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Dec. 2, 2008

South Carolina vs. Wake Forest | 11 a.m.
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Last Time Out
South Carolina won the Cancun Thanksgiving Classic with a nail-biting 57-54 victory over UNC Wilmington in the championship game. The Gamecocks shot a season-high 43.5 percent from the field but needed a final-possession driving layup with the shot clock running down from LaKeisha Sutton and a key defensive rebound from Jewel May in the final seconds to secure the victory. An opening-game 43-34 win over Ohio set up the Gamecocks’ first regular-season tournament championship since 2003-04. Senior Brionna Dickerson was named tournament MVP, and Sutton earned a spot on the All-Tournament team.

Series Notes
South Carolina leads the series 1-0 after claiming an 83-69 victory over the Demon Deacons in the opening game of the Wake Forest Invitational on Nov. 24, 1995. Head coach Dawn Staley has never coached against the Demon Deacons.

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

A South Carolina Win Would …
• Be the Gamecocks’ fourth in a row.
• Be the Gamecocks’ first road win of the season.
• Improve its record over current Atlantic Coast Conference schools to 75-70, including a 1-1 mark so far this season.

Scouting the Demon Deacons
Wake Forest is a perfect 5-0 this season with four of those victories by 22 points or more. Only Charlotte gave the Demon Deacons a battle before falling 75-67. Three players average double-figure points for Wake with Alex Tchangoue leading the way at 13.6 ppg. She shoots a team-high 52.4 percent from the field including 56.3 percent from 3-point range. As impressive as the Demon Deacons’ offense is, they also lead the country in scoring defense by holding opponents to 45.2 points per game. Wake Forest also leads the country with 17.4 steals per game. As a team, the Demon Deacons score 72.4 points per game on 38.8 percent shooting, including 32.1 percent from 3-point range, and out-rebound opponents by 1.0 boards per game. Opponents have shot 30.2 percent from the field, including just 20.8 percent from 3-point range. Head coach Mike Peterson is in his fifth season at Wake Forest, leading the Demon Deacons to a 58-66 record, which gives hi a 16-year career mark of 246-193.

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.

Know When to Hold `Em
With an offense that scores just 51.0 points per game, the Gamecocks have relied on a stingy defense to stay in and win games this season. The effort has made South Carolina the stingiest team in the SEC and the fourth-best defense in the country. The Gamecocks have allowed just 48.6 points per game and are just behind NCAA-leader Wake Forest, which yields just 45.2 points per outing. South Carolina is second in the SEC and 29th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to hit just 23.9 percent from behind the arc.

Chairman of the Boards
Senior Demetress Adams has grabbed double-digit boards in two of the first four games this season and currently leads the SEC with 8.6 boards per game. She is just ahead of Georgia’s Angel Robinson, who has pulled down 8.5 rebounds per game. 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. She grabbed eight against Davidson and seven against Ohio before pulling in a season-low five against UNC Wilmington.

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 the win over Davidson, freshman swingman Miranda Tate netted 13 points to pace the offense. At the Cancun Thanksgiving Classic, Brionna Dickerson became the first Gamecock to lead the team in scoring in multiple games as her 15 points against both Ohio and UNC Wilmington were both team highs.

Deciding December
The Gamecocks have a 132-70 record all-time in the month of December. South Carolina has gone undefeated in the last month of the year four times, including a 7-0 mark in the 2001-02 season. The most recent perfect December was a 6-0 record in the 2005-06 season. The Gamecocks are 74-21 at home in December and 31-27 on the road. The gap narrows to 22-20 in December games played at a neutral site. (Seven games in the Gamecock history books do not indicate the site of the contest.) This season, the Gamecocks have seven games scheduled in December with six of them to be played at Colonial Life Arena.

Noting November
The South Carolina women’s basketball program has a 63-32 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 played five November games in 2008-09 with a 3-2 record, including a 1-1 mark at home.

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 – 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.

Title Time
With the win over UNC Wilmington, South Carolina won the Cancun Thanksgiving Classic, its first regular-season tournament title since 2003-04. That season, the Gamecocks topped Southern Utah and host New Mexico en route to the Southwest Airlines Lobo Shootout in Albuquerque, N.M.

On Lock Down
The South Carolina defense had Ohio on nearly a complete lock down in the first half of its win over the Bobcats. The Gamecocks allowed just eight points in the 20-minute period, the lowest first-half output by a Gamecock opponent since Bethune-Cookman netted a Gamecock defensive record seven on Dec. 21, 2005. Carolina’s defensive effort matched the one against Florida A&M on Dec. 30, 2001, as the second stingiest in school history.

Double or Nothing
South Carolina held an opponent without a double-digit scorer for two straight games to open play last week. Both Davidson and Ohio failed to see a player reach double-digit points against the Gamecocks. Each team brought at least one double-digit scorer into the contest. In fact, Ohio had three players averaging 10 or more points per game only to score a season-low 34 points against South Carolina.

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.

The Adams Family
Senior Demetress Adams (Bishopville, S.C./Lee Central) leads the SEC with 8.6 rebounds per game … is second on the team with 8.2 points per game … has recorded two double-doubles this season … scored 14 points on 7-of-14 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds against Ohio … 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 … 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’ leading scorer at 10.0 points per game … was named Cancun Thanksgiving Classic MVP after leading the team to the tournament title with 15 points against both UNC Wilmington and Ohio … 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.

My Friends Call Me Cocoa
Sophomore Lauren Falohun (Atlanta, Ga./Pace Academy) averages 5.0 points and 2.0 assists … handed out a career-high four assists against UNC Wilmington … scored four points in 14 minutes against Ohio … 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.

The Kennedy Legacy
Sophomore Samone Kennedy (Birmingham, Ala./Ramsay) swiped four steals and grabbed three rebounds against Ohio … 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.

Jewel of the Nile
Sophomore Jewel May (Conyers, Ga./Heritage) has started every game this season … is second on the team with 5.4 rebounds per game to go with 4.6 points per outing … added seven points and seven rebounds in just 16 minutes against UNC Wilmington … pulled down a career-high eight rebounds, including four on the offensive end, against Ohio … 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.

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.

Set the Pace
Senior C.J. Pace (Snellville, Ga./Chipola College) averages 5.0 points and 5.2 rebounds per game … grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds against UNC Wilmington … pulled down six rebounds, including three offensive, to go with four points against Ohio … 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.

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) is the team’s third-highest scorer with 6.2 points per game … was named to the Cancun Thanksgiving Classic All-Tournament team … scored a season-high 12 points against UNC Wilmington, including what proved to be the game-winning basket with the shot clock winding down … tied for team-high honors with three assists playing a season-high 24 minutes against Ohio … 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 scoring 4.8 points per game and shooting a team-best 41.7 percent (5-of-12) from 3-point range … grabbed a season-high five rebounds against UNC Wilmington … scored a team-high 13 points, including three 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 pulling down 2.8 rebounds per game to go with 4.3 points per game … was a perfect 3-for-3 from the field to add six points against UNC Wilmington … 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.

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.