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Jan. 21, 2009

South Carolina at Ole Miss | 8 p.m. (ET)
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Last Time Out
South Carolina led for most of the first half, but saw No. 13/15 Tennessee open the second half with a 17-4 run en route to a hard-fought 68-56 win over the Gamecocks Sunday afternoon in Knoxville. Senior Brionna Dickerson scored a game-high 17 points, netting 14 of those in the first half behind four 3-pointers, and freshman Charenee Stephens grabbed 11 boards to lead all rebounders.

Series Notes
Mississippi leads the series 15-10, although the teams have split the last four meetings. South Carolina scored a 71-62 victory in Columbia in the last matchup between the two on Feb. 10, 2008. Ole Miss opened the 2007-08 season series with a 74-61 victory on its home court on Jan. 20. The Gamecocks are 2-8 against the Rebels in Oxford after falling in their last three trips to Ole Miss. Carolina’s last win at Mississippi was a 91-68 decision on Mar. 2, 2003. South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley is 1-1 against the Rebels in her coaching career. Staley’s Temple Owls dropped a narrow 54-53 decision at Ole Miss on Jan. 2, 2003, after topping the Rebels 84-69 in Philadelphia on Dec. 31, 2001.

A South Carolina Win Would …
• Be the Gamecocks’ first SEC win of the season and just their second road win of 2008-09.
• End a four-game losing streak for the Gamecocks.
• Be head coach Dawn Staley’s first SEC win as a head coach in the league.

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.

Sending Out an SOS
Through games of Jan. 20, South Carolina is ranked 17th in the nation in strength of schedule (SOS). In the SEC, only Tennessee (2) has played a tougher schedule than the Gamecocks so far this season. The Gamecocks’ RPI of 70 slots in behind Tennessee (3), Auburn (13), Florida (16), LSU (41), Kentucky (40), Mississippi State (45) and Vanderbilt (53) in the SEC.

Triple Play
South Carolina’s seven 3-pointers at No. 13/15 Tennessee were not a season high for the Gamecocks (they hit eight against Charlotte), but the fact that just two players combined to hit them is noteworthy. Senior Brionna Dickerson started the barrage by hitting her first three attempts from long range. In the first 20 minutes, she hit four 3-pointers, one off her career high. It was her best shooting in a half since setting her career mark with 5-of-5 accuracy in the first half against Virginia on Nov. 15, 2007. Freshman Lakeisha Sutton took her cues from the veteran and finished with 3-of-3 shooting from long range against the Lady Vols. It was just the third time in school history that a freshman was a perfect 3-of-3 from outside the arc. Sutton joins Sarah Burgess atop the record book in that category as Burgess accomplished the feat twice, most recently against Vanderbilt on Jan. 16, 2003.

Wiping the Glass
Freshman guard Charenee Stephens enjoyed a break-out game on the boards at No. 13/15 Tennessee, pulling down a game-high 11 rebounds. That performance ranks among the top 10 single-game rebound efforts in conference play this season. Stephens is one of just two freshman and four total underclassmen (freshman or sophomore) to make that list. Arkansas’ Ceira Ricketts has the best rebounding by a freshman in league play this season, grabbing 13 against Auburn. Kentucky sophomore Victoria Dunlap has two entries on the list – 13 against Mississippi State and 12 at Alabama. Sophomore Tierney Jenkins of Alabama matched Stephens’ 11 boards against Kentucky.

Answering to the D.A.
Senior Demetress Adams is fifth in the SEC with 7.5 rebounds per game and 22nd in scoring at 11.3 points per outing. Adams grabbed double-digit boards in five of the Gamecocks’ first eight games this season, including two games of 12 rebounds (USC Upstate, Penn State), which helped her sit atop the conference rebound standings for much of the early season. Since then, it’s been largely Adams’ offense that has done damage to opponents. She has scored 14 or more points in seven of the last 12 games, including 19 against Charlotte and 17 against No. 9/8 Auburn in just 20 minutes on the floor.

Brionna’s Boom
Senior Brionna Dickerson continues her march up the SEC scoring standings, sitting in 10th place at 12.9 points per game, highlighted by a season-high 20 points against No. 19 Florida on Jan. 15. She has reached double-figure points in all but three games this season and has scored 15 or more points nine times, including all four SEC contests. Earlier this season, Dickerson put together a similar three-game stretch that included both games of the Cancun Thanksgiving Classic and yielded Tournament MVP honors. In SEC play, Dickerson ranks third in the league with 18.8 points per game and is the league’s second-best 3-point shooter, hitting 3.3 3-point field goals per game at a 41.9 percent clip. Dickerson’s 38.2 field goal percentage in league play is 11th-best in the conference.

Flashy Frosh
Freshman guard Lakeisha Sutton is at it again on the offensive end. After her offense surged during her three-game stretch in the starting lineup (Dec. 16-21), Sutton has returned to a reserve role but burst onto the SEC scene. She made her conference debut with 17 points against No. 9/8 Auburn then went to Georgia and netted 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting. She cooled off a bit against No. 19 Florida, scoring seven points but matching her season high with five assists. Sutton was a perfect 3-of-3 from 3-point range at No. 13/15 Tennessee en route to nine points. Sutton set or tied four career highs at Georgia – field goal percentage (.857), rebounds (4), defensive rebounds (3) and assists (5). So far in SEC play, Sutton averages 12.8 points to rank 14th in the league, third among SEC freshmen. She is also among the SEC’s top 10 in steals per game (2.3, 5th) through the first four conference games.

It’s a Block Party!
After recording 55 blocked shots in 2007-08, the third-most in school history, senior Demetress Adams has continued her charge up the Gamecocks’ career blocked shots list with 19 so far this season. Currently alone in third place, she needs 10 more to reach Michelle Murray in second place.
Career Blocked Shots
1. 177 Lakesha Tolliver (2004-08)
2. 148 Michelle Murray (1989-93)
3. 138 Demetress Adams (2005-present)

Judging January
The Gamecocks are 162-162 all-time in the month of January. South Carolina’s best record in the first month of the year came in the 1979-80 season when the Gamecocks were 10-1. In January, Carolina is 99-68 at home, 50-86 on the road and a perfect 4-0 at a neutral site (17 games in the Gamecock history books do not indicate the site of the contest, during which Carolina is 9-8.) The Gamecocks are 1-4 so far in their schedule of eight January games this season.

The Adams Family
Senior Demetress Adams (Bishopville, S.C./Lee Central) is fifth in the SEC with 7.5 rebounds per game … is second on the team and ranks 22nd in the SEC with 11.3 points per game … is 13th in the league in blocked shots (1.1 per game) … tied her season high with three blocks at No. 13/15 Tennessee while adding nine points and eight rebounds, including five on the offensive end … narrowly missed a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds against No. 19 Florida, adding a pair of blocked shots as well … moved into third place on the school career blocked shot list with her block at Georgia, giving her 133 in her career … has recorded four double-doubles this season and has been the team’s leading rebounder seven times … has scored in double figures 10 times, including eight games of 14 or more points … scored 17 points in just 20 foul-plagued minutes against No. 9/8 Auburn.

What Do You Serve With Brie?
Senior Brionna Dickerson (Columbia, S.C./Heathwood Hall) leads the team and ranks 10th in the SEC with 12.9 points per game … is second in the league with 34.2 minutes played per game and 14th in 3-point fields made at 1.3 per game … has been the team’s leading scorer eight times and reached double-figure points in 14 games … averages 18.8 points in SEC play, third-best in the league … is among the SEC’s top two 3-point shooters in league play, scoring 3.3 triples per game and shooting at a 41.9 percent clip … hit four 3-pointers, one off her career high, en route to a game-high 17 points at No. 13/15 Tennessee … netted a season-high 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds against No. 19 Florida … scored 19 points at Georgia, her second-straight game at that number, hitting three 3-pointers … paced the squad with 19 points, including 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range, against No. 9/8 Auburn.

You Can Call Me Cocoa
Sophomore Lauren Falohun (Atlanta, Ga./Pace Academy) averages 3.1 points and 1.5 assists … hit her first bucket in SEC play, a 3-pointer, against No. 19 Florida.

The Kennedy Legacy
Sophomore Samone Kennedy (Birmingham, Ala./Ramsay) has started the last 10 games … leads the team with 2.6 assists per game … is 10th in the SEC with 4.0 assists per game in league play … tied her season high with seven assists at No. 13/15 Tennessee … added 11 points, including a 3-pointer early in the game, and dished three assists against No. 19 Florida … handed out three assists and swiped two steals to go with six points at Georgia … played the full 40 minutes for the first time in her career against No. 9/8 Auburn, handing out three assists against just one turnover and scoring seven points.

Jewel of the Nile
Sophomore Jewel May (Conyers, Ga./Heritage) has grabbed 5.7 rebounds per game to go with 5.1 points per outing … has led the team in rebounding five times this season … tied her career high with two blocked shots at No. 13/15 Tennessee and pulled down three offensive rebounds … grabbed a game-high eight rebounds at Georgia, including four on the offensive end … added six points and five rebounds, including three offensive, against No. 9/8 Auburn despite playing just 26 minutes due to foul trouble.

A Newton of Force
Redshirt freshman Courtney Newton (Flowery Branch, Ga./Flowery Branch) has played in 11 games after missing the first two games with a right knee injury … hit the only shot she took, a 3-pointer, against No. 19 Florida.

Set the Pace
Senior C.J. Pace (Snellville, Ga./Chipola College) averages 6.2 points and 5.8 rebounds, 20th-best in the SEC on the glass … grabbed eight rebounds, including a career-high four on the offensive end, and handed out a career-high three assists against No. 19 Florida … led the team with seven rebounds and scored six points against No. 9/8 Auburn.

CSI: Columbia
Freshman Charenee Stephens (Decatur, Ga./Southwest DeKalb) has played in every game since making her season debut on Dec. 28 after sitting out the first 10 games for personal reasons … led the team with a career-high 11 rebounds, including five offensive, at No. 13/15 Tennessee while tying her career high with six points … scored a season-high six points against No. 19 Florida, going 3-of-4 from the field … netted four points and matched her season high with four rebounds at Georgia, playing 19 minutes … scored her first career points with a pair of baskets against No. 9/8 Auburn while adding three rebounds to the effort.

Jersey Girl
Freshman Lakeisha Sutton (Trenton, N.J./Trenton Catholic) is the team’s third-highest scorer with 9.4 points per game … is 10th in the SEC with a .667 free-throw percentage … has scored in double figures eight times, including three games with 15 or more points … is second on the team with 12.8 points per game in SEC play to rank 15th in the league (third among SEC freshmen) … has handed out 3.8 assists per game against SEC opponents, 11th-best in the league … hit 3-of-3 from 3-point range at No. 13/15 Tennessee, just the third time in school history a freshman has shot that well from behind the arc … tied her season-high with five assists against No. 19 Florida, scoring seven points as well … sparked the offense late to finish with 18 points at Georgia, hitting 6-of-7 field goals to tie for fourth-best field goal percentage by a freshman in school history … poured in 17 points against No. 9/8 Auburn, including hitting 7-of-8 from the free-throw line.

Miranda Rights
Freshman Miranda Tate (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) is scoring 3.0 points per game … added a bucket at Georgia.

T Time
Freshman Tonia Williams (Warner Robins, Ga./Houston County) has come off the bench in five games this season.