Jan. 27, 2010
Ole Miss Series: OM leads 16-11; In Columbia: SC leads 7-5; In Oxford: OM leads 8-3; At Neutral Site: OM leads 3-1
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 is one of just two SEC teams (Auburn is the other) that have two players ranked among the league’s top 10 scorers and the league’s top 10 rebounders – Nainima (3rd) and Bone (9th) in scoring, Bone (2nd) and Stephens (9th) in rebounding.
- South Carolina is 6-2 this season when handing out 10 or more assists.
- The South Carolina defense has yielded 19.6 points per game more in losses than it has in wins this season.
- In the Dawn Staley era, the Gamecocks are 10-3 when scoring at least 70 points, incluing a 6-2 mark this season.
- Under Staley, the Gamecocks are 6-5 in games decided by five points or less.
- South Carolina is 164-162 (.503) all-time in January, including a 96-70 (.578) mark at home.
A South Carolina Win Would…
- Give the Gamecocks four SEC victories, doubling their total from last season and matching the 2008 total.
- Bring Dawn Staley within seven wins of her 200th as a head coach.
- Be the Gamecocks third-straight over Ole Miss in Columbia.
Last Time Out…
South Carolina battled down to the wire but dropped a 59-56 decision at Florida Sunday afternoon. The Gamecocks turned a four-point deficit at the 2:20 mark into a one-point lead inside of a minute to play then had two shots at the game winner in the final 10 seconds but could not get one to fall. Freshman Kelsey Bone collected her sixth double-double of the season with game highs of 19 points and 11 rebounds.
The Ole Miss Series
The Rebels lead the series 16-11, although the Gamecocks have won two of the last three meetings. In last season’s two-game series each team won on the other’s home court. The Gamecocks battled for a 76-67 win in Oxford and saw the Rebels hit the game-winning basket at the buzzer for a 66-65 win in Columbia. Despite that loss, South Carolina holds a 7-5 edge over Ole Miss in games played in Columbia. The last Gamecock home win over the Rebels was a 71-62 decision on Feb. 10, 2008.
Home Sweet Home
South Carolina boasts a .696 all-time winning percentage (323-141) in games played in Columbia. The Gamecocks’ best season at home was the 2001-02 campaign with a 17-1 record in the first season in what is now known as Colonial Life Arena. South Carolina is 77-43 (.642) in the building, including a 6-1 mark this season.
Living in League Play
Including a 3-4 mark this season, South Carolina is 70-173 in SEC games since joining the league for the 1991-92 season. The Gamecocks are 45-73 in regular-season SEC games played in Columbia. South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley boasts a 107-45 record in league play, including eight seasons leading her Temple team to a 107-45 Atlantic 10 record. She is 8-20 in her second season in the SEC.
Coaches have long lauded the importance of defense in relation to winning. For the Gamecocks, the correlation is strong. South Carolina is scoring roughly the same number of points per game in wins (69.2) as in losses (66.0) and shooting in the same ballpark as well – 44.4 percent in wins versus 39.8 percent in losses. The difference in winning and losing has come on the defensive end of the court. In 10 wins this season, South Carolina has allowed opponents just 58.6 points per game on 36.1 percent shooting. In nine losses, opponents have poured in 76.1 points per game on 45.0 percent shooting. The Gamecocks have allowed just two opponents more than 66 points in a South Carolina victory – NC State and Kentucky. Only three opponents have scored fewer than 70 points in defeating the Gamecocks this season – Boston University, LSU and Florida. Additionally, South Carolina has swiped 3.0 more steals per game in wins (8.9) versus losses (5.9). The stats tell the story with one caveat – six of the Gamecocks’ nine losses have come against nationally-ranked teams.
Get By With a Little Help…
Teamwork being another staple of the Dawn Staley coaching philosophy, it should come as no surprise that the Gamecocks are 6-2 this season when handing out 10 or more assists. South Carolina has shot over 50 percent from the field three times this season. In the first two outings of that accuracy (North Carolina and Alabama), the Gamecocks handed out a season-high 19 assists. In the third game (Kentucky), the team amassed 14 assists.
Thrice as Nice
Despite struggling from long range in the last two games, the Gamecocks are shooting 41.2 percent from 3-point range in SEC play to rank second in the leauge. That accuracy is highlighted by an 8-of-12 showing by the Gamecocks at Alabama, which tied for the best outside shooting accuracy of the Dawn Staley era. For the season, South Carolina has hit 36.9 percent of its 3-point attempts (86-233) to rank second in the league and 26th in the nation.
Inside the Outside Numbers
Junior Valerie Nainima has led South Carolina’s charge from beyond the arc in terms of volume, ranking fifth in the SEC and 27th in the nation by hitting 2.8 3-pointers per game. She is not the team’s 3-point percentage leader in SEC games, however. That honor falls to sophomore La’Keisha Sutton who is hitting an SEC-best 63.6 percent from behind the arc through seven SEC contests. Nainima’s 43.5 percent long-range shooting in conference play is sixth-highest in the league.
South Carolina has scored in the 70s five times this season and is a perfect 5-0 in those games. In fact, 70 points appears to be an important threshold for the Gamecocks, who are 6-2 when scoring at least 70 points. Since Dawn Staley took the reins of the program, South Carolina is 10-3 in games in which it scores at least 70 points.
Knockin’ `Em Down
As the outside shooting has heated up, the Gamecocks’ overall field goal percentage has skyrocketed as well. South Carolina is fourth in the SEC with 43.4 percent accuracy from the field in league play. The team’s overall field goal percentage of .422 is fifth-best in the SEC.
After winning the battle of the boards just once in its first five games, South Carolina has out-rebounded its opponent in 12 of its last 14 outings. Among those 12 games are an eight-rebound advantage over Auburn, which had out-rebounded its previous four SEC opponents by 11.5 per game, an 11-rebound edge over No. 11/12 LSU, which had been out-rebounding opponents by 9.4 boards per game, a 20-rebound advantage over Brown and a two-rebound edge over North Carolina, which had been out-rebounding its opponents by 9.9 boards per game. The Gamecocks are 8-4 in those 12 games, during which they pulled down 41.1 rebounds per contest compared to 33.4 by their opponents.
Our Pal Val
South Carolina guard Valerie Nainima has been the Gamecocks’ leading scorer nine times this season, during which the team has a 5-4 record. She has scored in double figures in all but one game this season, including six games with 20 or more points. Nainima led the team in scoring in each of the first three SEC games, netting 13 points against No. 11/12 LSU, 16 at No. 4/4 Tennessee and 21 at Alabama. She ranks ninth in the league with a 14.4 scoring average in league play. She is shooting 47.2 percent from 3-point range in SEC games, which is sixth-best in the league.
Freshman center Kelsey Bone has led the team in scoring 12 times and rebounding 14 times this season. Amassing six double-doubles so far, she averages just shy of that mark with a team-high 15.1 points and 9.0 rebounds per game.
In the seven games played since turning the calendar to 2010, sophomore Charenee Stephens has been in double figures in either points or rebounds four times. That production has put her among the SEC’s best as she ranks ninth in rebounding at 7.4 per game and third in field goal percentage (.588). Her 63.6 percent accuracy from the field in SEC play is third in the league