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Nov. 17, 2010

Game Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

La’Keisha Sutton

Game Information

Date: Thursday, November 18
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Columbia, S.C.
Arena: Colonial Life Arena
Clemson Series: CU leads 33-22; In Columbia: SC leads 15-11; In Clemson: CU leads 20-5; Neutral Site: SC leads 2-0
Television: Fox Sports Carolinas (Andy Demetra and Stephanie Ready)
Radio: WISW 1320 AM (Brad Muller and Marcy Girton);
Live Stats:
Tickets: $7 general admission

South Carolina Notables

  • This is the Gamecocks’ 36th season as a varsity sport.
  • South Carolina is fourth in the SEC with a +8.0 rebounding margin.
  • Sophomore Ashley Bruner leads the SEC in rebounding (13.5 rpg), is second in field goal percentage (.647) and 12th in scoring (14.0 ppg).
  • Samone Kennedy will miss the remainder of this week’s games with a toe injury (right foot).
  • 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.


A South Carolina Win Would…

  • Bring head coach Dawn Staley within two of her 200th career coaching victory.
  • Snap a two-game losing streak to the Tigers.
  • Give the Gamecocks a 2-1 record to open the season, matching last season’s mark as the best of the Staley era.

Scouting Clemson
The Tigers opened the season 2-0 with decisive home victories over UNC Greensboro and Charleston Southern. Clemson returns nine letterwinners but just one starter from last season’s 13-18 squad. That lone starter is junior center Shaniqua Pauldo, who is one of four Tigers scoring in double figures so far this season. Her 16.5 points per game is just behind senior guard Sthefany Thomas’ 17.0 ppg. Senior guard Kirstyn Wright and senior forward Jasmine Tate round out the quartet with 15.5 and 10.5 ppg, respectively. As a team, the Tigers score 78.0 points per game on 47.4 percent shooting, including 41.9 percent from 3-point range. Clemson has out-rebounded its first two opponents by 8.0 boards per game and has allowed the two teams to score just 53.5 points per game on 28.9 percent shooting, including 17.0 percent from 3-point range. Head coach Itoro Coleman is in her first season leader her alma mater, although she has not yet prowled the sideline during a game following the birth of her third child earlier this month. Assistant coach Karleen Thompson assumed head coaching duties for the Tigers’ first two outings.

Clemson Series Notes
The Tigers hold a 33-22 edge in the rivalry after winning the last two meetings. Most recently, Clemson narrowly edged South Carolina 94-92 in a double overtime thriller at Littlejohn Coliseum on Nov. 19, 2009. Prior to dropping the last two matchups, the Gamecocks had been on a three-game win streak against their rival – games all won by at least 20 points. In games played in Columbia, the Gamecocks are 15-10 against the Tigers. The most recent South Carolina home win was an 80-48 decision on Nov. 20, 2006.

A-B-C Her Play
Sophomore forward Ashley Bruner has opened her second season with a pair of double-doubles, marking the second-straight season a Gamecock has done that. Bruner’s 17 points and 15 boards against No. 5/6 Xavier were career highs, and she followed that effort with a 11-point, 12-rebound showing against Illinois. Bruner’s stellar start has her sitting atop the SEC standings with 13.5 rebounds per game. She also ranks 12th in the league in scoring at 14.0 ppg. Her 15 rebounds against Xavier are tied for the most by an SEC player so far this season.

Rebounding Riot
South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley entered the season worried most about her team’s rebounding ability. With their tallest players reaching just 6-foot-1 (Jewel May, Charenee Stephens) and just three others that reach the 6-foot bar (Kayla Brewer, Ashley Bruner, Marah Strickland), the Gamecocks will be undersized against most opponents this season. South Carolina’s efforts on the glass so far this season may prove Staley’s misgivings unnecessary as the team currently ranks fourth in the SEC in rebounding margin (+8.0). Last season, the Gamecocks finished the non-conference season with a rebounding margin of 2.5 boards per game last season. In 2009-10, South Carolina was 10-6 when out-rebounding its opponents. This season, South Carolina did its most impressive damage against then-No. 5/6 Xavier, who out-rebounded opponents by 11.1 boards per game last season. Despite facing a roster that lists seven players standing at least 6-feet tall, including a frontcourt led by a 6-foot-6 and a 6-foot-5 player, The Gamecocks out-rebounded the Musketeers 40-35.

See Who’s Up in the SEC
Early in the season, a handful of Gamecocks are stamping their names into the SEC statistical standings.

  • Ashley Bruner and La’Keisha Sutton are among the league’s top 15 scorers with 14.0 ppg (12th) and 13.5 ppg (14th), respectively.
  • Bruner leads the league in rebounding (13.5 rpg), while Charenee Stephens is 14th (7.0 rpg).
  • Bruner is second in the league in field goal percentage (.647) with Sutton coming in at 11th (.423).
  • Ieasia Walker and Markeshia Grant are among the league’s top 15 assist-makers, dishing 3.5 (11th) and 3.0 (15th) per game, respectively.
  • Walker is fifth in the SEC with 3.5 steals per game.

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.

Strength of Schedule
While the strength of schedule rankings have not yet come out, rest assured the Gamecocks will figure high in the standings. With 20 of 29 games this season coming against teams that participated in the 2010 postseason, South Carolina has its work cut out for it right from the opening tipoff. Six Gamecock opponents (nine games) advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16. Fortunately for the Gamecocks, five of those games will be played at Colonial Life Arena.

Gamecocks on TV
South Carolina will play 13 games on television this season, including a Feb. 6 appearance on ESPNU at Arkansas. The Gamecocks will play four non-conference games on Fox Sports Carolinas (Nov. 12, Nov. 18, Dec. 5, Dec. 12); and Fox Sports South, Fox Sports Southwest and Sun Sports will air four Gamecock home SEC contests (Jan. 6, Jan. 20, Feb. 20, Fb. 27). One league road game will air on the SEC Network (Jan. 23), and one will air on Charter Sports Southeast (Feb. 17). The Big Ten Network will broadcast South Carolina’s game at Penn State on Nov. 21.