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Jan. 11, 2007

The Basics
South Carolina (10-6 overall; 0-1 Southeastern Conference) faces its second straight top-15 opponent when it hosts No. 14 Vanderbilt (14-2 overall; 1-1 SEC) at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Colonial Center.

Series History
Thursday’s game marks the 22nd meeting all-time between the Gamecocks and the Commodores. Vanderbilt has controlled the series thus far, owning a 16-5 all-time series advantage. The Commodores have won each of the last four meetings and six of the last eight. Vanderbilt holds a slight 5-4 advantage over South Carolina in games played in Columbia, but has won the last two meetings played in the Colonial Center. South Carolina’s last win over Vanderbilt was a 66-57 triumph in Nashville in 2003. The Gamecocks’ last victory over the Commodores in Columbia came in 2002, when Carolina handed Vanderbilt a 71-52 setback.

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). In her fifth year in Nashville, Melanie Balcomb led Vanderbilt to back-to-back trips to the Sweet 16 in 2004 and 2005. Balcomb held her first head coaching job at Ashland from 1993-95 before moving on to Xavier from 1995-2002. She took the Vanderbilt job in 2002 and guided the Commodores to the SEC Tournament championship in 2004.

Vanderbilt From A Distance
No. 14 Vanderbilt won 13 of its first 14 games to start the season, but was surprised on the road by Ole Miss in its last game, as the Rebels claimed a 76-66 victory over the Commodores at Tad Smith Coliseum last week. Consistent with its teams in recent years, this year’s Vanderbilt team is capable of piling up a lot of points, as its 81.8 points-per-game average demonstrates. The Commodores shoot a blistering .510 percent from the field and have converted on 42.1 percent of their attempts from three-point range.

A South Carolina Win Over Vanderbilt Would…
:: Snap the Commodores’ four-game winning streak over the Gamecocks that dates back to 2003.
:: Mark the Gamecocks’ first win over a ranked opponent since a 79-61 triumph over No. 14 Minnesota last year.
:: Mark the Gamecocks’ sixth win in their last eight games.
:: Improve the Gamecocks’ all-time record against Vanderbilt to 5-5 in games played in Columbia.
:: Improve the Gamecocks’ record to 10-2 in games played at home this season.
:: Move the Gamecocks’ record to 1-1 in the SEC, their best start since 2003.
:: Mark the Commodores’ second consecutive defeat, as Vanderbilt was upset at Ole Miss last Sunday.

Noting South Carolina’s Schedule
Based off some of its non-conference schedule, South Carolina will be well-prepared for Vanderbilt when the Commodores roll into the Colonial Center, as the Gamecocks have already played such powerful opponents as Penn State, NC State, No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 10 Stanford this year.

Gamecocks In The Last Five Games
:: The Gamecocks are 3-2 with wins over Samford, UNC Wilmington and Winthrop and losses at Kentucky and Stanford.
:: Brionna Dickerson (10.0 ppg) and Stacy Booker (9.6 ppg) are Carolina’s top two scorers.
:: A different player has led the Gamecocks in scoring in each game.
:: Iva Sliskovic (5.2 rpg) and Ilona Burgrova (5.0 rpg) are Carolina’s top two rebounders.
:: The Gamecocks are shooting .428 pct. from the field and have limited the opposition to .368 shooting from the field.
:: Carolina has outrebounded the opposition by an average margin of 11.6 boards per game. Included in that figure is a +10 rebounding advantage that the Gamecocks had over Kentucky, who is the SEC’s second-ranked squad in terms of rebounding margin.
:: The Gamecocks have forced the opposition into committing 20.0 turnovers per game.
:: The Gamecocks average 10.4 steals per game.

Booker Lit It Up At Stanford
Guard Stacy Booker scored 17 points and drained five of her nine attempts from three-point range at Stanford on Jan. 8. Booker’s five treys matched a personal best total that she set as part of a 28-point eruption against Clemson in 2004.

Gamecocks Lead The SEC In Rebounding Margin
As of Jan. 10, South Carolina leads the SEC in rebounding margin by outrebounding the opposition by an average of 11.6 boards per game. In addition, Carolina ranks among the top three in the league in scoring defense (3rd – 53.8 ppg), FG Percentage Defense (3rd – .351 pct.), 3FG Pct. Defense (2nd – .277 pct.), Rebounding Offense (2nd – 45.8 rpg), Rebounding Defense (3rd – 34.2 rpg), Blocked Shots (3rd – 5.50 bpg), Steals (3rd – 13.13 spg), Offensive Rebounds (2nd – 18.56) and Defensive Rebounds (3rd – 27.19)

Carolina Bench Dominates The Opposition’s
Though bench production is not measured in any conference or national rankings, South Carolina’s non-starters certainly rank as a formidable unit. Through the first 16 games of the year, the Gamecock bench has outscored that of the opposition by a 539-225 margin. The Gamecock bench has outscored that of the opposition in every game but three this season, with the exceptions being at Penn State, at NC State and at home against Samford.

The Difference Between Winning And Losing
Taking a look at South Carolina’s stats in its 10 victories against its stats in its six defeats, here are the most significant differences:

:: In Carolina’s 10 wins, the Gamecocks are shooting .480 pct. from the field and allow the opposition to .298 pct. shooting from the field. In Carolina’s six losses, the Gamecocks are converting at a .298 clip from the field and are allowing the opposition to shoot .438 pct. from the field.
:: In Carolina’s 10 wins, the Gamecocks have outrebounded the opposition by a +18.6 margin. In Carolina’s six losses, the opposition is outrebounding the Gamecocks by a slight 0.2 rebounds per game margin.
:: In Carolina’s 10 wins, the Gamecocks average 20.0 assists per game. In Carolina’s six losses, the Gamecocks average 10.5 assists per game.
:: In Carolina’s 10 wins, a total of seven Gamecocks average 8.2 points per game or more, but in Carolina’s six losses, only two players average 8.2 points per game or more.
:: In Carolina’s 10 wins, a total of seven different players have positive assist-to-turnover ratios. In Carolina’s six losses, only three Gamecock players have a positive assist-to-turnover ratio.