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Nov. 27, 2008

Game Notes

Last Time Out
The Gamecocks used a smothering defense early and a quick-strike offense late to post a 68-47 win over Davidson Monday night at Colonial Life Arena. The first win at South Carolina for head coach Dawn Staley came with leadership from senior Demetress Adams (10 points, 8 rebounds) and double-digit scoring from freshmen Miranda Tate and Lakeish Sutton (13 and 11 points, respectively). South Carolina held Davidson to just 30.2 percent shooting in the game and forced 31 turnovers, including 20 in the first half alone.

Series Notes
South Carolina has never lost to any of the three teams in the Cancun Thanksgiving Classic, boasting 3-0 records against both Ohio and UNC Wilmington and a 1-0 mark against Fordham. The Gamecocks last topped their first opponent, Ohio, by a 77-49 score on Dec. 15, 2006, in Columbia. South Carolina recorded a 72-60 home victory over UNC Wilmington on Dec. 1, 2007. The Gamecocks’ lone outing against Fordham was a decisive 77-38 win on Dec. 3, 2006. South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley has a more lengthy history against Fordham, a team she faced regularly as a fellow Atlantic 10 Conference member during her eight-year tenure at Temple. Staley lost just once in 14 games against the Rams. She has not coached against either Ohio or UNC Wilmington.

Injury Report
Freshman Charenee Stephens will not suit up for the Gamecocks for an unspecified period of time for personal reasons.

New Dawn
Head coach Dawn Staley is in her first season with the Gamecocks following an eight-year run at Temple. She helped her hometown Owls to six NCAA Tournament appearances, four Atlantic 10 Tournament titles and the program’s first national ranking. She compiled a 172-80 record (.683) and amassed six seasons of 20 or more

The Gold Standard
While head coach Dawn Staley has become synonymous with Olympic gold, the entire South Carolina coaching staff boasts a wealth of experience and achievement. Including assistant coaches Lisa Boyer, Carla McGhee and Nikki McCray, the Gamecock women’s basketball staff has combined for 39 years of coaching experience, 29 years of playing professionally in the United States, seven Olympic gold medals and two NCAA National Championships.

High-Low Play
In their most recent outing, the Gamecocks posted a series of highs and opponent lows against Davidson on Monday night. The offense had its best outing of the season with 68 points on 37.7 percent shooting. The Gamecocks shot 81.3 percent (13-of-16) from the free-throw line. Defensively, South Carolina swiped a season-high 15 steals and held Davidson to just 47 points, the low mark for a South Carolina opponent this season. The Wildcats committed a total of 31 turnovers in the game, a season-high for Carolina opponents.

Chairman of the Boards
Senior Demetress Adams has grabbed double-digit boards in two of the first three games this season and currently leads the SEC with 10.3 boards per game. She is just ahead of Kentucky’s Victoria Dunlap, who has pulled down 10.0 rebounds per outings so far this season. Adams opened the season with 12 rebounds at Penn State and followed that with an 11-rebound effort against Clemson, despite playing just 22 foul-plagued minutes.

Spread Offense
Opponents may have a difficult time scouting the Gamecock offense early this season as each game has featured a different leading scorer. In the opener at Penn State, seniors Demetress Adams and C.J. Pace shared high-scorer honors with 11 points apiece. Against Clemson, sophomore point guard Lauren Falohun’s 10 points were the high-water mark for the Gamecocks. In Monday’s win over Davidson, freshman swingman Miranda Tate netted 13 points to pace the offense.

Noting November
The South Carolina women’s basketball program has a 61-32 record in the month of November, including a 31-9 mark at home, since playing its first November game during the 1978-79 season. While that initial outing was a loss, the Gamecocks did not lost another November game until the 1985-86 season. South Carolina has missed out on a winning record in November just five times. The Gamecocks’ best mark during the month was a perfect 5-0 slate during the 1998-99 season. Carolina will play five November games in 2008-09 with just two taking place in Columbia.

Top 10 to Talk About
In addition to senior Demetress Adams’ league-leading 10.3 rebounds per game, the Gamecocks boast several other top-10 showings in the SEC standings. Adams owns a pair of them as she is eighth in steals per game (2.7) and ninth in minutes played per game (30.3). Senior Brionna Dickerson joins Adams on the minutes played chart, logging 32.3 per game to rank fourth. Sophomore Samone Kennedy is in eighth place with a 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio, and freshman Miranda Tate is tied for ninth in the league as she has made 1.3 3-point field goals per game.

Know When to Hold ‘Em
Without a player averaging double-figure points, South Carolina has had to rely on its defense to stay in games early this season. The effort on that side of the ball has made the Gamecocks among the SEC’s stingiest teams. South Carolina is second in the league in scoring defense, allowing opponents just 51.7 points per game. The Gamecocks lead the league in 3-point field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to hi just 18.5 percent from behind the arc.

Preseason Plaudits
South Carolina senior Demetress Adams earned a spot the Preseason All-SEC Second Team earlier this month. Adams was a second-team all-conference selection by both the coaches and the media in 2007-08 after averaging 10.9 points and 8.9 rebounds.

It’s a Block Party!
After recording 55 blocked shots in 2007-08, the third-most in school history, senior Demetress Adams looks to continue her charge up the Gamecocks’ career blocked shots list. She needs just 13 to meet former teammate Ilona Burgrova’s 133 in third place.
Career Blocked Shots
1. 177 Lakesha Tolliver (2004-08)
2. 148 Michelle Murray (1989-93)
3. 133 Ilona Burgrova (2004-08)
4. 120 Demetress Adams (2005-present)

Definitive Demetress
Senior Demetress Adams has recorded 13 career double-doubles, including eight last season, and the Gamecocks are 11-2 in those games. South Carolina suffered its first loss in a game where Adams reached double figures in points and rebounds at No. 8 LSU on Jan. 31, 2008. The Gamecocks dropped a 56-42 decision at Penn State this season, despite Adams’ 11-point, 12-rebound effort.

New Foes
After playing six first-time opponents last season, the Gamecocks will face just two unfamiliar foes in 2008-09 ñ Stanford and USC Upstate. South Carolina was 4-2 against its first-time opponents last season and is 50-17 in its first meeting with a non-SEC opponent since joining the league in 1991-92.

The Adams Family
Senior Demetress Adams (Bishopville, S.C./Lee Central) leads the SEC with 10.3 rebounds per game … is the team’s top scorer as well with 7.7 points per game … just missed her third-straight double-double with a 10-point, eight-rebound outing against Davidson while also swiping four steals … in the opener at Penn State, logging 11 points and 12 rebounds, including eight in the first half … scored 14 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in the exhibition game against Peach State Elite with all but four points and three rebounds coming in the second half … was named to the Preseason All-SEC second team by the league’s coaches.

What Do You Serve With Brie?
Senior Brionna Dickerson (Columbia, S.C./Heathwood Hall) is the Gamecocks’ third-leading scorer at 6.7 points per game … added six points and handed out three assists against Davidson … scored four points and grabbed five rebounds against Clemson … added 10 points in the season opener at Penn State … led the team with 16 points in the exhibition against Peach State Elite, playing a team-high 38 minutes.

My Friends Call Me Cocoa
Sophomore Lauren Falohun (Atlanta, Ga./Pace Academy) averages 5.7 points and 1.7 assists … pulled down a career-high four rebounds against Davidson … scored a career-high 10 points, including a career-best 4-for-4 effort at the free-throw line, against Clemson … drew her first career start in the season opener at Penn State, handing out a team-high three assists in 25 minutes … played in 14 games last season, adding 0.1 points and 0.9 rebounds per game.

The Kennedy Legacy
Sophomore Samone Kennedy (Birmingham, Ala./Ramsay) leads the team with 3.0 assists per game … dished out a team-high seven assists to go with six points against Davidson … played 19 minutes against Clemson, handing out a pair of assists … saw limited time in the season opener at Penn State … handed out a game-high four assists in just 17 minutes in the exhibition against Peach State Elite.

Jewel of the Nile
Sophomore Jewel May (Conyers, Ga./Heritage) has started every game this season … added four points and matched her career high with two blocked shots against Davidson … pulled down four rebounds and hit both her free-throw attempts against Clemson … earned her first career start in the season opener at Penn State, adding six points and five rebounds in 20 minutes on the court … scored seven points and snagged six rebounds in just 10 minutes of action in the exhibition against Peach State Elite.

A Newton of Force
Redshirt freshman Courtney Newton (Flowery Branch, Ga./Flowery Branch) is back on the court after missing the first two games with a right knee injury … grabbed three rebounds in her season debut against Davidson … took a redshirt in 2007-08 following season-ending surgery on her left knee five games into the season … should provide outside shooting punch as she hit 33.3 percent from outside the arc in five games last season, including a 3-for-7 outing against Buffalo.

Set the Pace
Senior C.J. Pace (Snellville, Ga./Chipola College) averages 5.0 points and 3.0 rebounds per game … drew the start against Clemson, adding four points and three rebounds … tied for team-high honors at Penn State with 11 points, including a career-high three 3-pointers, and grabbed six rebounds … played 28 minutes in the exhibition against Peach State Elite, grabbing four rebounds.

CSI: Columbia
Freshman Charenee Stephens (Decatur, Ga./Southwest DeKalb) will not play in any games for an undetermined period of time for personal reasons … was tabbed as the fifth-best forward in the 2008 class by and the 33rd-best player in the class by

Jersey Girl
Freshman LaKeisha Sutton (Trenton, N.J./Trenton Catholic) found success driving to the basket against Davidson, scoring 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting in just 16 minutes of action … provided a spark off the bench against Clemson, scoring five points and grabbing three rebounds in just eight minutes … earned the start in the season opener at Penn State … drew a starting spot in the exhibition game against Peach State Elite and poured in 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting, which included a number of driving layups.

Miranda Rights
Freshman Miranda Tate (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) is the Gamecocks’ second-leading scorer with 7.0 points per game and is hitting 50.0 percent (4-of-8) from 3-point range … scored a team-high 13 points, including 3 3-pointers, against Davidson … tied for second on the team with eight points against Clemson, hitting 3-of-6 from the field, including the team’s lone 3-pointer of the game … saw six minutes off the bench at Penn State in her collegiate debut … scored 10 points and handed out two assists in the exhibition game against Peach State, playing 28 minutes of the bench.

Wheeler Dealer
Freshman Sada Wheeler (Gainesville, Ga./East Hall) is grabbing 3.3 rebounds per game to go with 3.7 points per game … scored seven points and snagged three offensive rebounds against Davidson … added two points and snagged a rebound against Clemson … tied for second on the team with six rebounds in the season opener at Penn State … netted 10 points on 5-of-5 shooting and grabbed five rebounds in just 11 minutes of the exhibition against Peach State Elite.

T Time
Freshman Tonia Williams (Warner Robins, Ga./Houston County) added four points and four rebounds in just eight minutes against Davidson … tied for second on the team in points and rebounds against Clemson with eight of each while adding three steals … made her collegiate debut in the season opener at Penn State, adding an offensive rebound to the effort.