point lead midway through the first half. The Cougars responded with another run to extend their lead back to eight and led by seven at halftime.

Senior guard Alyssa Frye found her shooting groove again after a rough performance in the Cougars’ CAA semifinals loss to Delaware. Frye scored a game high 21 points, knocking down six three pointers, and added seven rebounds.

Frye would get the second half rolling for Charleston, burying a three to open the half to extend the lead to 10.

Upstate closed the gap to seven with just over 12 minutes to play, but a jumper from junior Erin Hall and a put back by freshman Jasmine Carter extended the Cougars’ lead back to double digits, which Charleston held for the final 10 minutes of play.

“I thought we were playing hard, with energy and played some pretty good defense so we told the team at halftime to stick to the plan and keep competing. I’m really proud of our effort tonight,” Head Coach Natasha Adair said.

Junior center Mikaela Hopkins scored 17 points, while senior guard Afreyea Tolbert filled the box score with 10 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists.

Charleston will now face Northern Kentucky in the quarterfinal round at TD Arena on Saturday night, a rematch of the 2013 WBI opening round in which the Cougars won 72-70.

“It’s a privilege to be able to play here on our home court and we’re very thankful for that opportunity. We played Northern last season in the opening round at their place and were able to get a win. They are a disciplined, well-coached team who will demand our best effort. I can’t wait to get back out there,” Adair said.

Saturday’s game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. General admission is $5, while students are admitted for free with their College ID.

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