Jan. 23, 2007
South Carolina (11-9 overall; 1-4 Southeastern Conference) returns home to face Florida (6-14 overall; 0-5 SEC) at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Colonial Center.
Injury Update: Fabbri Doubtful
Senior point guard Lea Fabbri sprained her right ankle in South Carolina’s game against Alabama on Jan. 14 and is doubtful for Thursday’s game against Florida. Fabbri did not play at Ole Miss last Thursday or at Mississippi State last Sunday.
Thursday’s game marks the 21st meeting all-time between South Carolina and Florida, with the Gators holding a 14-6 advantage in the series history. The Gamecocks have won three of the last five head-to-head battles, including an 81-63 victory in Gainesville last year. Florida has enjoyed a good deal of success on the Gamecocks’ home turf, stringing together a 7-2 advantage over Carolina in games played in Columbia. The Gators have left Carolina victorious in seven of their last eight trips.
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.
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 at the helm of the Florida women’s basketball program, head coach Carolyn Peck led Purdue to the 1999 National Championship before taking the job at Florida. As a player, Peck starred at Vanderbilt from 1985-88 and went on to play professionally in Japan. In her second year at Florida, Peck orchestrated the greatest one-season turnaround in program history. The 2003-04 Gators posted a 19-11 overall record, winning 10 more games than they did in 2002-03, when the team posted a 9-19 record.
South Carolina Head Coach
Susan Walvius (Virginia Tech, 1986)
Career Record: 240-239 (17th year)
Record at USC: 142-138 (10th year)
Florida Head Coach
Carolyn Peck (Vanderbilt, 1988)
Career Record: 126-79 (7th year)
Record at Florida: 69-68 (5th year)
Florida-South Carolina Coaching Connections
Florida assistant coach Shell Dailey served as an assistant under Susan Walvius at South Carolina from 1999-2003 before leaving to take an assistant job with the WNBA’s San Antonio Silver Stars. Florida assistant coach Jose Mori is the brother-in-law of South Carolina men’s basketball graduate assistant Steve Portland. Mori is married to Portland’s sister, Christine.
Simms Could Hit 1,000-Point Mark This Week
Senior guard Lauren Simms is flirting with the 1,000-point mark for her career, as she enters Thursday’s game with 977 career points and needs just 23 points to become the 26th player in South Carolina history to score 1,000 career points. Simms went for 20 points in Carolina’s last game at Mississippi State and has scored as many as 29 points in a game during her career.
Tolliver Cracks Into Career Blocks Top Five
Junior forward Lakesha Tolliver jumped into South Carolina’s career top five in blocked shots after swatting five shots last game at Mississippi State. The Columbia native (Dreher HS) has rejected 104 shots during her career, a mark that places her just four blocks behind tying current teammate Iva Sliskovic for third place on the all-time Carolina list. Tolliver has a legitimate shot at breaking Michelle Murray’s school record of 148 blocks, as she has a full year of competition remaining after the 2006-07 season.
Gamecocks In The Top 20 Nationally
South Carolina ranks among the top 20 teams in the NCAA in rebounding margin (7th; +10.9), steals (11th; 12.8 per game), blocked shots (18th; 5.6 per game) and scoring margin (19th; +15.3).
Florida From A Distance
Florida enters Thursday’s game with a 6-14 overall record to go with an 0-5 mark in SEC play. The Gators have lost their last seven games and are 1-6 on the road this year, with the lone win coming over South Alabama. Florida is last in the SEC in scoring defense, field goal percentage, field goal percentage defense, rebounding margin and assists. The Gators are led by the trio of Sha Brooks (15.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists per game), Marshae Dotson (13.2 points, 7.0 rebounds per game) and Depree Bowden (12.5 points, 7.0 rebounds per game).
A South Carolina Win Over Florida Would…
:: Mark the Gamecocks’ fourth win in their last six games against Florida.
:: Mark the Gamecocks’ second straight win over the Gators, as Carolina claimed an 81-63 victory over Florida in Gainesville last year.
:: Trim the Gators’ all-time series advantage over Carolina to 14-7.
:: Extend the Gators’ current losing skid to eight games.
Noting South Carolina’s Schedule
The Gamecocks are 11-9 on the year, with their nine losses coming at the hands of teams that have combined to post a 127-48 record (.728 winning pct.) A closer look at Carolina’s stiffest opposition this year:
Opponent Record (As of 1/23)
at Penn State…… 9-11
at NC State…… 13-7
No. 3 Oklahoma…… 16-1
at No. 10 Stanford…… 16-3
No. 14 Vanderbilt…… 17-3
at No. 24 Ole Miss…… 16-4
at Mississippi State…… 11-8
Combined Record…… 128-48 (.727 win pct.)
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 20 games of the year, the Gamecock bench has outscored that of the opposition by a 672-268 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.