Feb. 27, 2007
The South Carolina women’s basketball team (16-13 overall; 6-8 Southeastern Conference) takes on Auburn (19-11 overall; 6-8 SEC) in the first round of the SEC Tournament at 1 p.m. Thursday in Duluth, Ga. The game will be televised live on FSN South. Carolina is the tournament’s eighth seed with Auburn the ninth seed.
Auburn owns a 17-11 advantage over South Carolina in the all-time series between the two schools, but the Gamecocks and Tigers have split the last 10 meetings down the middle with each team claiming five wins over the other. South Carolina won this year’s only regular-season matchup, claiming a 70-61 victory over Auburn at the Colonial Center on Feb. 15. These two teams met in the first round of the SEC Tournament last year, with the Tigers winning, 64-48.
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 third season at Auburn, Nell Fortner has one of the most diverse rÃƒÂ©sumÃƒÂ©s of any coach in America, as she has served as a collegiate head coach (Auburn, 2004-present and Purdue, 1997), a WNBA head coach and general manager (Indiana Fever, 2001-03), Olympic coach (Team USA, 1997-2000) and television personality (ESPN studio analyst, 2000-04).
Auburn From A Distance
Auburn enters the SEC Tournament having won its last two regular-season games, including an impressive 64-56 come-from-behind win over Ole Miss in the regular-season finale. The Tigers are led by sophomore guard DeWanna Bonner, whose 14.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game are both team highs. Very large running mate KeKe Carrier creates problems in the paint for every opponent she faces, as no player in the SEC comes close to approaching her sheer mass. Sophomore Whitney Boddie comes off the bench but logs the bulk of the minutes at point guard. She averages 5.0 assists per game.
A South Carolina Win Over Auburn Would…
:: Keep the Gamecocks’ NCAA Tournament hopes alive, as Carolina would improve to 17-13 overall and 7-8 in games played against SEC opponents.
:: Mark the Gamecocks’ second win over the Tigers in a span of 15 days, as Carolina handed Auburn a 70-61 defeat in Columbia on Feb. 15.
:: Give the Gamecocks their second win over a team with an RPI among the top 40 in the nation, as the Tigers enter the SEC Tournament with an RPI of 35, according to Collegerpi.com. Carolina’s other top-40 win came two weeks ago against this same Auburn team.
:: Avenge last year’s loss to the Tigers in the first round of the SEC Tournament that bumped the Gamecocks out of NCAA Tournament consideration.
:: Mark Carolina’s third win in its last four games and its fourth win in the last six games.
:: Mark the Tigers’ fifth loss in their last seven games.
:: Mark the Gamecocks’ third win in their last four meetings with the Tigers.
:: Mark the Gamecocks’ first win at the SEC Tournament since a 79-64 victory over Ole Miss in 2003.
:: Improve the Gamecocks’ record to 4-2 in games played against the SEC’s other bubble teams this year (Auburn, Miss. State and Kentucky).
:: Set the Gamecocks up for a second-round date with SEC regular-season champion Tennessee.
Land of the Giants
Thursday’s game will match the two tallest teams in the SEC, as Auburn holds the distinction of being the tallest team in the league and the second-tallest team in the country with an average height of 6-0 1/2. South Carolina is the second-tallest team in the SEC and the 14th-tallest team in the NCAA with an average height of just under 6-0. Eight of Auburn’s 13 active players are listed at 6-0 or taller, with seven of Carolina’s 13 active players listed at 6-0 or taller. Gamecocks In The Top 25 Nationally Entering the SEC Tournament, South Carolina ranks among the top 25 teams nationally in blocked shots (10th; 5.9 per game), rebounding margin (11th; +8.6) and steals (11th; 12.0 per game).
Last Meeting; South Carolina 70, Auburn 61
Stacy Booker hit a season-high 27 points and scored the final nine points of the game in leading the South Carolina women’s basketball team to a 70-61 win over Auburn on Feb. 15 at the Colonial Center. Booker added three steals and four assists to go with her 27 points off the bench and converted on 9-of-14 attempts from the field. The Gamecocks stifled Auburn over the final 3:07 of the first half, outscoring the Tigers 11-0 to turn a three-point deficit into a 33-25 halftime lead. Auburn twice pulled within two points early in the second half before the Gamecocks went on a 15-4 run in a span of four minutes and 48 seconds to increase their lead to double-digits, 57-45, with 9:31 remaining. The Tigers never stayed out of the game, clawing back with small runs before tying the game, 61-61 with one minute and 55 seconds remaining in the game. Booker took over from there, scoring the final nine points of the game. Her three-pointer to give the Gamecocks a 64-61 lead was her fifth from beyond the arc in the game, tying her career-high. On Carolina’s next possession, Booker found the lane for a lay-up to increase the lead to 66-61. The Tigers then sent her to the free throw line twice in the final 25 seconds as she sank all four attempts for the 70-61 victory. Demetress Adams matched a Colonial Center record with five blocks in the game, with her final rejection proving to be a pivotal one. With South Carolina leading 64-61 with 1:07 remaining in the game, Adams blocked Whitney Boddie’s jumper at the free-throw line and Carolina’s Melanie Johnson recovered the rebound. The Tigers did not score again for the remainder of the game.