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Oct. 26, 2006

Head coach Susan Walvius, redshirt junior Lakesha Tolliver and senior Melanie Johnson represented the South Carolina women’s basketball program at SEC Media Day Thursday in Birmingham, Ala. Following are selected comments from the Gamecock trio:

Head Coach Susan Walvius

“I’m excited. We return 97 percent of our scoring. What really helps is that we have not had a group of seniors for about two years. Having that this year, getting teaching and maturity, this helps.”

“Melanie Johnson has gotten better. She is a better player defensively. She has matured. I think the thing that helps is that she has put on 20 pounds of muscle.”

“We are one of the tallest teams in the SEC. We play a power game. I think the thing you will see that’s different is Melanie Johnson shooting the three-pointer.”

“This is one of the toughest leagues to climb up in. I think it is a challenge to play in the SEC. That is why we are here. Where there is challenge, there is opportunity. We have a tough non-conference schedule to prepare us. I’m really excited.”

Senior Forward Melanie Johnson

“You can see the changes in her (Susan Walvius) face. We know what’s expected. Transition is a big part of our game and she stresses that.”

“The SEC is always a good conference. It will come down to experience, second chances to score, and limiting turnovers.”

“It (last season) is something we can look back on and open a new book to start all over in.”

Redshirt Junior Forward Lakesha Tolliver

“We’ve improved over the years. We’ve worked hard on controlling our tempo on defense and offense. We’re the most experienced team in our conference at the moment.”

“It was hard the first couple of years. Last year we won seven with the possibility of going to the WNIT. We’re making sure we put in all elements to win.”