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Feb. 24, 2010

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Coach Staley
Lauren Falohun

Game Information

Georgia Series: UGA leads 28-5; In Columbia: UGA leads 12-2; In Athens: UGA leads 13-2; At Neutral Site: UGA leads 3-1
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.
  • Kelsey Bone’s eight double-doubles are the most by a Gamecock freshman since Sheila Foster posted 13 in 1978-79.
  • Sophomore La’Keisha Sutton leads the team with 2.9 assists per SEC game after handing out just 1.5 assists per non-conference game.
  • The Gamecocks shot a season-low 8.3 percent from 3-point range at Kentucky in the first game without a 3-point from Valerie Nainima. In SEC play, South Carolina is just 1-5 when shooting below 35.0 percent from outside the arc.
  • South Carolina has two wins over nationally-ranked teams for the first time since the 2002-03 season, during which the Gamecocks were also ranked for most of the season. South Carolina was 4-7 against ranked teams that season.
  • South Carolina is 170-126 (.574) all-time in February, including a 98-36 (.731) mark at home and a 55-78 slate on the road.


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.
  • Give the Gamecocks a pair of two-game SEC regular-season sweeps for the first time since South Carolina won its two games against both Georgia and Kentucky in the 2001-02 season. The Gamecocks have already swept the 2009-10 regular-season series with Auburn.
  • Be the Gamecocks’ third over a nationally-ranked team, the most by a South Carolina team in one season since the 2002-03 squad collected four. The Gamecocks were also nationally ranked for a majority of that season.
  • Snap a season-long three-game skid.

Last Time Out…
South Carolina suffered a 71-50 loss at No. 16 Kentucky Sunday afternoon as the Gamecocks had difficulty shooting the ball throughout the contest, hitting just 32.3 percent from the field, including a season-low 8.3 percent from 3-point range. Sophomore Charenee Stephens provided the most impassioned effort, collecting her third double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Kelsey Bone added 13 points.

The Georgia Series
The Lady Bulldogs lead the series 28-5 after seeing their nine-game win streak over the Gamecocks snapped earlier this month. South Carolina posted a 52-42 win at then-No. 14/14 Georgia on Feb. 7 to open this season’s two-game series. It was South Carolina’s first win over Georgia since a 64-59 decision on Feb. 7, 2002, closed out a season sweep of the Lady Bulldogs. South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley is 2-2 against Georgia. This month’s win was her first over the Lady Bulldogs while on the South Carolina sideline.

Sending Off a Senior
South Carolina will honor guard Lauren Falohun in a Senior Night ceremony prior to tipoff tonight. Bouncing back from a knee injury that preempted her freshman year and adjusting to a coaching change following her sophomore season, Falohun – better known to her teammates as Cocoa – will wrap up her Gamecock career this season and receive her bachelor’s degree in sport and entertainment management in August.

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 face 22 games against teams that participated in the 2009 postseason, including seven non-conference outings. South Carolina plays 11 games against SEC teams that played in the 2009 NCAA Tournament. As a result of those decisions by Staley, the Gamecocks’ schedule is currently ranked as the ninth-toughest in the nation (as of Feb. 23). Only Connecticut, Oklahoma, Rutgers, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Texas, Stanford and Oklahoma State have faced a more strident challenge than South Carolina this season.

Figuring Out February
South Carolina is 170-126 (.574) all-time in the month of February, thanks in large part to a 98-36 (.731) record in Columbia. The Gamecocks are 55-78 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 2-3 so far this month.

Home Sweet Home
South Carolina boasts a .692 all-time winning percentage (324-144) 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 78-46 (.629) in the building, including a 7-4 mark this season.

Living in the League
Including a 6-8 mark this season, South Carolina is 73-177 in SEC games since joining the league for the 1991-92 season. The Gamecocks are 46-76 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 99-25 Atlantic 10 record. She is 8-20 in her second season in the SEC.

Two-Game Time Trial
After winning back-to-back road games (at Auburn and Georgia) in the SEC for the first time since the 2005-06 season, South Carolina suffered the opposite fate in dropping its last two home games. Three of those four games were decided in the final five minutes – Georgia being the exception as the Gamecocks led by 10 at the five-minute mark. In that decisive span during the Gamecocks’ two victories, the Tigers and Lady Bulldogs combined to shoot just 33.3 percent from the field. In the two losses, South Carolina allowed Mississippi State and Arkansas to hit 63.6 percent from the field. The two teams also beat the Gamecocks on the boards when it mattered most, 11-7. By contrast, in the first 35 minutes of the two losses, South Carolina shot 42.6 percent and allowed its opponents to hit 44.3 percent from the field while out-rebounding them 75-50.

Power Outage
After seeing their shooting percentage rise steadily during SEC play, South Carolina suffered a significant set-back Sunday at Kentucky. The Gamecocks hit just 32.3 percent from the field, their lowest efficiency rating since Penn State allowed them to shoot 30.2 percent in the home opener. In SEC play, South Carolina is 2-6 when shooting under 40 percent from the field. Adding to the difficulties Sunday was the Gamecocks’ 3-point percentage – a season-low 8.3 percent, a number highlighted by Valerie Nainima’s first game without an outside field goal in a South Carolina uniform. The Gamecocks’ 3-point “Mendoza Line” appears to be 35.0 percent, very close to their season percentage (.352). South Carolina is 9-5 when shooting 35.0 percent or higher but just 4-8 when hitting below that mark from 3-point range. In SEC play, the difference is even more striking as the Gamecocks are just 1-5 when shooting under 35.0 percent from outside the arc. The lone victory was on Feb. 7 at Georgia, during which South Carolina shot 26.7 percent from 3-point range.

Rank Reading
South Carolina is 47-181 all-time against nationally-ranked teams, including a 2-8 mark this season. The Gamecocks are 26-68 against ranked teams in games played in Columbia, including an 0-2 slate this season. Under current head coach Dawn Staley, the Gamecocks are 2-15 against ranked opponents.

Holding Steady
Looking at the statistical breakdown for SEC games this season, South Carolina ranks among the top half of the league in four categories, including two appearances among the league’s top three. The Gamecocks are third in the SEC in 3-point field goal percentage (.359) and rebounding margin (+2.7). The Gamecocks are fourth in the league in field goal percentage (.413) and sixth in the league in scoring defense, allowing 62.4 points per SEC game.

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 18th in the nation by hitting 2.8 3-pointers per game. She is 10th in the league and 79th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage, hitting long-range shots at a 36.1 percent clip.

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 (9.4) and ninth in scoring (14.0), the highest-ranking first-year player in both categories. Bone’s rebounding average ranks 43rd in the country and fourth nationally among freshmen. She has eight double-doubles this season and has snagged double-digit rebounds 12 times. Bone has scored in double figures 19 times, including five 20-point affairs and her career-high 32 at Clemson in the second game of the season.

Even Stephens
In the 14 games played since turning the calendar to 2010, sophomore Charenee Stephens has been in double figures in either points or rebounds nine times, including double-doubles against Mississippi State and, most recently at Kentucky. That production has put her among the SEC’s best as she ranks ninth in rebounding at 7.1 boards per game and leads the league in field goal percentage (.610).

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 5-7 in live television games.