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Griswold, Furman Clip USC Upstate In Overtime, 85-80

Kaitlin Murphy
Kaitlin Murphy

SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Teshia Griswold scored 21 points and tallied a game tying layup with eight seconds to go in regulation to force overtime to help Furman claim an 85-80 victory over host USC Upstate in women's basketball action Saturday afternoon at the Hodge Center.

The victory snapped a six-game losing skid for Furman (4-7), which had last won on Nov. 24 against Mercer prior to the Saturday's win over USC Upstate (4-7).

"Right now I'm out of breath.  I felt like I was in the game," said Paladin head coach Jackie Carson after the contest, which marked Furman's first road win of the season.  "That was a great win for our team.  Our players never gave up.  We started off the second half with a nice run, then they answered with some 3-pointers and free throws to take the lead.  After that we just battled, hung in there, and forced overtime.  It was a great team effort."

Freshman Holli Wilkins, whose layup with 1:03 remaining in overtime, put Furman ahead for good, 81-80, set a new season high with 16 points, and Kaitlin Murphy, whose steal set up Wilkins' go-ahead basket in the extra frame, converted all four free throw opportunities in the final minute to secure the victory and finish with 14 points.  Murphy also tallied a pair of assists and a game high five steals.

Brittany Hodges rounded out Furman's double figure scoring effort with 10 points to go along with a game high 11 rebounds.

Griswold punctuated her solid play with eight rebounds, including seven on the offensive glass.

The contest also marked the return of forward Sarah Durdaller, who had been sidelined since Nov. 24 with a broken foot.  The Paladin sophomore tallied nine points, six rebounds, and two assists in 24 minutes of action.

Upstate's Tee'Ara Copney led all scorers with 22 points but was whistled for her fifth foul with two seconds remaining in regulation after Griswold knotted the game at 72-72.

Leading 35-33 at intermission, Furman used a 7-2 run over the first two and half minutes of the second half to assume a 42-35 advantage on a layup by Brigid Morrissey.

The Paladins led 44-37 before the Spartans fashioned a 13-1 run to take a 50-45 lead following a pair of Brittany Starling free throws with 12:20 remaininig.

Upstate enjoyed its biggest lead of the game, 63-53, with just under six minutes remaining before Furman battled back on the strength of 3-pointers by Murphy and Erica Norwood to make it 67-65 at the 3:49 juncture.

The Spartans got a 3-pointer and two free throws from Copney to push their advantage to 72-65, but Furman answered with the final seven points in regulation, getting a 3-point play from Griswold, two Durdaller free throws, and Griswold's offensive rebound and stickback with eight seconds showing on the clock.

The Paladins shot 39.2 percent from the field (31-of-79) and connected on 19-of-26 free throws (39.2 percent) while USC Upstate found the mark on 43.6 percent of its shots from the field (24-of-55), including 7-of-16 from 3-point range.  The Spartans registered solid work at the free throw line, connecting on 25-of-29 attempts (86.2 percent), but Upstate suffered 28 turnovers, which Furman converted into 26-15 scoring advantage.

The triumph was the first positive overtime verdict for Furman dating back to the 2009-10 season, haliting a string of four extra period defeats.

The Paladins return to action on Jan. 7 when they entertain Southern Conference foe Appalachian State at Timmons Arena.