Dec. 19, 2009
UNC Series: UNC leads 7-6; At Neutral Site: UNC leads 3-2; In Columbia: SC leads 2-1; In Chapel Hill: Tied 2-2
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.
- The Gamecocks are 139-73 all-time in December, including an 81-22 mark at home.
- This is the last of four games against ACC opponents on the Gamecocks’ schedule this season, during which South Carolina is currently 2-1, and closes out a three-game stretch against ACC foes.
- Four Gamecocks average double figures – Valerie Nainima 17.7, Kelsey Bone 15.05, La’Keisha Sutton 10.9 and Charenee Stephens 10.8.
- Sophomore forward Charenee Stephens missed the last three games with a left knee sprain.
- Wake Forest’s 32 3-point attempts were the most by a South Carolina opponent in school history, topping the 29 put by Auburn on Feb. 1, 2001. The Demon Deacons fell seven short of the Colonial Life Arena record for 3-point attempts, which is 39 by the Gamecocks against Ole Miss on Feb. 5, 2004.
A South Carolina Win Would…
- Be the Gamecocks’ third straight over an ACC team and give them an all-time record of 78-72 against schools currently in that league.
- Extend the Gamecocks’ win streak to five games, the longest since a five-game surge during the 2006-07 season.
- Be the 597th in program history.
- Be the Gamecocks’ second over a top-25 team this season and their first over a top-10 opponent since a 71-52 win over then-No. 6 Vanderbilt on Jan. 3, 2002.
- Be the first by an unranked Gamecock team over a top-10 opponent since an overtime victory at then-No. 9 Duke on Nov. 25, 2001.
Last Time Out…
South Carolina used a stifling defense and a diverse offense to pick up a 62-52 win over Wake Forest to close out a three-game homestand. Sophomore guard La’Keisha Sutton netted a game-high 18 points while allowing Wake’s top scorer, Brittany Waters, to score just two points. Freshman center Kelsey Bone picked up her third double-double of the season with a game-high 13 rebounds and 11 points. Five Gamecocks added seven or more points to the offensive effort.
The North Carolina Series
The Tar Heels lead the series 7-6 and have won three of the last four meetings, all of which have been in Myrtle Beach in what was then called the ACC-SEC Beach Ball Classic. The teams last met on Dec. 20, 2003, with North Carolina claiming a 77-53 victory. The Gamecocks’ last win over the Tar Heels was an 85-53 upset by then-No. 23 South Carolina over then-No. 16 North Carolina. South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley has never faced North Carolina from the sidelines but was a perfect 9-0 against the Tar Heels during her four years (1988-92) as an All-American guard at University of Virginia.
South Carolina boasts a .656 all-time winning percentage (139-73) in the month of December, supported largely by an 81-22 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 3-0 with three games remaining on the December schedule.
South Carolina is 16-90 all-time against teams ranked in the nation’s top 10 after squaring off with three top-10 squads in the 2008-09 season and one already this year. The Gamecocks’ last win over a top-10 team was a 71-52 win over then-No. 6 Vanderbilt at home on Jan. 3, 2002. The last win over a top-10 team outside of Columbia was an 87-81 overtime upset at then-No. 9 Duke on Nov. 25, 2001.
Three, It’s a Magic Number
The Gamecocks offense has been most effective this season when having a three-pronged attack. South Carolina is 6-1 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.
After winning the battle of the boards just once in its first five games, South Carolina has out-rebounded its opponent in each of the last four outings, including a 16-rebound advantage over High Point. The Gamecocks have gone 4-0 in that stretch of games, during which they are pulling down 39.5 rebounds per contest compared to just 32.0 by their opponents.
Defense is the Difference
South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley felt her team provided the season’s most effective execution of the defensive game plan against Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons entered the game boasting a pair of double digit scorers in Brittany Waters (19.9 ppg) and Sandra Garcia (10.3 ppg). The duo finished the game with a combined four points.
3s a Charm?
After attempting just 18.4 3-point field goals per game through its first nine games, Wake Forest hoisted 32 attempts from long range against the Gamecocks, more than half their overall field goal attempts (62). It was the most 3-point attempts by a South Carolina opponent in program history. The active interior defense of the Gamecocks forced the Demon Deacons to the outside, where the Gamecock guards hounded them into just 21.9 percent shooting.
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. This season, Kennedy is scoring 8.0 points per game on 47.5 percent field goal shooting to go along with her team-high 3.2 assists per game. She is seventh in the SEC with a 1.7 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.