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Jan. 19, 2007

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The Basics
South Carolina (11-8 overall; 1-3 Southeastern Conference) travels to Starkville, Miss., to face Mississippi State (10-8 overall; 1-3 SEC) at 3 p.m. eastern Sunday at Humphrey 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 Sunday’s game at Mississippi State. Fabbri did not play at Ole Miss last Thursday. Fabbri is questionable for Thursday’s game against Florida.

Series History
Sunday’s game marks the 20th meeting all-time between South Carolina and Mississippi State. The Bulldogs own an 11-8 series edge over the Gamecocks, but Carolina swept both of last year’s meetings, claiming a 51-46 win over the Bulldogs in Starkville and a 75-47 victory over Mississippi State in Columbia. The Bulldogs own a 7-2 advantage over the Gamecocks in games played in Starkville, but Carolina has won two of its last three played at Humphrey Coliseum and five of the last eight meetings overall.

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

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). Now in her 12th year at Mississippi State, Sharon Fanning was recognized as the SEC Coach of the Year in 2000 and ranks among the top 25 among active coaches in career victories. Fanning’s first head coaching job came at Tennessee-Chattanooga, where she patrolled the sidelines from 1976-87. She moved on to Kentucky, where she led the Wildcat program from 1987-95 before moving on to Mississippi State in 1995.

Gamecocks In The Top 20 Nationally
South Carolina ranks among the top 20 teams in the NCAA in steals (6th – 12.89 per game), rebounding margin (6th – +11.8), scoring defense (10th – 54.7 points per game) and scoring margin (+16.8).

Stat Freaks
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 rebounding margin (+11.8) and ranking among the top three teams in the conference in 11 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 2.79 per game) and Lakesha Tolliver (fourth in the SEC with 1.53 blocked shots per game) are the only two Carolina ranking among the top 10 individuals in the SEC in any category.

Mississippi State From A Distance
With a 10-8 overall record and a 1-3 mark in SEC play, Mississippi State enters Sunday’s game riding a modest three-game losing streak, with the defeats coming at the hands of powerhouses Georgia, LSU and Tennessee. The Bulldogs opened SEC play with an impressive 83-71 win at Arkansas and has a pair of solid wins over Florida State and Georgia Tech to their credit. Scoring has been a struggle for the Bulldogs, whose 62.2 points per game average, .377 field goal percentage and .614 free throw percentage all rank last in the SEC. Coach Sharon Fanning relies heavily on her group of newcomers, as her probable starting lineup consists of three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior college transfer. Junior Imesia Jackson is the only Bulldog averaging in double figures at 11.5 points per game. Though she missed the last game against Tennessee and is questionable for Sunday’s game with a left knee injury, the athletic Robin Porter averages 9.1 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.

A South Carolina Win Over Mississippi State Would…
:: Mark the Gamecocks’ third straight win over the Bulldogs, as Carolina swept both of last year’s meetings with Mississippi State.
:: Mark the Gamecocks’ sixth win in their last nine meetings with the Bulldogs.
:: Mark the Gamecocks’ third win in their last four trips to Starkville.
:: Improve Susan Walvius to 6-6 all-time against the Bulldogs.
:: Mark the Bulldogs’ fourth consecutive loss this season, matching their longest skid of the season.
:: Move the Gamecocks to 2-3 in the SEC through five games this year, marking the best five-game start for Carolina in SEC play since 2002-03 season and the fourth-best five-game SEC start since the Gamecocks joined the conference for the 1991-92 season.

Noting South Carolina’s Schedule
The Gamecocks are 11-8 on the year, with their eight losses coming at the hands of teams that have combined to post a 111-38 record (.745 winning pct.) A closer look at Carolina’s stiffest opposition this year:

Opponent Record (As of 1/19)
at Penn State….. 9-10
Louisiana-Lafayette….. 15-5
at NC State….. 13-6
No. 3 Oklahoma….. 14-1
Kentucky….. 13-6
at No. 10 Stanford….. 15-3
No. 14 Vanderbilt….. 16-3
at No. 24 Ole Miss….. 16-4
Combined Record….. 111-38 (.745 win pct.)