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Feb. 28, 2009

South Carolina vs. Kentucky | 3 p.m.
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Last Time Out
Cold shooting in the second half dealt South Carolina a 58-41 loss to Mississippi State Thursday night in the Gamecocks’ final road game of the season. After trailing by just one point at the half, the Gamecocks took the lead briefly in the second period but could not sustain their defensive pressure and saw the Lady Bulldogs surge ahead midway through the half. Freshmen Lakeisha Sutton and Tonia Williams netted double figures to lead the offense in its lowest-scoring output of the season.

Series Notes
The Wildcats lead the series 25-16, although the teams have split the last four meetings. Kentucky came up with a 61-47 victory in Lexington earlier this season and, in fact, won the most recent meeting in Columbia – a 66-62 decision on Jan. 24, 2008. The Gamecocks squeezed in a 65-57 win over the Wildcats on March 2, 2008, to spoil Senior Day in Lexington last season. South Carolina holds an 11-7 advantage over the Wildcats in games played in Columbia. The Gamecocks’ most recent home win over UK was a 66-56 victory on Jan. 28, 2007. The Gamecocks and Wildcats have squared off in the SEC regular-season finale five times. Carolina holds a slight 3-2 edge over UK in those games, including both times the games were played in Columbia. Gamecock head coach Dawn Staley is 1-2 against Kentucky in her coaching career after the Wildcats’ win earlier this season. Staley’s Temple Owls posted an 86-82 overtime victory over the Wildcats on Dec. 13, 2003, in Philadelphia. Kentucky took care of its home floor in the first matchup against Staley with a 64-55 victory on Nov. 17, 2001.

Injury Report
Senior Brionna Dickerson is out for the season after suffering a right knee injury against Vanderbilt on Jan. 25. Senior Demetress Adams is out for the season after successful 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’ third in the last five outings against Kentucky.
• Send the Gamecocks into the SEC Tournament with a win over the Wildcats for the second-straight season.
• Give the Gamecocks two home SEC wins this season, matching last year’s total.

Final Thoughts?
In 34 years of intercollegiate women’s basketball, the Gamecocks have a 21-11 record in last game of the regular season (in the Carolina history book, there is no indication of postseason games in the first two seasons of the program). Carolina is 12-4 in regular-season finales played in Columbia with the most recent win coming in a 72-66 overtime decision over Mississippi State on Feb. 25, 2007.

Looking Ahead to North Little Rock
Regardless of the outcome of today’s SEC games, the Gamecocks are locked into the 11th seed in the SEC Tournament, which begins on Thu., March 5, at Alltel Arena in North Little Rock, Ark. As the No. 11 seed, South Carolina will play the 9 p.m. game against the No. 6 seed. Based on the outcome of the other SEC games Sunday, three teams could be in that position – Mississippi State, Arkansas or Georgia.

To Three or Be Free
For South Carolina this season, a one-point free throw has been far move valuable than a 3-pointer when it comes to posting victories. The Gamecocks are just 1-10 on the season when attempting the same number or fewer free throws than 3-point field goals in a game, meaning that nine of the team’s 10 wins have been with the Gamecocks toeing the charity stripe more often than the 3-point arc. While senior Brionna Dickerson was among the SEC’s top 3-point shooters prior to her injury, South Carolina is just 2-9 when attempting 15 or more long-range shots and just 3-7 when making five or more 3-pointers.

Upping the Pace
As the lone senior still on the court for the Gamecocks, C.J. Pace has lifted her own game in addition to leading her youthful teammates down the stretch. Since the Jan. 25 game against Vanderbilt, Pace has averaged 10.4 points and a team-high 6.8 rebounds with 24 of her 54 boards coming on the offensive end. She has hit 32.7 percent from 3-point range and has scored in double figures five times during the eight-game stretch, including 18 points in the win over Alabama. Overall this season, Pace’s 5.8 rebounds per game are 18th-most in the SEC and her 7.3 points per game are more than double her offensive production from last season.

Closing Statement from the D.A.
Despite seeing her senior season cut short by injury, Demetress Adams closes 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 she reached double-figure points 36 times during the last four years, grabbing double-digit rebounds 23 times. Adams was the team’s leading rebounder 45 times in her career and leading scorer in 15 games.

Brionna’s Boom
Staying in her hometown to play college basketball, local product Brionna Dickerson came good in her senior year, proving to be one of the SEC’s elite shooters before suffering a season-ending injury against Vanderbilt on Jan. 25. Scoring 13.4 points per game this season, Dickerson had hit her stride in SEC play, scoring 17 or more points in every complete league game she played, including a career-high 31 at Ole Miss. At the time of her injury, she ranked second in the league with 21.2 points per SEC game and was the league’s most prolific and accurate 3-point shooter, hitting 1.6 3-pointers per game at a 42.9 percent clip.

Flashy Frosh
Freshman guard Lakeisha Sutton is the Gamecocks’ second-leading scorer and ranks 21st in the SEC at 11.2 points per game. She immediately stamped her name among the SEC’s elite freshmen with 17 points in her league debut against No. 9/8 Auburn. She has scored in double figures in 15 games with nine of those with 15 or more points, including five of the last seven – missing the mark at Mississippi State by one point. So far in SEC play, Sutton averages 13.9 points to rank ninth in the league, tops among SEC freshmen. Sutton is also among the SEC’s top 15 in assists per game (3.7, 9th), field goal percentage (.427, 7th) free throw percentage (.750, 11th), steals per game (1.4, 10th) and assist-to-turnover ratio (0.8, 13th) through the first 13 conference games.

Wiping the Glass
Freshman forward Charenee Stephens has been the Gamecocks’ leading rebounder in SEC play and ranks 14th in the league with 6.0 boards per conference game. She has pulled down seven or more rebounds in five of her 13 conference games, including two games of double-digit boards – 11 at Tennessee and 12 at Ole Miss. The Gamecocks have not had a freshman average at least 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 eight games since Adams suffered her injury, Newton is averaging 5.5 points and 3.9 rebounds. In the absence of Adams in the Jan. 22 game at Ole Miss, Newton grabbed a then-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 three steals then topped both those efforts with a season-high 12 points and a career-high four steals against Ole Miss. After two games with her new career high of six rebounds, Newton again reset the mark with seven boards at Florida to go with four steals and eight points. She followed with five boards, including two offensive, at Mississippi State.

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 63.7 percent (72-41) 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.

More on March
South Carolina is 53-46 all-time in the month of March. The 1979-80 squad posted the most wins in the month dominated by postseason play with a 7-2 record as that team advanced to the AIAW National Tournament in Mt. Pleasant, Mich. During March, the Gamecocks are 12-11 at home, 15-5 on the road and 26-28 on a neutral court (two games in the Gamecock history book do not include the site of the contest, during which Carolina is 0-2). The Gamecocks will play at least two games in March this season.

Figuring Out February
South Carolina is 169-128 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 were 1-5.

You Can Call Me Cocoa
Sophomore Lauren Falohun (Atlanta, Ga./Pace Academy) averages 3.6 points … drew the start and dished out a team-high four assists at Mississippi State … tied her career high with 10 points, including a perfect 4-of-4 day at the free throw line, at No. 15/15 Florida … handed out four assists and tied her career high with five rebounds against Alabama … 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 17 of the last 18 games … leads the team with 2.5 assists per game and scores 5.3 points per game … led the team with five assists to go with six points at No. 15/15 Florida … swiped a pair of steals and netted eight points against Alabama … added nine points and three rebounds at Arkansas … 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) is wearing 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 5.2 rebounds per game to go with 4.4 points per outing … has led the team in rebounding seven times this season … swiped a career-high three steals at Mississippi State … picked up a pair of steals against Alabama … swiped a career-high two steals at Arkansas … 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 20 games, including six starts in the last seven outings, after missing the first two games with a right knee injury … averages 3.2 points and 2.8 rebounds … is scoring 5.5 points and grabbing 3.9 rebounds per game since the Jan. 22 game at Ole Miss … pulled in a career-high seven rebounds at No. 15/15 Florida to tie for team-high honors, adding eight points and a career-high-tying four steals … nagged six rebounds and handed out a season-high four assists against Alabama … pulled down a then-career-high six rebounds at Arkansas … scored a season-high 12 points and picked up a career-high four steals against Ole Miss … netted nine points and swiped 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 7.3 points and 5.9 rebounds, 17th-best in the SEC on the boards … is among the league’s top 20 with 5.8 rebounds per SEC game … led the team with seven rebounds at Mississippi State … tied for team-high honors with seven rebounds, including four offensive, at No. 15/15 Florida and added 11 points … scored 13 of her game-high 18 points in the second half against Alabama and narrowly missed a double-double with a game-high nine rebounds, including six offensive … hit a career-high five free throws on six attempts en route to 10 points at Arkansas, swiping a career-high three steals as well … 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 4.8 points and 5.3 rebounds … is 14th in the league with 6.0 rebounds per SEC game … pulled down six rebounds, including three on the offensive end, at Mississippi State … hit 5-of-6 from the field for 12 points and snagged five or her six rebounds on the offensive end at No. 15/15 Florida … netted a career-high 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting in just 24 minutes against Alabama … was second on the team with seven rebounds in just 12 minutes at Arkansas … 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 top active scorer with 11.2 points per game to rank 21st in the SEC … is 11th in the SEC with a .692 free throw percentage … has scored in double figures 15 times with nine games with 15 or more points, including five of the last seven … is second on the team with 13.9 points per game in SEC play to rank ninth in the league (tops among SEC freshmen) … has handed out 3.7 assists per game against SEC opponents, ninth-best in the league … scored a game-high 14 points at Mississippi State … led the team with 17 points at No. 15/15 Florida … dished out a team-high six assists to go with seven points and five rebounds against Alabama … netted 15 points and handed out a team-high five assists at Arkansas … 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 3.1 points and grabbing 1.8 rebounds per game … hit a season-best 2-of-3 from 3-point range for six points against Alabama … 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 played in 10 games, including a start at Arkansas … shot 4-of-5 for 10 points and grabbed six rebounds at Mississippi State … hit a season-best three free throws en route to five points in just 10 minutes against Alabama … led the team with eight rebounds to go with 13 points, both career highs, at Arkansas, shooting 6-of-9 from the field … had a solid 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.