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March 19, 2007

Updated WNIT Bracket in PDF Format

Complete Release in PDF Format
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The Basics
After storming through Hartford in the second round of the Women’s NIT, South Carolina (18-14 overall) hosts Hofstra (25-7 overall) at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Colonial Center.

Ticket Information
Adults are admitted for $8. University of South Carolina students and youths under the age of 18 are admitted for $4. Call the South Carolina Ticket Office toll free at 800-4SC-FANS or locally at 803-777-4274 with any questions.

Tolliver One Block Away From Record
With 57 blocked shots this season heading into the Hofstra game, Lakesha Tolliver is in second place on South Carolina’s single-season blocked shots list. Teresa Geter (58 blocks in 2000-01) is the single-season record-holder.

Carolina in the WNIT
South Carolina is making its third appearance in the Women’s NIT and its second straight. The Gamecocks won the 1979 Women’s NIT (then referred to as the NWIT) with a trio of wins over California, Oregon and Drake. Including last week’s win over Hartford, the Gamecocks are 4-1 all-time in WNIT play.

How They Got Here
As one of the top 16 teams in the 48-team Women’s NIT field according to the Women’s NIT tier system (three tiers of 16), South Carolina earned a first-round bye. The Gamecocks saw their first action in the tournament last Sunday and handed Hartford an 81-40 beating. Also seeded as one of the top 16 seeds in the Women’s NIT field, Hofstra enjoyed a first-round bye before dispatching of Seton Hall, 64-52, last Saturday.

Series History
South Carolina and Hofstra have never met on the hardwood, but the Gamecocks have a good deal of experience against teams from the Colonial Athletic Association, as Carolina owns a 19-12 record all-time against CAA opposition. The Gamecocks faced UNC Wilmington earlier this season, winning, 75-42. Carolina has won 11 of its last 13 meetings against teams from the Colonial Athletic Association dating back to the 1989-90 season, with Head Coach Susan Walvius putting together a perfect 5-0 record against the CAA since taking over the Carolina program in 1997.

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 first season as a head coach, Krista Kilburn-Steveskey came to Hofstra after serving on the staff at James Madison from 2002-06. During her time at James Madison, Kilburn-Steveskey coordinated the Dukes recruiting and scheduling, as well as assisting with all facets of the Dukes’ program.

Common Opponents This Year
Both South Carolina and Hofstra claimed double-digit wins over Hartford this year, with the Gamecocks pounding the Hawks by an 81-40 margin last week and the Pride picking up a 70-54 win over Hartford on Dec. 22. UNC Wilmington is the only other common opponent, with South Carolina handing the Seahawks a 75-42 drubbing on Dec. 30 and Hofstra taking a 68-64 win over UNCW on Jan. 25 and a 79-50 victory on March 1.

Hofstra From A Distance
Hofstra ranks in the upper half of the nation in every statistical category the NCAA reports, but particularly stands out when it comes to rebounding and defense, as the Pride rank 20th nationally in rebounding margin (+6.2 rpg), 34th nationally in field goal percentage defense (.370 pct.) and 40th in scoring defense (57.8 ppg). Guard Cigi McCollin and center Vanessa Gidden lead the offensive attack for the Pride, as both players average 14.3 points per game. McCollin is a dangerous player in that she can hurt teams in a variety of ways. Though she attempted more three-pointers (207) than two-pointers (186), she has the ability to get to the charity stripe, attempting 125 free throws and sinking 80 percent of those attempts. Senior forward Lizanne Murphy is able to post a double-double on any given night, averaging 11.3 points and 8.9 rebounds per contest. Hofstra can play with major-college competition, evidenced by its 57-53 win over Michigan State in East Lansing on Nov. 22 and its 64-52 win over Seton Hall last week.

Like Looking Into a Mirror
Though South Carolina has traditionally feasted on mid-major conference opposition, Hofstra is not a typical mid-major team in that the Pride have comparable size to the Gamecocks with seven players standing 6-feet or taller and have comparable experience to Carolina with four seniors and two juniors on the active roster.

SEC vs. Colonial Athletic Association This Year
Teams from the SEC have more or less had their way with teams from the Colonial Athletic Association this year, as the SEC owns a 5-1 advantage over the CAA in head-to-head meetings this season. Interestingly, none of the six matchups were played on the SEC school’s home court, as four were played on the home court of the CAA school and two were played on a neutral court. A closer look:

Nov. 18 Kentucky 69, Old Dominion 55 (at ODU)
Nov. 24 Delaware 86, Kentucky 70 (at SF, Calif.)
Dec. 20 Georgia 76, George Mason 51 (at GMU)
Dec. 22 Tennessee 75, Old Dominion 59 (at ODU)
Dec. 28 Auburn 79, James Madison 76 (at Miami-Ohio Tourn.)
Dec. 30 USC 75, UNC Wilmington 42 (at UNCW)

The Colonial Athletic Association took three spots in the NCAA Tournament field and one spot in the Women’s NIT, with the SEC taking five NCAA spots and four WNIT bids. Thus far, the CAA is 1-3 in the post-season with Hofstra’s win over Seton Hall the lone victory for the league. The CAA’s three NCAA teams (Old Dominion, James Madison and Delaware) all made first-round exits, with each team losing to power-conference opposition by double-figure margins. The SEC, meanwhile, is 9-0 in post-season play this year.

A South Carolina Win Over Hofstra Would…
:: Move South Carolina into the quarterfinal round of the Women’s NIT, where the Gamecocks will face either Mississippi State, Minnesota or Western Kentucky at a date, site and time to be decided.
:: Mark the Gamecocks’ 12th win in their last 14 games played against teams from the Colonial Athletic Association dating back to the 1989-90 season.
:: Improve Susan Walvius to 6-0 against CAA opposition since taking over at South Carolina in 1997.
:: Improve the SEC’s record to 6-1 in head-to-head matchups with Colonial Athletic Association teams this year.
:: Improve the Gamecocks to 16-4 at home this year, setting a new school record for most home victories in a single season. Carolina compiled a 15-1 home record at the Carolina Coliseum in 2001-02 and in 1979-80 before moving into the Colonial Center for the 2002-03 season. The previous Colonial Center record for single-season home victories was set by the Gamecocks of 2002-03, who went 14-2 at home.

Noting South Carolina’s Schedule
USC is 18-14 on the year, with its 14 losses coming at the hands of teams that combined to post a 346-107 record this season (.764 winning 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. Going into the Hofstra game, the Gamecock bench has outscored that of the opposition by an overwhelming 1065-429 margin. The Gamecock bench has outscored that of the opposition in every game but four this season, with the exceptions being at Penn State, at NC State, at home against Samford and at Tennessee.