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Feb. 18, 2009

Watch Sutton’s Profile from the Dawn

By Michael Holt, Athletic Media Relations Student Assistant

Stepping on the court with a sense of intensity and passion comes naturally to South Carolina freshman Lakeisha Sutton. While on the court she seems to be fully aware, caught of guard by nothing. Hearing that she was one of the leading scorers on the team, and second in SEC play – in large part because of her fearless play – had an entirely different effect however.

“It makes me feel good because I didn’t know that, but that’s not what’s important to me,” she said. “I’m just going to continue to play my game. I’m not going to go out and try to score all the points for the records. I’m just going to do what I’ve been doing. I’ll do whatever I can to help this team win.”

Sutton said this with such honesty that it would be hard not to believe even before you watch her play.

Finding success can be a challenge, especially having to deal with the transition from high school athletics to college. However, Sutton has begun confronting these challenges and moved on to a new level of growth and improvement. Her 13.6 points per game in SEC games is 11th-best in the league and tops among conference freshmen. The points have not come selfishly either as she is also seventh in the league with 4.1 assists per conference game. Sutton doesn’t have to look at numbers to feel herself becoming a better player, especially her offensive numbers as that is not the area of growth about which she is most excited and confident. What is that dimension?

“My defense,” she said. “It’s kind of crazy because in high school I wasn’t even a defensive player. I was all offense.”

Sutton went on to say that she now considers herself a sort of “defensive specialist.” A fact evidenced by her team-high 31 steals, including 15 in just 11 SEC games to rank among the league’s top 15 in that category.

Sutton’s growth in the defensive area places her on a whole new level, and as she continues to develop her game during her time as a Gamecock, she is sure to become a high-powered threat.

All of the excitement of her first season of college basketball has left Sutton missing very little about her high school days. She considered the games to be a whole lot easier back then and wishes only that she had learned in high school the things that she is learning now. But in Sutton’s eyes, high school is the past and it’s time for something new.

“Every story has its ending,” she said. “This is my new beginning, and I want to be happy about college.”

And, with a start like this, future happiness seems inevitable for Sutton and the Gamecocks.