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Feb. 17, 2007

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The Basics
South Carolina (15-12 overall; 5-7 Southeastern Conference) is on the road to tangle with No. 12 Vanderbilt at 3 p.m. Eastern on Sunday at Memorial Gym.

Series History
Vanderbilt owns a 17-5 advantage in the all-time series between the two teams and has won each of the last five meetings. The Commodores are 9-1 against South Carolina in Nashville, with the lone Gamecock victory a 66-57 triumph in 2003.

SEC Tournament Scenarios
Entering the Vanderbilt game, South Carolina is tied with Kentucky for seventh in the SEC standings with 5-7 record but Kentucky owns the tiebreaker as a result of its win over Ole Miss, so the Gamecocks would be the eighth seed if the SEC Tournament were to start today. With two conference games remaining, Carolina can still climb as high as sixth and can sink to as low as 10th in the SEC standings. A lot of different scenarios can still play out with many of the teams in the league still slated to play three conference games, but one certainty is that a Carolina loss to Vanderbilt would eliminate the Gamecocks’ chance of getting to sixth place.

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). In her fourth 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
Entering Sunday’s game riding a five-game winning streak that includes victories over Arkansas, Kentucky, Alabama, Auburn and Mississippi State, Vanderbilt owns a 22-4 overall record and is 13-1 at home this year with its lone defeat a 67-57 setback at the hands of Tennessee on Jan. 25. The Commodores have won 30 of their last 33 home games dating back to the 2004-05 season. Forward Carla Thomas leads the team with 16.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, with guards Dee Davis and Caroline Williams also very dangerous, as Davis averages 6.0 assists per game and Williams averages 12.7 points per game on .487 pct shooting from three-point range. The Commodores are the best offensive team in the SEC and one of the best offensive units in the nation, sitting atop the NCAA rankings in three-point percentage (.430 pct), ranking second in field goal percentage (.503 pct) and ranking fourth in assists (18.7 per game). Vanderbilt is No. 7 in the nation in scoring offense (78.3 points per game).

A South Carolina Win Over Vanderbilt Would…
:: Mark the Gamecocks’ first win over the Commodores since 2003, snapping Vanderbilt’s five-game winning streak over the Gamecocks. :: Mark the Gamecocks’ first victory over a ranked opponent since a 79-61 win over No. 14 Minnesota at the Colonial Center last year. :: Mark the Gamecocks’ first road win over a ranked opponent since a 66-57 victory over No. 17 Vanderbilt in 2003. :: Snap the Commodores’ recent five-game winning streak.

Gamecocks In The Top 25 Nationally
Entering the Vanderbilt game, South Carolina ranks among the top 25 teams nationally in blocked shots (10th; 6.0 per game), rebounding margin (11th; +8.9) and steals (11th; 12.1 per game).

Tolliver Brings 20-Game Streak Into Vandy Game
Junior forward Lakesha Tolliver enters the Vanderbilt game having blocked at least one shot in each of her last 20 games. Tolliver has rejected more than one shot in a game in 13 of her last 17 games played.

Carolina Has Faced The Nation’s Best This Year
South Carolina has gotten a first-hand look at some of the best teams in the nation this year, as the Gamecocks have faced five teams that were ranked in the top-10 at the time of the game. The Gamecocks hosted No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 7 LSU at the Colonial Center and went on the road to face No. 3 Tennessee, No. 9 Georgia and No. 10 Stanford. The Gamecocks faced seven top-10 opponents in 1989-90, faced six top-10 foes in 1990-91 and went toe-to-toe with five top-10 opponents during the 2000-01 campaign.

Noting South Carolina’s Schedule
The Gamecocks are 15-12 on the year, with their 12 losses coming at the hands of teams that have combined to post a 234-80 record (.745 winning pct.) A closer look at the teams who beat South Carolina this year:

Opponent Record (As of 2/16)
at Penn State…… 13-13
Louisiana-Lafayette…… 20-7
at NC State…… 18-8
No. 3 Oklahoma…… 19-4
at Kentucky…… 16-11
at No. 10 Stanford…… 22-4
No. 14 Vanderbilt…… 22-4
at No. 24 Ole Miss…… 19-8
at Mississippi State…… 16-10
at No. 3 Tennessee…… 24-2
No. 7 LSU…… 23-4
at No. 9 Georgia…… 22-5
Combined Record 234-80…… (.745 win pct.)