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Nov. 13, 2006

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The Basics
South Carolina (1-0 overall) plays a pivotal early-season non-conference game when it travels to University Park, Pa., to square off against Penn State (2-0 overall) at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Bryce Jordan Center.

On The Air
The game will be broadcast live on WISW 1320 AM Radio in Columbia, with Brad Heller handling play-by-play duties and Robin Muller providing analysis. For fans outside of the Columbia area, the game can be accessed worldwide via the internet at

How To Access the Web Broadcast
Go to, then click on the women’s basketball link on the left side of the page. From there, click on the “schedule” link near the top of the page, then click on the “Audio Broadcasts” link at the top of the page. Choose women’s basketball from the scroll bar on the right side of the page and choose the desired game from the list.

Johnson Is SEC Player Of The Week
South Carolina senior forward Melanie Johnson (Barnwell, S.C./Barnwell) is this week’s SEC Player of the Week, the conference office announced Monday. Johnson led South Carolina to a 78-53 victory over East Tennessee State in the Gamecocks’ season opener on Nov. 12, scoring a game-high 23 points, 19 of which came in the second half. Johnson was the difference in the game, going on a 13-0 run by herself at a key moment of the second half to take a 62-51 Gamecock lead and blow it open to a 75-51 advantage in a span of only two minutes and 15 seconds to put the game out of reach. Johnson added six rebounds and five steals in the contest. The honor marked the first time in her career that Johnson was honored as the SEC Player of the Week. A preseason second-team all-SEC honoree, Johnson is the first Gamecock to win the award since Demetress Adams was recognized on Dec. 26, 2005. In receiving the award, Johnson becomes the ninth Gamecock ever to be recognized as the SEC Player of the Week, joining Shannon Johnson, Annie Lester, Teresa Geter, Shaunzinski Gortman, Kelly Morrone, Cristina Ciocan, Jocelyn Penn and Adams. Johnson’s 23 points against East Tennessee State ranked as the second-highest scoring total of her career and marked her second consecutive 20-plus point game, as she scored 21 points against Xavier in the final game of last season.

About The Coaches
South Carolina Head Coach Susan Walvius is in her 10th year at the helm of the Gamecock women’s basketball program. The 2002 SEC Coach of the Year, Walvius led the Gamecocks to the Elite Eight in 2002 and has guided Carolina to the postseason in three of the last five seasons. She has attracted top-15 recruiting classes to Carolina in 2003 (10th) and in 2005 (13th). Penn State mentor Rene Portland is in her 27th year at the helm of the Lady Lion program and her 31st year as a college head coach. She should win her 600th game at Penn State this year, as she enters Monday’s game with a 593-220 record in Happy Valley. Under her watch, Penn State has won seven conference titles (two in old Atlantic 10 years and five since joining the Big Ten in 1992-93). In addition, she has won a pair of Big Ten Tournament championships (1995 and 1996) and led the Lady Lions to the 2000 NCAA Final Four. She has guided PSU to 21 NCAA Tournaments.

A South Carolina Win Would…
>> Mark the Gamecocks’ fourth win in five tries against Penn State, with the lone defeat coming in 2003.
>> Put the Gamecocks in a position for a top-25 national ranking, as South Carolina was receiving votes in the preseason USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll.
>> Mark the Gamecocks 10th consecutive regular-season win over a non-conference opponent, dating back to January of last season.
>> Mark the Gamecocks’ third win in their last four regular-season games played on the road against a non-conference opponent.
>> Improve Carolina’s record to 17-8 all-time against teams from the Big Ten Conference.
>> Mark South Carolina’s second straight win over a Big Ten opponent, as the Gamecocks handed Minnesota a 79-61 defeat at the Colonial Center on Dec. 13, 2005.
>> Snap a recent skid against teams from the Big Ten, as the Gamecocks have lost four of their last five against teams from the Big Ten. Prior to last year’s win over Minnesota, South Carolina had lost consecutive Big Ten games against Purdue (2005), Minnesota (2004), Penn State (2003) and Indiana (2001).
>> Improve Susan Walvius’ record to 92-42 in regular-season games played against non-conference opposition.

A South Carolina Loss Would…
>> Narrow the Gamecocks’ advantage in the all-time series history against Penn State to 3-2.
>> Snap the Gamecocks’ nine-game winning streak in regular-season games played against non-conference opponents.
>> Move the Gamecocks to 16-9 all-time against teams from the Big Ten Conference.
>> Mark the Gamecocks’ fifth loss in their last six games against Big Ten opposition. South Carolina handed Minnesota a 79-61 defeat at the Colonial Center last year, but prior to last year’s win over the Golden Gophers, South Carolina had lost consecutive Big Ten games against Purdue (2005), Minnesota (2004), Penn State (2003) and Indiana (2001).
>> Drop Susan Walvius’ record to 91-43 in regular-season games played against non-conference opposition.
>> Improve Penn State’s all-time record against SEC opposition to 16-25.

Penn State-South Carolina Connections
South Carolina assistant coach Tammy Holder had a presence in the state of Pennsylvania when she was the Assistant General Manager of the ABL’s Philadelphia Rage in 1997. Fellow Gamecock assistant Michelle Marciniak played for the Philadelphia Rage in 1997-98. Penn State Head Coach Rene Portland’s son Steve Portland is a graduate assistant for Dave Odom on the South Carolina men’s basketball coaching staff.

Series Notes
Through the years, South Carolina and Penn State have met four times, with the Gamecocks winning three of the four clashes between the two schools. Carolina claimed a 71-70 win over Penn State in the inaugural meeting between the two teams in 1980, then followed that up with a 77-76 victory in 1982 and and a 66-63 win in 1983. The Lady Lions emerged victorious in the most recent meeting, claiming a 77-67 win over Carolina in the 2003 NCAA Tournament. Penn State is 15-25 all-time against SEC opposition. The only SEC team that Penn State has never faced is Kentucky.

Injury Update
South Carolina senior guard Shannel Harris injured her right hand early in the season opener against East Tennessee State but stayed in the contest and played 30 minutes. Harris is probable for Tuesday’s game at Penn State, but will have her hand re-evaluated when the team returns to Columbia. More will be known about her status after that evaluation.