Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Star on the Rise for USC Upstate

By Bill English

Although just a sophomore, Brittany Starling has stepped into the role as the go-to player for the USC Upstate women’s basketball team.

By the time she ends her career, she has the potential to be one of the top players in the history of the program and could join the ranks of recent standouts Chelsea McMillan, Tee’Ara Copney and Courtney Hawkins.

Basketball is a team game and every coach will tell you that winning requires a team effort. There is no exception at Upstate. Head Coach Tammy George has assembled a solid team with players who have diverse talents, enabling the Spartans to battle every night in the A-Sun.

But, every night the Spartans take the court, the efforts of the competition are on Starling and shutting the super sophomore down, or at least limiting her productivity. She is the go-to player for Upstate.

A true power forward, she has the ability to shoot the mid-range jumper while possessing the physicality to battle down low. She led the A-Sun in field goal percentage as a freshman, ranked second on the team in scoring at 10.3 points per game and earned All-Freshman honors from the A-Sun in 2012-13.

She came into her own during A-Sun play last year and by season’s end became the focal point of the opposition even with standout Copney manning the perimeter.

Based on the body of work she put together as a freshman – four double-doubles in A-Sun play, double-digit scoring in 17 games, four games of 10 or more rebounds – she was selected as a preseason all-conference selection by the A-Sun coaches this year.

Despite the pressure of being the focal point of the opposition, Starling has not suffered the mythical sophomore slump and has assumed a leadership role on a diverse and talented team.

Starling is a physical education major and her long-term career goals are to coach and become a physical education instructor. With that as a backdrop, she approaches the game in two different ways, one as a player who possesses basketball ability and one as an aspiring coach with her head in the game.

The two approaches have helped her not only develop as a player, but in her leadership role on the team as well.

One player cannot win by herself. But, Brittany Starling has the ability to impact the game and give the Upstate Spartans that something special every team needs…performance and leadership from your go-to player.

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