Dec. 1, 2009
High Point Series: SC leads 3-1; In Columbia: SC leads 3-0; In High Point: 0-0; Neutral Site: HPU leads 1-0
Radio: WISW 1320 AM and GamecocksOnline.com (Brad Muller and Marcy Girton)
Television: SportSouth (Andy Demetra and Debbie Antonelli)
South Carolina Notables
- This is the program’s 36th season as a varsity sport.
- The Gamecocks are 136-73 all-time in December, including a 78-22 mark at home.
- South Carolina boasts two of the SEC’s top-10 scorers (Kelsey Bone 16.8 ppg, Valerie Nainima 16.5 ppg) and two of its top-five rebounders (Charenee Stephens 8.8 rpg, Bone 8.7 rpg).
- South Carolina is in the midst of its longest homestand of the season with three straight games at Colonial Life Arena. The Gamecocks are back on Sun., Dec. 13, after taking a break for final exams.
- With a double-double at Clemson on Nov. 19, Kelsey Bone became the first Gamecock freshman to open her career with back-to-back double-doubles.
A South Carolina Win Would…
- Be the Gamecocks’ second-straight against a non-conference opponent and the program’s fourth-straight over High Point.
- Give the Gameocks a 27-6 record all-time against schools currently in the Big South Conference, including 4-1 mark over High Point.
- Be the Gamecocks’ third-straight on Dec. 2, following wins over Stetson (2003) and Syracuse (2001). South Carolina is 3-5 all-time on Dec. 2.
Last Time Out…
South Carolina closed the Paradise Jam on a high note, battling out a 58-55 win over No. 23/24 San Diego State on Saturday afternoon. The Gamecocks got a career-high 20 points from sophomore forward Charenee Stephens and netted 10-of-11 free throws in the second half to seal the victory, the program’s first over a nationally-ranked team since the 2005-06 season.
Scouting High Point
The Panthers are 2-2 and have enjoyed a lengthy break since their 76-52 loss at Wake Forest on Nov. 25. Three players average double-figure points, led by sophomore forward Shamia Brown’s 11.8 per game. The 5-foot-11 North Carolinian is shooting 60.7 percent from the field and 72.2 percent from the free throw line. Just behind Brown, junior forward Amy Dodd accounts for 10.8 points per game in addition to her team-high 6.0 rebounds per contest, and junior forward/center Mackenzie Maier adds 10.3 points per outing. As a team, High Point averages 66.8 points on 42.4 percent field goal shooting, including 30.6 percent from 3-point range, and 72.9 percent free throw shooting. The Panthers have been out-rebounded by 3.0 boards per game. Opponents have scored 64.8 points per game on 37.3 percent shooting, including 35.4 percent from 3-point range. High Point head coach Tooey Loy is in his ninth season, leading the Panthers to a 132-108 record.
The High Point Series
South Carolina holds a 3-1 edge in the all-time series against High Point. The Gamecocks have won each of the last three meetings, all of which have been played at Colonial Life Arena. South Carolina topped High Point 81-61 in last season’s matchup on Dec. 5. The Panthers’ lone win in the series was by the narrowest of margins, 69-68, on Dec. 22, 1978, in the University of North Carolina Christmas Classic in Chapel Hill, N.C. South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley has faced High Point just one time in her career, winning the game last season. All-Tournament Time Junior guard Valerie Nainima enjoyed her trip to “the islands” for the Paradise Jam, earning a spot on the all-tournament team as she led the team with 13.3 points per game and 10 assists over the three-game event. The Fiji native was the top scorer in the loss to No. 5/6 Notre Dame, scoring 15 points.
Sophomore forward Charenee Stephens also shone at the Paradise Jam last week, most brightly with her career-high 20-point effort in the win over No. 23/24 San Diego State. For the tournament, Stephens averaged 9.3 points and 7.0 rebounds. Her team-high 10 boards in the loss to No. 20/17 Oklahoma included a career-high seven offensive caroms. She battled the physical Notre Dame frontcourt for three rebounds then narrowly missed a double-double with eight boards against the Aztecs to go with her first career 20-point game.
Riding High in the SEC
Through games of Nov. 30, South Carolina boasts two of the SEC’s top-10 scorers and two of the league’s top-five rebounders, a feat no other SEC rival can match. Freshman Kelsey Bone’s team-high 16.8 points per game are sixth-best in the league, while junior Valerie Nainima’s 16.5 points per outing are just behind in seventh place. Only Georgia and Tennessee have two players ranked among the league’s top-10 scorers. On the glass, sophomore forward Charenee Stephens leads the team with 8.8 rebounds per outing, putting her third in the SEC, and Bone’s 8.7 caroms per game at fourth-best in the league. No other school has two players among the SEC’s top five on the glass, although Tennessee does have three of the top-10 rebounders in the conference.
Three, It’s a Magic Number
The Gamecocks offense has been most effective this season when having a three-pronged attack. South Carolina is 3-1 in games in which three players reach double figures but lost its outing in which four Gamecocks crossed the 10-point plateau. South Carolina’s lone loss with three players in double figures was the 75-67 decision against No. 20/17 Oklahoma to open the Paradise Jam.
Field Trip Day
South Carolina invited nearby elementary school principals to bring their students to this morning’s game as an informal part of the University’s reading initiatives – “Cocky’s Reading Express” organized through the University and women’s basketball’s “Read with the Gamecocks” – aimed at kindergarten through fifth grade students. Cocky’s Reading Express takes University students and Cocky throughout the state to read to students and emphasize the importance of life-long reading. Each student is given a book to take home as a reminder of the visit from Cocky. In the Read with the Gamecocks program, students are invited to participate in a contest to see who can read the most pages over a specified period of time. This year, the program is divided into three parts – Hard Work and Perseverance, Health and Nutrition, and Literacy and Education. Comic books based on the personal stories of head coach Dawn Staley are distributed to participants, and the overall winner of each grade will be recognized in the third comic book, “Reading Heroes.” In the first phase of this year’s program, 3,327 students across 62 schools participated, reading over 1.1 million pages between Sept. 21 and Oct. 2. To help the students get excited about the second phase of the Read with the Gamecocks program, Jerri Spurrier, a fitness instructor, will make a presentation about healthly living at halftime. Already 91 schools have enrolled in the second segment of the program, which runs Dec. 14-26 with the participants being recognized at the Jan. 17 game against Auburn.
Playing extra time in its first two games of the season, South Carolina is now 12-12 all-time in overtime games. It marks the first time the Gamecocks have played multiple overtime games in a season since the 1995-96 campaign, during which South Carolina went 1-3 in four extra-period outings. It is the first time the Gamecocks have played back-to-back overtime games in program history. The win at Charlotte 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. The double-overtime affair at Clemson was just the fourth such game in South Carolina history, and the Gamecocks are just 1-3 in those lengthy outings. The last time South Carolina was involved in a double-overtime game was a 97-91 loss at Georgia on Feb. 13, 2003, when the Gamecocks were ranked 15th in the nation and the Lady Bulldogs were No. 16. South Carolina’s lone double-overtime win was a 92-91 decision at then-No. 22 Florida State on Feb. 4, 1991. South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley is now 10-6 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. The loss at Clemson was Staley’s first result in a double-overtime game.
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.