USC Upstate’s Tee’Ara Copney has made it seem as simple as a free throw shot, but what she has done on the court in her career as a Spartan has been far from a simple routine.
At just ten years old Copney knew basketball was a little more than just a recreational sport and looked to someday play the sport at a higher level.
The road to playing for the USC Upstate Spartans was a long and tiring one as she had to travel around the country playing AAU but Copney always had family to rely on to help her succeed.
Copney accredits a lot of her success to the support of her family who traveled her to all of her basketball tournaments while she was in high school, which ultimately led her to Upstate, where her family still goes to every home game and several away games.
Copney, a native to Asheville, North Carolina, played her high school career at T.C. Roberson where the team compiled 100 victories out of her 118 games there. She completed her high school career with more than 1,600 points and set the school record.
Tee’Ara Copney is all too familiar with setting records.
As a Spartan, Copney managed to crush season records, school records and conference records. She ranks first in Upstate history in three-point field goals made (189), three-point field goals attempted (574) and steals (258).
In the Atlantic Sun Tee’Ara ranks No.22 in the record books in career points and is tied for No. 9 in career steals, just to name a few of the records she has been chasing.
She holds a Spartan single season record in free throw percentage (.886 in 2011-12) and minutes played (1055 in 2011-12). She has recorded 270 free throws in her career, another record she is looking to grab.
Free throws are something she’s nearly perfected and explains that it all comes with having confidence within yourself and knowing that it all counts to the final score. She laughs that her father said several times before, “They are free…so you have to knock them down.”
Bounce the ball twice. Pull on the shorts. Spin the ball and take a deep breath. Shoot it. Routine.
And she’s not done yet.
Copney has high aspirations for not only herself, but her team. A Sociology major, Tee’Ara hopes to go to grad school where she can pursue a career in social work; one that her older sister inspired her to get involved in.
As for her team, she has raised the bar for them as well. With the second half of conference play left Copney sets her sights on three road games. “The hardest road swings are against FGCU, Stetson and ETSU because those are three schools we’ve never won at since I’ve been here,”Copney said. “Those are always a real challenge for us and I’d like to get past them.”
For Copney it is about getting better every day because if everyone gets better as individuals the team will improve as a whole.
The Spartans stand at No. 5 in the A-Sun standings with a record 4-5 halfway through the conference season, Copney has one goal for the team. It seems so simple to say, but it’s far from routine, perform in the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship. “You have to remember that all of the individuals on a team come together to have one common goal and I hope as the season comes to an end we’ll be traveling down to Georgia for the tournament to have one of our best showings there.”
Bounce the ball twice. Pull on the shorts. Spin the ball and take a deep breath. Shoot it and hope the little things make a big difference.