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Dec. 4, 2010

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Game Information

Date: Sunday, December 5, 2010
Time: 1 p.m.
Location: Columbia, S.C.
Arena: Colonial Life Arena
SSU Series: SC leads 2-0; In Columbia: SC leads 2-0
TV: FoxSports 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.
  • Head coach Dawn Staley ranks fifth in school history with 27 wins at the helm of the Gamecocks. She is one win shy of her career 200th.
  • South Carolina has outrebounded six of its seven opponents this season and ranks fourth in the SEC in rebounding margin (+7.0). No. 3/2 Stanford was the first team to top the Gamecocks on the glass (40-30).
  • In their last two home games, the Gamecocks have shot 48.7 percent (57-117) from the field, including 35.7 percent (10-28) from 3-point range, to average 74.0 points.


A South Carolina Win Would…

  • Be the 200th career coaching victory for Dawn Staley.
  • Give the Gamecocks a 4-1 record through their first five home games, matching the mark in each of Staley’s first two seasons.

Savannah State Series
South Carolina has won both previous games against the Lady Tigers. The most recent meeting ws an 86-47 win on Jan. 6, 2008. In that game, then-freshman Jewel May collected 14 points , which is still her career high, in just 18 minutes on the court. She was 8-of-10 from the free throw line and snagged three of her four rebounds on the offensive glass.

Gamecocks’ Last Time Out…
South Carolina shot a season-best 50 percent from the field in a complete team effort that delivered a 75-53 win over Charleston Southern Wednesday morning. With a few thousand elementary school children on hand to celebrate their participation in the Read with the Gamecocks program, South Carolina established a post presence early and maintained that efficiency throughout the game. Junior forward Charenee Stephens collected 10 of her game-high 18 points in the game’s first eight minutes, and she ripped down a career-best 13 rebounds, including nine on the offensive end. Junior La’Keisha Sutton handed out a career-high eight assists and joined junior Marah Strickland and sophomore Ieasia Walker in double-figure points as well.

There’s No Place Like Home
It’s no secret that teams play better at home than on the road. For the Gamecocks, though, the differential in some statistics is notable.

Stat Home Away Difference
Points Per Game 68.5 44.0 +24.5
Field Goal Percentage .427 (103-241) .277 (48-173) +.150
Rebounding Margin +8.5 (38.8-30.3) +5.0 (39.3-34.3) +3.5
Assists Per Game 12.3 6.0 +6.3
Turnover Margin +3.5 (14.0-17.5) -5.3 (19.6-14.3) +8.8

Helping Hand
After a three-game lull in assists, the Gamecocks appear to be back on track, helping out on more than half the team’s field goals in each of the last two games. South Carolina dished out a season-high 18 assists, including a career-high eight from junior guard La’Keisha Sutton, against Charleston Southern (Dec. 1). The Gamecocks opened the season getting help on half their baskets in each of the first two games, but failed to reach double-digit assists in the next three. The trend reached its nadir at No. 3/2 Stanford when South Carolina recorded just two assists on its 12 field goals (16.7%). South Carolina began its rebound with 11 assists on 19 field goals at UC Davis. Back at Colonial Life Arena, the Gamecocks got a helping hand on 18 of their 26 buckets.

Rebounding Riot
Rebounding may have been a concern of Staley’s prior to the season, but her team has out-rebounded six of its first seven opponents, including then-No. 5/6 Xavier, who closed the 2009-10 season with a +11.1 rebounding margin and had not been out-rebounded in 21 games. The Gamecocks’ +7.0 rebounding margin is fourth-best in the SEC despite being the only team in the league without a player taller than 6-foot-1.

Staley Among Top 5
While head coach Dawn Staley already boasts a place in various record books, in just her third season at the helm of the Gamecocks, she ranks fifth in program history for coaching wins with 27. With the win over Charleston Southern, she moved past Pam Backhuas, who led South Carolina for two different stints (1974-75 and 1976-77).

Deciding December
The Gamecocks are 141-75 (.653) all-time in the month of December, including an 82-22 (.788) record at home. Under head coach Dawn Staley, South Carolina is 9-5 in the first month of the season. The Gamecocks went 4-3 in Staley’s first year at the helm (2008-09) and were 4-2 last season. So far this December, South Carolina is 1-0.

Home Sweet Home
South Carolina has won 69.4 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 326-145 mark includes an 82-49 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. South Carolina is currently 3-1 at home this season.

Walking on Sunshine
Sophomore guard Ieasia Walker is establishing herself as a presence in the SEC, ranking among the league’s top 12 in three categories – scoring (12th, 13.3 ppg), free throw percentage (5th, .714) and steals (5th, 2.3 spg). Her 30-point outing against Clemson set the bar in the SEC in points (30) and field goals made (13). Walker has scored in double figures six out of seven games this season and has led the team in scoring three times (Clemson, Penn State, Stanford). She is second on the team in assists at 2.0 per game.

Singing Her Own Song
Junior La’Keisha Sutton bounced back from a difficult second week of the season with a solid eight-assist, 13-point effort against Charleston Southern on Wednesday. The dynamic guard exploded into the 2010-11 campaign with a 19-point, five-assist, three-steal performance against No. 5/6 Xavier. She closed the season’s first seven-day stretch with a career-high six rebounds – tying for team-high honors – and three assists against archrival Clemson, demonstrably celebrating her birthday through each basket, regardless of who scored it, that separated the Gamecocks from their in-state rival. Through seven games, Sutton leads the team with 2.9 assists per game to rank 11th in the SEC and has scored 9.6 points per game. She is ninth in the league in minutes played at 33.1 per game.

Strick-ly Business
The sharp-shooting Marah Strickland appears to have cleared her shot of the rust it collected sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules. In the last two games, the junior transfer averaged 17.5 points per game on 46.2 percent shooting, which includes 40.9 percent accuracy from 3-point range. After showing just flashes of the shot her own teammates proclaim among the prettiest they have seen, Strickland hit 5-of-11 from 3-point range at UC Davis, leading the team with 19 points. She made sure to pack that confidence on the return from California, hitting 4-of-11 from long range against Charleston Southern. For the season, Strickland is second on the team with 10.0 points per game, which ranks her among the SEC’s top 30 scorers. Her 1.9 3-point field goals per game is 12th in the SEC.

Even Stephens
After building a career around being the energetic Sixth-Man, junior Charenee Stephens earned the starting nod in the last two games and has acclimated to the position. Against Charleston Southern (Dec. 1), she led the team in points (18) and rebounds (13) for the first time this season. She was the beneficiary of a variety of good passes as the Gamecocks established her post presence early. And, nine of her career-high 13 rebounds came on the offensive end. It was the sixth double-double of her career, her first this season. Stephens is second on the team with 5.9 rebounds per game, which ranks her 20th in the SEC. Her 3.1 offensive rebounds per game is 10th-best in the league. She is scoring 5.7 points per game as well.

A-B-C Her Play
Forward Ashley Bruner opened her sophomore season with a pair of double-doubles, marking the second-straight season a Gamecock has accomplished the feat. 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. While those numbers have cooled off slightly, she continues to be one of the biggest contributors to the Gamecock frontcourt. Bruner remains among the SEC’s top 10 with 7.1 rebounds per game and is fifth in the league in offensive rebounding, pulling in 4.1 per game. She has led the team in rebounding three times (Xavier, Illinois, Stanford).

She’s a Jewel
Senior Jewel May has started 37 of the team’s last 38 games because of what she brings to the team outside the box score. That was never more evident than at No. 3/2 Stanford where her stat line of two points and two rebounds did not begin to describe her effort against the Cardinal frontcourt. May has led the team in rebounding three times in the last five games, twice pulling in her season-high eight boards. She earned praise from head coach Dawn Staley following the Clemson game as an example of what the coaching staff had been preaching about taking good shots. Calm decision-making and poise in the post helped May to a six rebounds, including three offensive, and eight points along with a career-best four steals. This season, May is pulling in 4.6 rebounds per game. Fourteen of her 32 total rebounds have come on the offensive end, helping her to 3.9 points per game.