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Feb. 11, 2009

South Carolina at Arkansas | 8 p.m. (ET)
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Last Time Out
South Carolina erased a seven-point deficit late and took a one-point lead in the final nine seconds but came up just short in a 66-65 loss to Ole Miss Sunday at Colonial Life Arena. Aggressive defense forced a series of Rebel turnovers for a 6-0 Gamecock run at the three-minute mark, and freshman Lakeisha Sutton scored the last of her team-high 19 points on a pair of free throws to give the Gamecocks the thinnest of leads with nine seconds remaining. The Rebels struggled to get the ball up the court, but Shantell Black found a sliver of daylight in a trap just across midcourt and delivered a pass to Elizabeth Robertson at the basket for the game-winning layup at the buzzer.

Series Notes
Arkansas leads the series 14-7 but the Gamecocks have won the last three meetings. South Carolina posted a 59-50 win in last season’s meeting in Columbia behind a school-record 26 rebounds from then-junior Demetress Adams, who also scored a game-high 18 points in the outing. The Gamecocks are 1-7 against the Razorbacks in Fayetteville, but their lone win came in the most recent meeting on the Razorbacks’ home court as Carolina scored a 74-69 win on Feb. 8, 2007. Arkansas’ last win in the series was a 61-49 triumph on Jan. 29, 2006. South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley has not coached against Arkansas in her career.

Injury Report
Senior Brionna Dickerson will rehab her right knee for another two weeks after a re-evaluation Sunday showed good progress. She suffered the injury against Vanderbilt on Jan. 25. Senior Demetress Adams is out for the season after right knee surgery on Feb. 4 to repair an injury she suffered at Ole Miss on Jan. 22.

A South Carolina Win Would …
• Be the Gamecocks’ second SEC win of the season.
• Be the Gamecocks’ second road SEC win of the season.
• Be the Gamecocks’ first win since a 76-67 victory at Ole Miss on Jan. 22.

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 Feb. 10, South Carolina is ranked 15th 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. Of the 14 teams ahead of South Carolina in the standings, nine are ranked in either the AP or USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll (AP/Coaches) – Tennessee (15/18), Oklahoma (2/2), Maryland (11/9), Connecticut (1/1), Texas (13/14), Texas A&M (12/8), Baylor (7/6), Florida State (14/17) and Duke (4/10).

Flashy Frosh
Freshman guard Lakeisha Sutton is the Gamecocks’ second-leading scorer on the season and has stamped her name among the SEC’s top freshmen. She made her league debut with 17 points against No. 9/8 Auburn then went to Georgia and netted 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting. Sutton was a perfect 3-of-3 from 3-point range at No. 13/15 Tennessee en route to nine points and handed out a career-high seven assists at Ole Miss. Since league play began nine games ago, she has scored in double figures six times and netted nine points in two other games. So far in SEC play, Sutton averages 14.2 points to rank seventh in the league, tops among SEC freshmen. No Gamecock freshman has averaged 14.0 or more points in league play since Carolina joined the SEC for the 1991-92 season. Sutton is also among the SEC’s top 10 in assists per game (3.8, 8th), free throw percentage (.750, 8th) and steals per game (1.7, 9th) through the first nine conference games.

Wiping the Glass
Freshman forward Charenee Stephens, who made her debut in the starting lineup at Kentucky, has been the Gamecocks’ leading rebounder in SEC play and ranks 13th in the league with 6.1 boards per conference game. She has reached double figures in rebounds twice since league play began – 11 boards at Tennessee and 12 at Ole Miss – and snagged a team-high nine against LSU and seven against Ole Miss. The Gamecocks have not had a freshman average more than 6.0 rebounds per game in SEC play since Iva Sliskovic grabbed 7.0 per game in 2003-04.

Court Presence
While no player relishes profiting from a teammate’s loss, redshirt-freshman Courtney Newton has made the most of her increased playing time since the injuries to seniors Demetress Adams and Brionna Dickerson. A tough player who will mix it up on the block and hit the outside shot, Newton has contributed to the Gamecock effort in every way possible. In the five games since Adams suffered her injury, Newton is averaging 7.6 points and 2.4 rebounds while shooting 31.6 percent from 3-point range and swiping 1.6 steals per game. In the absence of Adams in the Jan. 22 game at Ole Miss, Newton grabbed a career-high five rebounds and scored 10 points, hitting a pair of 3-pointers and sinking 4-of-6 from the free throw line. It was her first double-figure scoring game of the season. She scored nine points at Kentucky and picked up a career-high three steals then topped both those efforts with a season-high 12 points and a career-high four steals against Ole Miss.

Figuring Out February
South Carolina is 168-125 all-time in the month of February. The Gamecocks have twice gone undefeated in the second month of the year, posting a 7-0 record in the 1990-91 season and a 9-0 mark in the 1985-86 campaign. The 1977-78 squad recorded the most February wins with 11, finishing the month with an 11-1 slate. In the shortest month of the year, Carolina is 99-36 at home, 51-70 on the road and 12-9 at neutral sites (14 games in the Gamecock history books do not include the site of the contest, during which Carolina is 6-8). The Gamecocks have six games on their February calendar this season and are 0-2 so far.

You Can Call Me Cocoa
Sophomore Lauren Falohun (Atlanta, Ga./Pace Academy) averages 3.4 points and 1.4 assists … hit 5-of-6 from the free throw line, both career-best numbers, at Kentucky and played a career-high 35 minutes … drew the start against LSU, swiping a pair of steals … played 28 minutes and scored six points against No. 17/18 Vanderbilt … 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 13 of the last 14 games … leads the team with 2.5 assists per game and scores 5.0 points per game … is 13th in the league with 3.0 assists per SEC game and is 11th with a 1.0 assist-to-turnover ratio in league play … picked up three steals against Ole Miss … swiped three steals to go with five points and two assists at Kentucky … handed out a pair of assists in just eight minutes off the bench against LSU … led the team with three assists to go with five points against No. 17/18 Vanderbilt … 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) will wear jersey number 24 for the rest of the season in honor of senior Demetress Adams, who is out for the season with an injury … has grabbed 5.8 rebounds per game to go with 4.9 points per outing … has led the team in rebounding seven times this season, including the last two games … netted 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting to go with a team-high eight rebounds, including four offensive, against Ole Miss … paced the team with eight rebounds at Kentucky … tied her career high with two steals and snared four rebounds against LSU … grabbed six rebounds against No. 17/18 Vanderbilt … 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 16 games, including two starts in the last three outings, after missing the first two games with a right knee injury … averages 3.0 points and 1.9 rebounds … is scoring 7.6 points and grabbing 2.4 rebounds per game while shooting 31.6 percent from 3-point range and swiping 1.6 steals per game since the Jan. 22 game at Ole Miss … scored a season-high 12 points and picked up a career-high four steals against Ole Miss … netted nine points and swiped a career-high three steals at Kentucky … drew her first start of the season against LSU, scoring seven points, including a career-best 4-of-4 free throw showing … 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 6.7 points and 5.7 rebounds, 20th-best in the SEC on the boards … added eight points and six rebounds at Kentucky … was in double figures for the second-straight game with 11 points, including three 3-pointers for the second-consecutive outing, to go with seven rebounds against LSU … scored a career-high 19 points against No. 17/18 Vanderbilt and narrowly missed her second double-double of the season with a game-high tying nine rebounds, including a career-high five on the offensive end … 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 … is averaging 3.8 points and 5.1 rebounds … is 13th in the league with 6.1 rebounds per SEC game … grabbed seven rebounds against Ole Miss, her third-straight game with five or more boards … made her debut in the starting lineup at Kentucky, snagging five rebounds … led the team with nine rebounds against LSU, adding 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting … 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 second-highest scorer with 10.8 points per game to rank 23rd in the SEC … is 11th in the SEC with a .684 free throw percentage … has scored in double figures 12 times with seven games with 15 or more points, including each of the last three … is second on the team with 14.2 points per game in SEC play to rank seventh in the league (tops among SEC freshmen) … has handed out 3.8 assists per game against SEC opponents, eighth-best in the league … tied her career high with seven assists against Ole Miss to go with a team-high 19 points, including the last four points that put the team up by one with nine seconds left … led the team with 15 points on 4-of-5 shooting at Kentucky, playing just 22 foul-plagued minutes … netted a game-high 19 points on a career-high eight field goals against LSU … just missed reaching double figures for the 10th time this season with nine points against No. 17/18 Vanderbilt … 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 3.3 points and grabbing 1.9 rebounds per game … matched her career high with 21 minutes against LSU, scoring seven points and swiping a pair of steals … tied for game-high honors with a career-high nine rebounds against No. 17/18 Vanderbilt, playing just 15 minutes … also shot a career-best 75.0 percent (3-of-4) from the field for seven points against the Commodores … added a bucket at Georgia.

T Time
Freshman Tonia Williams (Warner Robins, Ga./Houston County) has come off the bench in seven games this season … had a career game against Ole Miss, scoring 11 points, including a Hail Mary 3-pointer at the first-half horn, and grabbing six rebounds in just 15 minutes of action … played at Kentucky for the first time in two months, grabbing a pair of rebounds.