Aug. 23, 2006
Columbia, S.C. – Headlined by contests against reigning Big 12 champion Oklahoma, reigning Pac-10 Champion Stanford, reigning SEC Champion LSU and reigning SEC Tournament Champion Tennessee, the 2006-07 South Carolina women’s basketball schedule was announced today. The Gamecocks will face teams from each of the power conferences, as Carolina goes toe-to-toe with teams from the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-10.
The Gamecocks first take the court on Nov. 8 for an exhibition tilt against Everyone’s Internet at the Colonial Center. The season starts in earnest on Nov. 12 when Carolina plays host to a veteran East Tennessee State team that won 18 games a year ago and finished third in the Atlantic Sun Conference a year ago. The Gamecocks will hop on a plane bound for University Park, Pa., the next day and will face perennial Big Ten power Penn State on Nov. 14. With veteran coach Rene Portland calling the shots, the Lady Lions return all five starters from last year’s team.
A home date with North Carolina A&T follows on Nov. 17, with in-state rival Clemson visiting the Colonial Center on Nov. 20. The Gamecocks will look to claim their second consecutive win over the Tigers, as Carolina handed Clemson a 77-46 defeat on the Tigers’ home court last year, marking the most one-sided game in the series since 1990.
The Gamecocks welcome Bethune-Cookman, Lousiana-Lafayette and Mercer to the Colonial Center for the South Carolina Thanksgiving Classic, played Nov. 24 and 25. Bethune-Cookman and Louisiana-Lafayette square off in the front half of the Nov. 25 double-header, with Carolina and Mercer hooking up in the back end. The consolation and championship games will be played the next day.
A trip to Raleigh, N.C., for a Nov. 29 date with NC State puts a cap on November for the Gamecocks. The Wolfpack compiled a 19-12 record last year to go with a 7-7 mark in ACC play. December tips off with a home contest against Fordham set for Dec. 3 at the Colonial Center. Carolina then welcomes reigning Big 12 champion and national contender Oklahoma to Columbia on Dec. 7 for the first-ever meeting between the two schools. Led by fiery coach Sherri Coale and perhaps the most dominating player in the nation in Courtney Paris, the Sooners went undefeated in Big 12 play a year ago and advanced to the Sweet 16 at the 2006 NCAA Tournament. Oklahoma enters the 2006-07 season with its entire starting five returning and a pair of McDonald’s All-Americans joining the roster from the high school ranks.
Following their game against Oklahoma, the Gamecocks break for finals then return to action on Dec. 20, when they host a feisty High Point team that won 20 games last year and finished second in the Big South. The Panthers return four of their five starters from a year ago. South Carolina State makes the trip from Orangeburg to visit the Colonial Center on Dec. 23, with the Bulldogs in search of their first win over the Gamecocks since 1980.
After a brief holiday break, Carolina hosts Samford on Dec. 28. Samford returns four starters from a team that won 21 games last year and finished as the Ohio Valley Conference runner-up. Carolina then travels to Wilmington, N.C., for a duel with a veteran UNC-Wilmington team on Dec. 30 before hosting in-state foe Winthrop at the Colonial Center on New Year’s Day.
The SEC slate opens with a bang, as Carolina heads to Lexington to face off against a Kentucky team that many observers feel may be poised for a breakthrough 2006-07 season. Wildcat coach Mickie DeMoss welcomes back all five starters and 10 letterwinners from a team that went 22-9 last year and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The road doesn’t get any easier for the Gamecocks following their matchup with Kentucky, as they then travel across the country for a date with 2006 Elite Eight team Stanford on Jan. 8. Under the watch of coach Tara Vanderveer, the Cardinal returns four starters from last year’s Pac-10-champion squad, including two-time Kodak/WBCA All-America honoree Candice Wiggins and first-team all-Pac-10 performer Brooke Smith. South Carolina and Stanford have never met on the hardcourt before, but Stanford assistant coach Karen Middleton knows the Gamecocks well, as she scored more that 1,700 points for Carolina during a career that spanned from 1987-91, leading the Gamecocks to four consecutive Metro League titles and four NCAA Tournament appearances along the way.
Carolina returns home to host 2006 NCAA Tournament participant Vanderbilt on Jan. 11, followed by a Jan. 14 battle with Alabama. The Gamecocks have won two straight and three of their last four over the Crimson Tide, dating to the 2003-04 season.
The Gamecocks will become familiar with the state of Mississippi, as Carolina travels to Oxford for a Jan. 18 game at Ole Miss followed by a Jan. 21 duel with Mississippi State in Starkville. Carolina went 3-0 against those two teams last year, knocking off the Rebels in Columbia and sweeping a home-and-home with the Bulldogs. Neither team should be taken lightly this year, however, as both squads return four starters from 2006-07, with Ole Miss boasting one of the top players in the SEC in forward Armintie Price.
Florida rolls into the Colonial Center on Jan. 25 looking to avenge last year’s 81-63 loss to South Carolina, though the Gators will have to do it with a relatively inexperienced team, as the Gators return only one starter from last year’s squad that knocked off SEC powers Tennessee and LSU en route to earning a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
A Jan. 28 rematch with Kentucky at the Colonial Center kicks off a tough three-game stretch for the Gamecocks, who then travel to Knoxville for a Feb. 1 date with Pat Summitt, Candace Parker and the rest of the Tennessee Lady Vols before returning home to square off against post behemoth Sylvia Fowles and the defending SEC Champion LSU Tigers at the Colonial Center on Feb. 4. In her two full seasons in Baton Rouge, LSU coach Pokey Chatman has strung together a 64-7 overall record.
The Gamecocks take to the road for three of their next four contests, as they travel to Fayetteville for a Feb. 8 game at Arkansas, then head to Athens for a Feb. 11 date with Georgia before coming home for a Feb. 15 tilt with Auburn, only to get back on the road for a Feb. 18 trip to Vanderbilt. Though Carolina has never won in Fayetteville, the Gamecocks handed the Razorbacks a 61-52 setback in Columbia last year. When the Gamecocks face Georgia at Stegeman Coliseum, they will be looking for their second win at the venue in their last four trips there.
Carolina puts a cap on the regular season when it hosts Mississippi State at the Colonial Center on Feb. 25.