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Dec. 16, 2009

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Game Information

Wake Forest Series: Tied 1-1; In Columbia: 1st meeting; In Winston-Salem: WF leads 1-0; Neutral Site: SC leads 1-0
Radio: WISW 1320 AM and (Brad Muller and Marcy Girton)
Television: SportSouth (Dave Neal and Debbie Antonelli)

South Carolina Notables

  • This is the program’s 36th season as a varsity sport.
  • The Gamecocks are 138-73 all-time in December, including an 80-22 mark at home.
  • This is the third of four games against ACC opponents on the Gamecocks’ schedule this season and sits in the middle of a three-game stretch against ACC foes.
  • Four Gamecocks average double figures – Valerie Nainima 18.3, Kelsey Bone 15.5, Charenee Stephens 10.8 and La’Keisha Sutton 10.0.
  • Sophomore forward Charenee Stephens missed the last two games with a left knee sprain.
  • South Carolina is closing out its longest homestand of the season with three straight games at Colonial Life Arena.
  • The Gamecocks started two true freshmen and a junior transfer against NC State.


A South Carolina Win Would…

  • Be the Gamecocks’ second straight over an ACC team and give them an all-time record of 77-72 against schools currently in that league.
  • Extend the Gamecocks’ win streak to four games, the longest of the Dawn Staley era.
  • Be head coach Dawn Staley’s first over Wake Forest as a head coach after going 8-0 against the Demon Deacons as a player.

Last Time Out…
South Carolina battled out a 74-71 win over NC State Sunday afternoon at Colonial Life Arena behind a season-high 27 points from Valerie Nainima and 18 from Samone Kennedy. Kennedy’s 3-pointer at the end of the shot clock pushed the Gamecock lead to six points with 19 seconds left to play, putting the game out of the Wolfpack’s reach.

The Wake Forest Series
The series is tied 1-1 after last season’s 74-57 Wake Forest win in Winston-Salem. The Gamecocks won the only other meeting of the two teams, an 83-69 decision on Nov. 24, 1995, at the Northern Lights Invitational in Anchorage, Alaska. Last season’s contest was the first against Wake from the sidelines for South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley. In four seasons in the ACC as a player, she was a perfect 8-0 against the Demon Deacons, though.

Scouting Wake Forest
The Demon Deacons bring a 7-2 record to Colonial Life Arena after snapping a two-game skid with a 60-57 win over North Florida on Monday morning. Junior forward Brittany Waters is Wake Forest’s leading scorer at 19.9 points per game, while freshman forward Sandra Garcia paces the Demon Deacons on the glass, grabbing an impressive 9.8 caroms per contest to go with her 10.3 points average. As a team, Wake Forest is scoring 63.8 points per game on 37.8 percent field goal shooting, including 30.1 percent 3-point accuracy, and 63.4 percent free throw shooting. The Demon Deacons have out-rebounded their opponents by 7.0 boards per game and have a +3.3 turnover margin. Opponents have scored 51.8 points per game on 36.8 percent field goal shooting, including 20.1 percent from 3-point range. Head coach Mike Petersen is in his sixth season at Wake Forest with a 79-80 record, pushing his 17-year careeer mark to 262-207.

Dearly December
South Carolina boasts a .654 all-time winning percentage (138-73) in the month of December, supported largely by an 80-22 record (.784) at home. The Gamecocks have been perfect in the final month of the year three times, most recently with a 6-0 record in December 2005. A 79-61 win over then-No. 14 Minnesota kicked off the month-long winning streak. This season, South Carolina is 2-0 with four games remaining on the December schedule.

Three, It’s a Magic Number
The Gamecocks offense has been most effective this season when having a three-pronged attack. South Carolina is 5-1 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.

All-Around Game
South Carolina point guard Samone Kennedy is known more for her passes and steals than her scoring prowess, but the junior has shown off her improved shooting in the last two games, scoring 14 and 18 points against High Point and NC State, respectively. Kennedy’s offseason work was most evident in her clutch 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down to give the Gamecocks a six-point lead over the Wolfpack with just 19 seconds left to play. Her 3-of-5 accuracy from long range against NC State helped her into fourth in the SEC in 3-point field goal percentage (.471). This season, Kennedy is scoring 8.8 points per game on 48.3 percent field goal shooting to go along with her team-high 3.4 assists per game. She is eighth in the SEC with a 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio and ranks 10th in the league in steals (2.1 per game) as well.

Fresh Faces
South Carolina started a pair of true freshmen against NC State with Ieasia Walker and Ebony Wilson making their first career appearances in the starting lineup. The duo responded well as Walker tied for team-high honors with four assists to go along with six rebounds. Wilson added six points, including 4-of-4 shooting at the free throw line, and five rebounds to the victory.