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Nov. 16, 2006

The Basics
South Carolina (1-1 overall) opens a four-game home stretch when it hosts North Carolina A&T at 7 p.m. Friday at the Colonial Center.

Ticket Information
Adults are admitted for $7. Youths under the age of 18 are admitted for $3. A family of four is admitted for $18, with a $3 admission for each additional child. The group rate is $3 Groups must call the Colonial Center in advance. The group rate number is 803-576-9077. All other ticket arrangements can be made through the USC Ticket Office toll free at 800-4SC-FANS or locally at 803-777-4274.

Ticket Promotions
All fans who enter wearing Garnet and Black will be admitted for $3.

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

Johnson Is This Week’s 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). North Carolina A&T coach Patricia Cage-Bibbs has more than 20 years of experience coaching on the Division I level and is in her second year with the Aggies. She previously coached at Hampton and Grambling State, where she enjoyed success winning six conference championships during her 13-year tenure.

A South Carolina Win Would…
>> Mark the Gamecocks’ ninth consecutive home victory over a non-conference opponent, dating back to last season.
>> Improve the Gamecocks to 28-9 all-time against teams from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
>> Mark the Gamecocks’ 24th consecutive win over a MEAC team. South Carolina’s last loss to a team from the MEAC was an 85-74 defeat at the hands of South Carolina State on Feb. 21, 1980. Since that game, Carolina has rattled off 16 consecutive wins over the Bulldogs, six straight wins over Florida A&M and one win over Bethune-Cookman.
>> Be a nice setup for Monday’s Palmetto State showdown between the Gamecocks and Clemson, which is set to tip off at 7 p.m. at the Colonial Center.
>> Improve Susan Walvius’ record to 92-43 in regular-season games played against non-conference opposition.
>> Improve Susan Walvius’ record to 60-9 in regular season non-conference home games.

House Of Pain
>> The Colonial Center has proven to be a painful place for MEAC teams since the building opened for the 2002-03 season. Since that point, Carolina has compiled a 6-0 record vs. MEAC opposition with the average margin of victory being 40.3 points.

USC vs. The MEAC At The Colonial Center
12/31/02 SC State, W 85-42
11/29/03 Florida A&M, W 96-66
12/14/04 Florida A&M, W 88-55
12/22/04 SC State, W 85-45
12/17/05 SC State, W 75-40
12/21/05 Bethune-Cookman, W 87-26

Series Notes
Friday’s game marks the first-ever meeting between South Carolina and North Carolina A&T. Though the Gamecocks and Aggies have never met on the court, Carolina is familiar with teams from the MEAC, as the Gamecocks own a 27-9 advantage all-time against teams from the MEAC, with the bulk of those games played against South Carolina State.

Sliskovic Can Move Into USC Blocks Top 5
Senior Iva Sliskovic is poised to move into the top five on South Carolina’s career blocked shots list, and should accomplish the feat very soon, as her 96 career blocked shots place her just three blocks behind the 99 rejections made by Teresa Geter from 2000-02. Geter is currently in sole possession of fifth place on the all-time Carolina list, with Michelle Murray (148 blocked shots from 1989-93) the school record holder.

Walvius In Non-Conference Games
Including the first two games of this season, the Gamecocks have compiled an 91-43 record in regular-season non-conference games under Susan Walvius, including a 59-9 mark in regular-season non-conference games played in Columbia.

What’s Next
South Carolina hosts Clemson at 7 p.m. Monday at the Colonial Center. The Gamecocks pounded the Tigers 77-46 last year in Littlejohn Coliseum. The first 300 fans receive a free Beat Clemson t-shirt. It is Family Fun Night, with the following planned as pre-game activities at the Colonial Center:

>> Inflatable bounce houses for children.
>> Basketball shooting games with Cocky.
>> Face painting with the USC Cheerleaders.
>> Poster Making Station.
>> Book Drive to Benefit Books-a-rama. Accepting donations of unused children’s books. Proceeds to benefit Columbia hospitalized children and their families.

The Colonial Center doors open at 6 p.m.