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Jan. 24, 2009

South Carolina vs. No. 17/18 Vanderbilt | 3 p.m.
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Last Time Out
Senior Brionna Dickerson’s career night propelled South Carolina to a 76-67 win at Mississippi Thursday night, the first SEC win of the season for Carolina. The Gamecocks’ sharp-shooter poured in 31 points, 21 of which came in the second half, as she matched her career high with five 3-pointers. The bench was the other key factor in the contest with the reserves accounting for 41 points. Freshman Charenee Stephens collected her first career double-double with 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

Series Notes
Vanderbilt leads the series 19-5 and has won the last seven meetings. The Commodores cruised to a 78-48 victory in the most recent meeting on Feb. 7, 2008, in Nashville. South Carolina last topped the Commodores in a 66-57 decision over then-No. 17 Vanderbilt on Jan. 16, 2003, in Nashville. South Carolina is 4-6 against the Commodores in Columbia. The home fans last saw a win over Vanderbilt when the Gamecocks upset the then-No. 6 Commodores 71-52 on Jan. 3, 2002. The Gamecocks have faced a nationally-ranked Vanderbilt team 18 times, winning four of those matchups. In seven games in which the Commodores were ranked in the nation’s top 10, South Carolina is 3-4, including a 72-65 win over then-No. 4 Vanderbilt on Dec. 31, 1991.

Injury Report
Senior Demetress Adams suffered a season-ending right knee injury at Ole Miss Thursday night.

A South Carolina Win Would …
• Be the Gamecocks’ first over a nationally-ranked team since topping then-No. 14 Minnesota 79-61 on Dec. 13, 2005, in Columbia.
• Be the Gamecocks’ first over a nationally-ranked SEC team since beating then-No. 13 Arkansas 83-59 on Feb. 16, 2003, in Columbia.
• Be head coach Dawn Staley’s first coaching win over a nationally-ranked team since she led Temple to a 48-47 victory at then-No. 9 Rutgers on Jan. 19, 2006 – the highest-ranked team she has defeated in her career.
• Be head coach Dawn Staley’s fourth against a nationally-ranked team in 26 outings.

Think Pink!
South Carolina is one a numerous teams around the country participating in the WBCA’s 2009 Pink Zone Week, which begins Feb. 13. A global, unified effort to help raise breast cancer awareness on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond, schools are participating in various ways. For the Gamecocks, the initiative begins tonight when the first 150 Carolina fans at the Florida game receive a Pink Zone piggy bank, courtesy of Firehouse Subs, in which to collect spare change to donate to the Kay Yow/WBCA Breast Cancer Fund on Sun., Feb. 8. The first 500 fans that bring their banks to Colonial Life Arena on Feb. 8 will receive a South Carolina Women’s Basketball Pink Zone t-shirt.

Go Green!
South Carolina men’s and women’s basketball has teamed with Richland County to work toward creating a greener Columbia. Fans who bring their recyclable plastics to each home game in January can enter to win a Super Bowl Party prize pack that includes a flat screen LCD television and all the necessary food to host a great Super Bowl Party. The winner of the prize pack will be announced on Jan. 28 during the men’s game against Vanderbilt.

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. 23, South Carolina is ranked 10th in the nation in strength of schedule (SOS). In the SEC, only Tennessee (1) has played a tougher schedule than the Gamecocks so far this season. The Gamecocks’ RPI of 56 is just behind Tennessee (3), Auburn (11), Florida (17), Mississippi State (41), Kentucky (42) and LSU (47) in the SEC.

Elite Visitors
Vanderbilt is the fifth top-25 team to visit Colonial Life Arena this season, providing Gamecock fans more opportunities to see the nation’s elite at home this season than any since 2000-01, when five top-25 squads also arrived in Columbia. The most nationally-ranked teams (top 25) to play in Columbia in the regular-season is six, which happened in 1989-90. That season, South Carolina squared off against a school-record 13 top-25 teams, against which the Gamecocks were 4-9. Six nationally-ranked squad also played the Gamecocks on their homecourt in 1979-80, but two of those games were part of the AIAW Region II Tournament.

The Last Time …
On Jan. 22 at Ole Miss, South Carolina reached a series of impressive benchmarks.
• With 31 points, Brionna Dickerson became the first Gamecock to score 30 or more points in an SEC game since Jocelyn Penn led Carolina to a 97-51 win over Kentucky on Feb. 27, 2003, with 35 points.
• Charenee Stephens’ double-double (points/rebound) was the first by a Gamecock freshman since Demetress Adams achieved the feat twice in 2005-06 (11 pts/12 reb vs. High Point on Nov. 18; 12 pts/10 reb vs. Bethune-Cookman on Dec. 21). It was the first double-double for a Carolina freshman in an SEC game since Iva Sliskovic helped Carolina to a 77-51 win over Alabama on Feb. 12, 2004.
• South Carolina’s 20 3-point attempts were the most since the Gamecocks played at Ole Miss last season (Jan. 20, 2008). In that outing, however, Carolina hit just 5-of-24 (20.8 percent) compared to this season’s 40.0 percent accuracy (8-of-20).
• The Gamecocks’ 33 free throw attempts were the most since shooting 35 times from the charity stripe against South Carolina State on Dec. 17, 2005. In that game, a 75-40 victory, Carolina hit 22-of-35 (62.9 percent) compared to this season’s 78.8 percent accuracy (26-33).

Triple Play
South Carolina has been on a tear from outside the arc the last two games, hitting seven 3-pointers at Tennessee and following it with a season-high tying eight at Ole Miss. The Gamecocks’ 41.7 percent accuracy (15-of-36) from 3-point range in the last two outings lifted their season percentage to .324 to rank fourth in the SEC. In league play, Carolina has hit 37.3 percent from long range to rank third in the SEC. Senior Brionna Dickerson has spearheaded the outside surge, netting four threes at Tennessee and a career-high tying five at Ole Miss. She is hitting an SEC-best 42.9 percent from 3-point range and also leads the league with 3.6 3-point field goals made per SEC game. Freshman Lakeisha Sutton did her share of the damage from outside at Tennessee and finished with 3-of-3 shooting from long range. 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.

Bench Press
South Carolina got 41 of its 76 points at Ole Miss on Jan. 22 from the bench, by far the highest reserve output of the season. In fact, the four bench players outscored the Gamecock starters 41-36. Three of the four players who came off the bench scored in double figures, led by freshman Lakeisha Sutton’s 15 points. Sutton also added seven rebounds and seven assists, both career highs, in her solid all-around effort. Freshman Charenee Stephens provided the most unexpected offensive output of the bunch, netting a career-best 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field and 3-of-4 accuracy from the free throw line to go with her game-high 12 rebounds. Redshirt-freshman Courtney Newton had the best game of her comeback from a season-ending knee injury early in 2007-08. Playing both inside and out in the game, Newton scored 10 points and battled for a career-high five rebounds.

Wiping the Glass
Freshman guard Charenee Stephens has been the Gamecocks’ leading rebounder in each of the last two games – 11 boards at Tennessee and 12 at Ole Miss – and has catapulted into the top 10 in rebounding in SEC play. Her 6.4 boards per outing in league play is 17th-best in the SEC. Her 12-rebound outing at Ole Miss is the eighth-best single-game output by a player in an SEC vs. SEC contest this season. She is one of just two freshmen and three total underclassmen (freshman or sophomore) to make the list. Arkansas’ Ceira Ricketts has the best rebounding game 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.

Closing Statement from the D.A.
Following her season-ending knee injury at Ole Miss, senior Demetress Adams was the SEC’s fifth-best rebounder at 7.2 boards per game and the 24th-highest scorer with 10.7 points per outing. She netted double-figure points 11 times, including eight games of 14 or more, highlighted by 19 against Charlotte and 17 against No. 9/8 Auburn in just 20 minutes on the floor. Adams put together for double-doubles this season as well. Adams closed her Gamecock career averaging 8.7 points and 6.6 rebounds. While she fell just 23 points shy of reaching the 1,000-point plateau, she ranks among the program’s all-time top 10 in four career categories – blocked shots (140, 3rd), field goal percentage (.535, 8th), offensive rebounds (274, 4th) and defensive rebounds (462, 4th). She was an All-SEC selection in 2007-08 in a break-out junior season that saw her average career highs in both points (10.9 ppg) and rebounds (8.9 rpg). Adams recorded 16 double-doubles in her career, and the Gamecocks were 13-3 in those outings. She reached double-figure points 36 times during the last four years and grabbed double-digit rebounds 23 times. Carolina has a winning record in both those situations, 31-15 and 16-7 respectively. Adams was the team’s leading rebounder 45 times in her career and leading scorer in 15 games.

Brionna’s Boom
Senior Brionna Dickerson continues her march up the SEC scoring standings, sitting in fourth place at 13.9 points per game, highlighted by a career-high 31 points at Ole Miss on Jan. 22. She has reached double-figure points in all but three games this season and has scored 15 or more points 10 times, including all five 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 second in the league with 21.2 points per game and is the league’s most prolific 3-point shooter, hitting 42.9 percent from behind the arc (18-of-42) in her first five games and 3.6 3-point field goals made per game. Dickerson’s 40.9 field goal percentage in league play is ninth-best in the conference, and her 76.2 percent free throw accuracy is 13th-best.

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 13.2 points to rank 13th in the league, third among SEC freshmen. She is also among the SEC’s top 10 in assists per game (4.4, 9th), free throw percentage (.769, 10th), steals per game (1.8, 11th) and assist-to-turnover ratio (0.8, 14th) through the first five conference games.

In Colonial Times
While the Gamecocks’ home court may have taken on a new name, South Carolina continues to enjoy a decisive advantage in Colonial Life Arena. Despite a loss in the 2008-09 home opener, South Carolina has won 65.7 percent (71-37) of its games at the facility. The Gamecocks won a high of 15 games in the building in the 2006-07 season and lost a record-low two games in 16 home contests in 2002-03. In non-conference games, South Carolina has a 53-11 record in Colonial Life Arena for a .828 winning percentage.

Judging January
The Gamecocks are 163-162 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 2-4 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 7.2 rebounds per game … is second on the team and ranks 24th in the SEC with 10.7 points per game … is 12th in the league in blocked shots (1.2 per game) … recorded four double-doubles and was the team’s leading rebounder seven times … scored in double figures 10 times, including eight games of 14 or more points … suffered a season-ending knee injury midway through the first half at Ole Miss … 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 … 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 fourth in the SEC with 13.9 points per game … is second in the league with 34.6 minutes played per game, eighth in field goal percentage at .397 and 11th in 3-point fields made at 1.7 per game … has been the team’s leading scorer nine times and reached double-figure points in 15 games … averages 21.2 points in SEC play, second-best in the league … is the SEC’s top 3-point shooter in league play, scoring 3.6 triples per game and shooting at a 42.9 percent clip … netted a career-high 31 points at Ole Miss, including 21 in the second half, with a career-high tying five 3-pointers and shooting a career-best 6-of-6 from the free throw line … 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 3.2 points and 1.3 assists … added five points off the bench at Ole Miss … 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 11 games … leads the team with 2.7 assists per game … is 10th in the SEC with 4.0 assists per game and a 1.3 assist-to-turnover ratio in league play … handed out four assists at Ole Miss … 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 12 games after missing the first two games with a right knee injury … averages 1.7 points and 2.0 rebounds … poured in 10 points, including a 3-pointer in the last second of the first half, and grabbed a career-high five rebounds at Ole Miss … 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 5.8 points and 5.5 rebounds … 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 … recorded her first career double-double with 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds at Ole Miss … 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 9.7 points per game … is 12th in the SEC with a .679 free-throw percentage … has scored in double figures nine times, including four games with 15 or more points … is second on the team with 13.2 points per game in SEC play to rank 13th in the league (third among SEC freshmen) … has handed out 4.4 assists per game against SEC opponents, ninth-best in the league … posted career highs of seven rebounds and seven assists at Ole Miss to go with 15 points … 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.