Nov. 18, 2009
Clemson Series: CU leads 32-22; In Clemson: CU leads 19-5; In Columbia: SC leads 15-11; Neutral Site: SC leads 2-0
Radio: WISW 1320 AM and GamecocksOnline.com (Brad Muller and Marcy Girton)
South Carolina Notables
- This is the program’s 36th season as a varsity sport.
- South Carolina has won three of the last four meetings against Clemson, including the last two contests at Littlejohn Coliseum.
- Freshman Kelsey Bone opened her Gamecock career with a double-double at Charlotte (22 pts/11 reb).
- SEC coaches picked the Gamecocks to finish sixth in their annual preseason poll, an impressive jump after a 2-12 league record in 2008-09. If it comes to fruition, it would be the Gamecocks’ highest finish since tying for sixth place at the end of the 2002-03 season.
- The Gamecocks play their home opener against Penn State on Sun., Nov. 22, at 3 p.m. The game will be televised on SportSouth with Andy Demetra on play-by-play and Debbie Antonelli as the analyst.
A South Carolina Win Would…
- Give the Gamecocks a 2-0 record to open the season for the second time in three seasons.
- Give the Gamecocks back-to-back road wins for the first time since knocking off Florida and Kentucky on their home courts during the 2007-08 season.
- Stretch the Gamecocks’ win streak against non-SEC teams to four games, dating back to a 58-50 win over Jacksonville on Dec. 30, 2008.
- Be head coach Dawn Staley’s first career coaching victory over Clemson, but would keep her undefeated in road games against the Tigers (4-0 as a player at UVa).
Last Time Out…
The Gamecocks rallied for a 70-66 overtime win at Charlotte Monday night. Newcomers Kelsey Bone and Valerie Nainima teamed up to score 22 points apiece to lead the offense. South Carolina overcame an 11-point halftime deficit behind 50 percent shooting in the second half and steady trips to the free throw line, where the Gamecocks hit 9-of-10 in the second 20 minutes of play. Junior Samone Kennedy drilled a 3-pointer to open the overtime period, and the Gamecocks never trailed in extra time as Bone dominated the boards and netted the team’s last three points to seal the win. Sophomore Charenee Stephens led the team with 12 rebounds, tying her career high, while Bone snagged 11.
The Tigers opened the season 1-1, winning a home game against Furman before falling at College of Charleston 68-55 Monday night. Clemson returns four starters from last year’s 14-17 squad, led by senior guard/forward Lele Hardy, who is averaging 15.5 points this season after finishing 2008-09 with 16.2 points per game. She is also the team’s top returning rebounder, grabbing 8.4 boards per game, and she is living up to that title this season, averaging 11.5 boards. Sophomore center Shaniqua Pauldo is next in line on offense with 13.5 points per game. As a team, the Tigers have scored 61.5 points per game on 33.1 percent field goal shooting, including 17.9 percent from 3-point range, and have out-rebounded their opponents by 4.5 boards per game. Defensively, Clemson has allowed its opponents 58.0 points per game on 34.8 percent shooting, including 29.2 percent shooting from the 3-point arc. Clemson head coach Cristy McKinney is in her fifth season leading the Tigers with a 47-76 record, giving her a 17-year career mark of 263-215.
Clemson Series Notes
The Tigers hold a 32-22 edge over the Gamecocks in the 35-year history of this series. The Gamecocks have won three of the last four outings, however. Clemson snapped a three-game skid to its archrival with a 52-45 win last season at Colonial Life Arena. Playing at home, Clemson is 19-5 against South Carolina, but the Gamecocks have won their last two trips to Littlejohn Coliseum, claiming a 64-43 victory in their last trip on Dec. 22, 2007, and a 77-46 win on Jan. 2, 2006. South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley is 0-1 against Clemson following last season’s defeat. In her four years as a player at the University of Virginia (1989-92), Staley was 8-2 against Clemson and never lost a road game to the Tigers.
With the win at Charlotte, South Carolina improved to 12-11 all-time in overtime games. It was the Gamecocks’ second-straight overtime win as South Carolina knocked off Mississippi State 72-66 on Feb. 25, 2007. The win was the Gamecocks’ first overtime road victory since their 87-81 upset of then-No. 9 Duke on Nov. 25, 2001. South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley is now 10-5 in overtime games in her career. The victory against Charlotte was her first OT win at the Gamecocks’ helm but was her third straight victory in extra time.
Freshman Kelsey Bone made her collegiate debut in style, posting her first career double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds at Charlotte. She is the first Gamecock to debut with a double-double since Demetress Adams scored 11 points and grabbed 12 rebounds against High Point on Nov. 18, 2005. Bone’s five offensive boards are tied for the fifth-most by a Gamecock freshman, and her 22 field goal attempts were the second-most by a South Carolina freshman, tying Schonna Banner’s 22 against Memphis on Jan. 24, 1987.
Twice as Nice
With sophomore Charenee Stephens and freshman Kelsey Bone both posting double-digit rebounds (12 and 11, respectively) at Charlotte, it was the first time Gamecock teammates had reached the plateau since Demetress Adams and Ilona Burgrova pulled down 12 and 10 rebounds, respectively, against Savannah State on Jan. 6, 2008. If Stephens had managed just one more point, the two would have become the first Gamecock tandem with double-doubles since Adams (16 pts/11 reb) and Jewel May (10 pts/12 reb) did it against High Point on Dec. 5, 2008. Bone and Valerie Nainima netting 22 points against the 49ers also gave the Gamecocks a pair of players with 20 or more points in a game for the first time since Jordan Jones (31) and Brionna Dickerson (25) combined for the feat in the first round of the WNIT against North Carolina A&T on March 21, 2008.
Six letterwinners return for their second season under head coach Dawn Staley, and their coach likes the makeup of the group. The returning players, who accounted for 51.5 percent of last season’s points and 43.1 percent of the 2008-09 rebounds, arrived in excellent shape to go along with the mental toughness bred of the extended minutes they were forced to play last season. That invaluable experience will be enhanced by the new players Staley brought into the program, as veterans will be able to return to roles in which they can thrive.
Staley made her first season of recruiting a productive one, nabbing the fourth-best class in the nation. Headlining that class is the first tandem of Parade All-Americans in the program’s history – Kelsey Bone and Ieasia Walker. Inking such a prestigious group was crucial to getting the Gamecocks on track toward Staley’s lofty goals.
Strength of Schedule
Staley stuck to her philosophy of challenging her teams in November and December as a building block for success in January and beyond. The Gamecocks will face as many as 22 games against teams that participated in the 2009 postseason, including seven non-conference outings. To set the stage for 11 games against SEC teams that played in the 2009 NCAA Tournament, Staley has her Gamecocks opening at NCAA Tournament participant Charlotte and does not let up. South Carolina will face Final Four participant Oklahoma and NCAA Tournament veterans Notre Dame and San Diego State at the Paradise Jam. The non-conference slate also includes a neutral-site matchup against border rival and perennial top-25 presence North Carolina in December.
Gamecocks on TV
South Carolina will play at least 12 games on television in 2009-10, including a pair of SEC contests on the ESPN family of networks. The Gamecocks’ first four home games will air on SportSouth. Two SEC games will air on FSN (games air on FOX Sports Carolinas, FOX Sports South, FOX Sports Tennessee, FOX Sports Houston, FOX Sports Southwest and Sun Sports), one on CSS, one on Sun Sports and another one on the SEC Network. Additionally, FSN and the ESPN family of networks are teaming to broadcast every game of the SEC Tournament in Duluth, Ga.