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Feb. 10, 2010

Game Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

Coach Staley
Valerie Nainima
Jewel May

Game Information

Mississippi State Series: MSU leads 15-9; In Columbia: SC leads 7-4; In Starkville: MSU leads 9-2; At Neutral Site: MSU leads 2-0
Radio: WISW 1320 AM and (Brad Muller and Marcy Girton)
Television: None

South Carolina Notables

  • This is the program’s 36th season as a varsity sport.
  • South Carolina received six votes in this week’s Associated Press poll.
  • The Gamecocks are 26th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage (.369).
  • In the last five games, South Carolina has committed just 12.0 turnovers per game, compared to its 17.2 average for the seson. The Gamecocks are 6-2 this season when committing equal or fewer turnovers than its opponents.
  • In the last five games, the Gamecock defense has held opponents to just 53.8 points per game, allowing only then-No. 5/5 Tennessee to reach the 60-point mark. Prior to this stretch, opponents had been netting 67.3 points per game.
  • South Carolina is 170-123 (.580) all-time in February, including a 98-34 (.742) mark at home.


A South Carolina Win Would…

  • Give the Gamecocks seven SEC victories, the most since the 2005-06 squad also collected seven. The 2001-02 squad collected a school-record 10 SEC wins.
  • Bring Dawn Staley within four wins of her 200th as a head coach.
  • Be the Gamecocks’ first over Mississippi State since at 72-66 overtime decision on Feb. 25, 2007.

Last Time Out…
South Carolina tied its season low for points, but also yielded a season-low points in collecting a 52-42 win at No. 14/14 Georgia Sunday afternoon at Stegeman Coliseum. The Gamecocks took a 30-18 lead into halftime and sustained an 8-0 run from the Lady Bulldogs in the second half to collect their first road win over a top-15 team in seven years. Valerie Nainima was the lone Gamecock in double figures, netting 21 points, but with a team defensive effort that held Georgia to 28.6 percent shooting delivered the victory.

The Mississippi State Series
Mississippi State leads the overall series with the Gamecocks 15-9 and has won four of the last five meetings. South Carolina’s last win in the series was a 72-66 overtime outing on Feb. 25, 2007, on its home floor. The Gamecocks hold a 7-4 edge over the Lady Bulldogs in games played in Columbia.

National Notice
Amassing 13 wins so far this season, including six in the SEC and two over nationally ranked teams, South Carolina is receiving votes in the Associated Press Poll this week. The Gamecocks garnered one vote earlier in the Jan. 18 poll after putting together a three-game win streak at Alabama and against Kentucky and Auburn. This week, six voters included South Carolina in their top-25 ranking.

Figuring Out February
South Carolina is 170-123 (.580) all-time in the month of February, thanks in large part to a 98-34 (.742) record in Columbia. The Gamecocks are 55-77 on the road and 12-7 in neutral games. (There are 10 games for which the site is unknown.) The Gamecocks have been perfect in February twice in their 35 seasons of women’s basketball, the most recent was a 7-0 mark in 1991 and the first was a 9-0 stretch in 1986. This season, South Carolina is 2-0 so far this month.

Home Sweet Home
South Carolina boasts a .695 all-time winning percentage (324-142) 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 78-44 (.639) in the building, including a 7-2 mark this season.

Pink Zone Preview
On Sun., Feb. 14, South Carolina hosts Arkansas on ESPN2 for the Gamecocks’ annual WBCA Pink Zone game. In addition to raising awareness around the need for a cure for breast cancer, this season, the Gamecocks are committed to raising funds for both the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund and, locally, for the Palmetto Health Hospital Breast Center. Fans will return the piggy banks they picked up at the Jan. 28 game against Ole Miss filled with donations. South Carolina will also autograph and auction off its game-worn pink jerseys at The auction will begin immediately following the game. Academy Sports and Outdoors is sponsoring the Pink Out on Sunday, handing out 1,200 t-shirts at the door. Area cancer survivors will be recognized at halftime, and various informational messages will be displayed on the video boards.

Living in the League
Including a 6-5 mark this season, South Carolina is 73-174 in SEC games since joining the league for the 1991-92 season. The Gamecocks are 46-74 in regular-season SEC games played in Columbia. South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley boasts a 107-42 record in league play, including eight seasons leading her Temple team to a 99-25 Atlantic 10 record. She is 8-17 in her second season in the SEC.

On the Rise
Looking at the statistical breakdown for SEC games this season, South Carolina ranks among the top half of the league in four key categories, including two appearances among the league’s top three. The Gamecocks are second in the SEC in 3-point field goal shooting, hitting 39.5 percent from beyond the arc in league play, and they are third in rebounding margin, pulling in 2.2 more boards per game than their SEC opponents. Shooting 42.1 percent from the field in league play puts the Gamecocks in fourth, and they are sixth in the league in scoring defense, allowing just 61.4 points per SEC game.

Get By With a Little Help…
Teamwork being a staple of the Dawn Staley coaching philosophy, it should come as no surprise that the Gamecocks are 7-3 this season when handing out 10 or more assists. South Carolina has shot over 50 percent from the field three times this season. In each of 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
The Gamecocks are shooting 39.5 percent from 3-point range in SEC play to rank second in the league. 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 (109-295) to rank third 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 fourth in the SEC and 14th in the nation by hitting 3.0 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 57.9 percent from behind the arc through 11 SEC contests. Nainima’s 39.6 percent long-range shooting in conference play is eighth-highest in the league.

Heavenly at 70 … SEC Seeing 60
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 critical threshold for the Gamecocks, who are 6-2 when reaching the plateau. Since Dawn Staley took the reins of the program, South Carolina is 10-3 in games in which it scores at least 70. As the Gamecocks’ defensive pressure has ramped up in SEC play, South Carolina’s offensive magic number falls in the 60s. Since league play began on Jan. 3, the Gamecocks are 5-1 in games in which they have scored at least 60 points, compared to a 1-4 mark when scoring less than 60.

Bone Chilling…for Opponents That Is
South Carolina center Kelsey Bone has proven to be among the SEC’s top freshmen, ranking second in the conference in rebounding (9.3) and ranking ninth in scoring (14.5), the highest-ranking first-year player in both categories. Bone’s rebounding average ranks 48th in the country and fifth nationally among freshmen. She has seven double-doubles this season and has snagged double-digit rebounds 10 times. Bone has scored in double figures 17 times, including five 20-point affairs and her career-high 32 at Clemson in the second game of the season.

Jersey Girl
Sophmore La’Keisha Sutton has been a key catalyst of the Gamecock offense in the last six games. She has netted double figures four times over that stretch, and she leads the team in assists (3.3 apg). She has hit 43.5 percent from the field, including 60.0 percent from 3-point range, and has a 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio. For the season Sutton is third on the team in scoring at 11.0 points per game, 25th-best in the SEC. Her 11.3 ppg in league play ranks her 24th in the conference, and her 57.9 percent accuracy from 3-point range against SEC teams leads the league.

Our Pal Val
South Carolina guard Valerie Nainima has been the Gamecocks’ leading scorer 11 times this season, during which the team has a 7-4 record. She has scored in double figures in all but one game this season, including eight games with 20 or more points. Nainima is fifth in the SEC with 17.7 points per game and ranks 14th in the nation in 3-point field goals per game at 3.0.

Even Stephens
In the 11 games played since turning the calendar to 2010, sophomore Charenee Stephens has been in double figures in either points or rebounds six times. That production has put her among the SEC’s best as she ranks 12th in rebounding at 6.9 per game and is third in the league in field goal percentage (.592). The Gamecocks are most successful when Stephens is at her best on the offensive end as she scores 5.4 more points per game in South Carolina wins than losses. The Gamecocks are a perfect 6-0 when Stephens scores in double figures.

Gamecocks on TV
South Carolina will play at least 14 games on television in 2009-10, including a pair of SEC contests on the ESPN family of networks. So far this season, the Gamecocks are 5-5 in live television games.