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Nov. 15, 2010

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Game Information

Date: Monday, November 15, 2010
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Columbia, S.C.
Arena: Colonial Life Arena
Illinois Series: IL leads 1-0; In Columbia: First Meeting; Neutral Site: IL leads 1-0
Radio: WISW 1320 AM (Brad Muller and Marcy Girton);

South Carolina Notables

  • This is the Gamecocks’ 36th season as a varsity sport.
  • Senior guard Samone Kennedy will not dress tonight due to an to injury on her right foot suffered against Xavier.
  • Courtney Newton will be in uniform tonight for the first time since Dec. 20, 2009.
  • South Carolina was 7-5 at Colonial Life Arena last season and is 79-48 (.622) all-time in the building.
  • In the two seasons since she took the reins, Dawn Staley’s Gamecocks are 6-5 in the game following a loss by 15 or more points.
  • SEC coaches picked the Gamecocks to finish seventh in their annual preseason poll, matching the media’s preseason selection. South Carolina closed out the 2009-10 campaign tied for seventh with a 7-9 league record.
  • South Carolina opens the season with a trio of home games, its longest home stretch to start the season since four home contests opened the 2007-08 effort.


A South Carolina Win Would…

  • Bring head coach Dawn Staley within three of her 200th career coaching victory.
  • Be the Gamecocks first in two outings against Illinois.
  • Give the Gamecocks an 18-12 all-time record against Big Ten schools.

Scouting Illinois
The Fighting Illini bring a youthful team into Colonial Life Arena tonight. One of only seven Division I teams in the nation without a senior on the roster, Illinois has just eight players available to take on the Gamecocks as a pair of sophomores are out of the lineup early in the season. Illinois opened its 2010-11 season with a 69-62 loss to in-state rival Illinois State Friday night. Sophomore forward Karisma Penn led three players in double figures with 18 points while also pulling down a team-best 11 rebounds. Redshirt freshman guard Amber Moore provided a punch off the bench with 15 points on 5-of-16 shooting from 3-point range. Starting guards Centrese McGee and Lydia McCully each handed out four assists. Illinois head coach Jolette Law is in her fourth season at Illinois with a 49-52 overall record.

Illinois Series Notes
The Gamecocks and Illini have met just once before tonight. Illinois claimed a 91-58 victory in the first game of the Florida International Thanksgiving Classic on Nov. 23, 2007. Three current players took part in that game, all Gamecocks – Samone Kennedy, Courtney Newton and Jewel May. Kennedy led the group, handing out five assists and scoring four points in just 25 minutes of play.

Last Time Out…
Offensive struggles in the first half put South Carolina in a halftime hole from which it could not fully recover in an 84-65 loss to No. 5/6 Xavier in the season opener for both teams Friday night. The Gamecocks out-rebounded the vaunted Musketeer frontcourt 40-35, led by sophomore Ashley Bruner, who posted her first career double-double with a game-high 15 boards and 17 points.

Beating the Big Ten
South Carolina is 17-12 all-time against schools currently in the Big Ten Conference, having played all but two of the league’s 11 schools – Michigan State and Wisconsin – at least once. The Gamecocks have the most history with Penn State, holding a 4-4 record against the Lady Lions pending this weekend’s meeting.

Now in November
The Gamecocks are 67-35 (.657) all-time in the month of November, including a 32-9 record at home. Under head coach Dawn Staley, South Carolina is 6-6 in the first month of the season. The Gamecocks went 3-2 in Staley’s first year at the helm (2008-09) and were 3-3 last season.

Home Sweet Home
South Carolina has won 69.2 percent of its home games since the 1976-77 season (records did not include the site of games for the first two seasons of women’s basketball). That 323-144 mark includes a 79-48 mark in Colonial Life Arena. The Gamecocks turned in their most productive home season in 2001-02, winning 17 of their 18 contests in their final season playing at Carolina Coliseum. The team’s best home record at Colonial Life Arena came in 2006-07 when South Carolina went 15-5.

Preseason Props
Junior guard Marah Strickland is set to make her Gamecock debut tonight, but she has already caught the eye of SEC coaches. The group voted her to the Preseason All-SEC Second Team prior to the start of the season despite having not yet played a game in a Gamecock uniform. Strickland sat out the 2009-10 season after transferring from Maryland, where she ranked among the ACC’s elite 3-point shooters in both frequency and percentage.

Oh Captain, My Captain
The Gamecocks named three team captains for the 2010-11 season. Seniors Valerie Nainima and Jewel May and junior Marah Strickland earned the nod to lead the team on and off the court this season.

A, B, C Her Play
Sophomore forward Ashley Bruner broke out in the season opener against No. 5/6 Xavier. After seeing spot time as a freshman, Bruner committed herself to becoming a different player over the summer. Staying in Columbia to work on her conditioning, strength and individual skills, Bruner earned her first career start in the seaon opener and hung 17 points and 15 rebounds on the Musketeers. Eight of her boards came on the offensive end, and she went to the free throw line five times.

Rebounding Riot
South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley entered the season worried most about her team’s rebounding ability. With no player over 6-foot-1 and just three others that reach the 6-foot bar, the Gamecocks will be undersized against most opponents this season. South Carolina’s effort against No. 5/6 Xavier in the season opener may prove Staley’s misgivings unnecessary. Facing the Musketeers, who out-rebounded opponents by 11.1 boards per game last season, found themselves on the losing end of the rebound battle against the Gamecocks. Despite a roster that lists seven players at least 6-feet tall, including a frontcourt led by a 6-foot-6 and a 6-foot-5 player, Xavier yielded 40 rebounds to South Carolina, including 21 on the Gamecock offensive end. The home team turned those offensive boards into 20 second-chance points.