Jan. 17, 2007
South Carolina (11-7 overall; 1-2 Southeastern Conference) travels to Oxford, Miss., to take on No. 24 Ole Miss (15-4 overall; 4-0 SEC) at 8 p.m. EST Thursday at C.M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum.
Injury Update: Fabbri Out
Senior point guard Lea Fabbri sprained her right ankle in South Carolina’s game against Alabama last Sunday and is out for Thursday’s game at Ole Miss. Fabbri is questionable for Sunday’s game at Mississippi State pending evaluation later in the week.
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 uscsports.com. FSN South will televise Thursday’s game with Leah Secondo handling play-by-play and former Ole Miss Head Coach Van Chancellor providing analysis.
How To Access the Web Broadcast
Go to uscsports.com, 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.
Thursday’s game marks the 23rd meeting between South Carolina and Ole Miss, with the Lady Rebels holding a 13-9 advantage in the all-time series. The Carolina-Ole Miss series has traditionally been controlled by the home team, as Ole Miss owns a 7-2 advantage over South Carolina in games played in Oxford, while the Gamecocks hold a 6-2 edge in games played in Columbia. The home team has won 11 of the last 12 meetings between the two schools, with the lone exception being a 91-68 South Carolina victory over Ole Miss in Oxford in 2003. The Gamecocks and Lady Rebels have split the last 14 head-to-head matchups.
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 fourth year at her alma mater, Carol Ross guided Ole Miss to trips to the NCAA Tournament in each of her first two seasons in Oxford and an appearance in the Women’s NIT last year. Ross spent 12 seasons as the head coach at Florida, leading the Gators to nine NCAA trips after UF had never been to The Dance prior to her arrival.
South Carolina Head Coach
Susan Walvius (Virginia Tech, 1986)
Career Record: 240-237 (17th year)
Record at USC: 142-136 (10th year)
Ole Miss Head Coach
Carol Ross (Ole Miss, 1982)
Career Record: 315-164 (16th year)
Record at Ole Miss: 68-43 (4th year)
Experience, height and depth are the name of the game for South Carolina. The Gamecocks are the most experienced team in the nation in terms of game experience as the 13-player active roster boasts seven seniors, a redshirt junior and a pair of true juniors. A total of seven different South Carolina players stand 6-feet-tall or above, led by 6-foot-6 center Ilona Burgrova and 6-foot-5 forward Iva Sliskovic. The Gamecocks are the second-tallest team in the SEC behind Auburn and the 14th-tallest team in the nation. No South Carolina player averages a double-figure scoring total, but seven different Gamecocks score between 6.7 and 8.9 points per game.
It’s safe to say that South Carolina’s stat sheet is like none other. The SEC produces a report in 19 different team statistical categories, with South Carolina leading the league in steals (13.39 per game), rebounding defense (33.7) and rebounding margin (+12.4) and ranking among the top three teams in the conference in 13 of those 19 categories. However, when you look at the individual categories, South Carolina is nearly non-existent, as Melanie Johnson (10th in the SEC in offensive rebounds with 2.94 per game) and Lakesha Tolliver (fifth in the SEC with 1.50 blocked shots per game) are the only two Carolina ranking among the top 10 individuals in the SEC in any category.
Gamecocks In The Top 10 Nationally
South Carolina ranks among the top 10 teams in the NCAA in steals (6th – 13.39 per game), rebounding margin (6th – +12.4) and scoring defense (10th – 53.5 points per game).
Ole Miss From A Distance
Ole Miss has been the talk of the SEC in the early portion of the conference schedule, racing out to a perfect 4-0 start that includes impressive wins over Auburn, Vanderbilt, LSU and Kentucky. The Lady Rebels cracked into the Associated Press Top 25 this week, debuting at the No. 24 spot. Scoring and rebounding are two of Ole Miss’ biggest strengths, as the Lady Rebels rank third nationally with 81.1 points per game and are among the top 25 teams in the nation in rebounding margin, outrebounding the opposition by an average of 7.8 boards per contest. Similar to South Carolina, Ole Miss isn’t known as a three-point shooting team, as the Lady Rebels have converted on only .256 pct. of their attempts from beyond the arc this year. Any discussion about the Lady Rebels has to involve senior guard Armintie Price, who leads the team with 19.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.7 steals per game.
A South Carolina Win Over Ole Miss Would…
:: Improve the Gamecocks to 10-13 all-time against Ole Miss.
:: Mark the Gamecocks’ second consecutive win over Ole Miss, as the Gamecocks handed the Lady Rebels a 77-66 defeat at the Colonial Center last year.
:: Mark the Gamecocks’ fifth win in their last seven SEC road games dating back to last year.
:: Mark the Gamecocks’ first win in Oxford since a 91-68 victory in 2003. The Lady Rebels have won the last two meetings played in Oxford since.
:: Improve Susan Walvius to 7-6 all-time against Ole Miss.
:: Mark the Gamecocks’ first win over a ranked opponent since a 79-61 victory over No. 14 Minnesota at the Colonial Center last season.
:: Mark the Gamecocks’ first road win over a ranked opponent since a 66-57 victory over No. 17 Vanderbilt in 2003.
South Carolina’s Last Six SEC Road Games
South Carolina has won four of its last six SEC road games dating back to last year. A closer look:
1/22/06 at Alabama W 67-48
2/5/06 at Mississippi State W 51-46
2/12/06 at Florida W 81-63
2/16/06 at Auburn W 58-46
2/26/06 at Vanderbilt L 88-71
1/4/07 at Kentucky L 59-55
South Carolina In The Last Five Games
:: The Gamecocks are 2-3 with wins over Alabama and Winthrop and losses at Kentucky, at No. 10 Stanford and at home against No. 14 Vanderbilt.
:: Stacy Booker is the team’s leading scorer with 11.4 points per game. She is the only Gamecock in double figures during the last five games.
:: Lakesha Tolliver is the team’s leading rebounder with 6.0 boards per game.
:: Lauren Simms leads the team with 4.0 assists per game.
:: Shooting .500 pct. from the field (13-of-26), Ilona Burgrova is the Gamecocks’ hottest shooter.
:: The Gamecocks have limited the opposition to .235 pct. shooting from three-point range (16-of-68).
:: The Gamecocks have forced the opposition into committing 22.8 turnovers per game.
:: Four different players have led the Gamecocks in scoring in a game, as Brionna Dickerson, Lakesha Tolliver, Stacy Booker (twice) and Lauren Simms have all paced the squad recently.
:: In a similar vein, four different players have led the team in rebounding, as Ilona Burgrova, Iva Sliskovic, Stacy Booker and Lakesha Tolliver (twice) have taken turns leading the team on the glass.
Dickerson Getting Aggressive
Guard Brionna Dickerson has stepped up her game offensively this season. A spot player last season who saw limited minutes a year ago, Dickerson has morphed into one of Carolina’s leading offensive weapons off the bench this year, thanks largely to her willingness to shoot the ball. Dickerson averaged 40 points per game during her high school career and was on pace to easily become the all-time leading scorer in the history of South Carolina high school girls basketball before she tore the ACL in her left knee early in her senior year. Her scorer’s instinct is starting to re-emerge after her adjustment to the collegiate game as a freshman last year.