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Dec. 10, 2010

Valerie Nainima Returns to the Court

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina women’s basketball head coach Dawn Staley announced today that senior guard Valerie Nainima is participating in practice this week, 4-1/2 months removed from surgery to repair a torn ACL in her right knee, which she suffered in a pickup game in late July. The medical and coaching staffs have not indicated which game will be Nainima’s first of the season.

“We are excited for Val to get back into full practices this week,” Staley said. “She has been relentless in her rehab in order to get back to our team, and I look forward to seeing that attitude back out on the court. Val is one of our captains this season and has been a vocal leader from the sideline, but I think our team will benefit from her experience and leadership on the court even more.”

A second-team All-SEC selection by the league’s coaches in 2009-10, Nainima was the Gamecocks’ leading scorer at 17.0 ppg, ranking her fifth in the league. She was one of the nation’s most prolific 3-point shooters, netting 2.8 per game from outside the arc to rank 17th in the country, and her 35.8 percent accuracy from long range was ninth-best in the SEC. Nainima made 81 3-pointers on the season to tie for fifth-most in Gamecock history. The team’s leading scorer 15 times, she amassed 10 20-point games and reached double figures in all but two games of the season.

The Gamecocks return to action on Sun., Dec. 12, in a 2 p.m. contest against NC State at Colonial Life Arena.