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Dec. 11, 2010

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Coach Staley Previews NC State

Game Information

Date: Sunday, December 12, 2010
Time: 2 p.m.
Location: Columbia, S.C.
Arena: Colonial Life Arena
NCSU Series: NCSU leads 18-10; In Columbia: NCSU leads 6-5; In Raleigh: NCSU leads 8-4; At Neutral Site: NCSU leads 4-1
Live Stats:
Tickets: $7 general admission
TV: FoxSports Carolinas (Andy Demetra and Stephanie Ready)
Radio: WISW 1320 AM (Brad Muller and Marcy Girton);

South Carolina Notables


  • This is the Gamecocks’ 36th season as a varsity sport.
  • Head coach Dawn Staley collected the 200th victory of her career on Dec. 5 against Savannah State.
  • Junior guard La’Keisha Sutton is 10th in the SEC in both assists per game (3.0) and assist-to-turnover ratio (0.7).
  • Since coming off the bench the last three games, junior guard Marah Strickland has hit 37.0 percent (10-27) of her 3-point attempts.
  • The Gamecocks are fourth in the SEC in defensive rebounding percentage, pulling in 68.0 percent of the rebounds on their defensive end of the floor.


A South Carolina Win Would…

  • Be its third-straight over NC State.
  • Be its fifth-straight home victory, the longest the Gamecocks have gone without dropping a home game since a six-game stretch in the 2007-08 season.

NC State Series
The Wolfpack holds an 18-10 lead in the all-time series, although the Gamecocks have won the last two meetings. South Carolina claimed the most recent matchup 74-71 at Colonial Life Arena on Dec. 13, 2009, behind a clutch 3-pointer from Samone Kennedy in the final 20 seconds of the contest. Kennedy finished the game with 18 points, thanks in large part to 3-of-5 shooting from 3-point range, and tied for team-high honors with four assists. As a team, South Carolina hit 43.8 percent from 3-point range and out-rebounded the Wolfpack 45-39, which, along with forcing 22 turnovers, helped the Gamecocks generate more than 20 extra possessions in the contest. The Wolfpack leads the series 6-5 in games played in Columbia. NC State’s last win on the Gamecocks’ homecourt was a 75-48 decision on Dec. 16, 2004.

Gamecocks’ Last Time Out…
Ashley Bruner scoed 15 of her game-high 18 points in the second half as the Gamecocks pulled away from Savannah State in a 52-33 victory at Colonial Life Arena on Sunday. South Carolina shook off a tough shooting first half and swiped a season-high 13 steals to secure head coach Dawn Staley’s 200th career win.

De-Fense, De-Fense
The South Carolina defense has held six of its last seven opponents below their season scoring average (excludes season opener against Xavier), against whom the Gamecocks are 4-2. Only Stanford managed to reach its average, scoring 70 points on the Gamecock defense after entering the game with a 69.7 points per game mark. On average, South Carolina has held its opponents 14.5 points below their season average entering the game.

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 eight 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’ +5.8 rebounding margin is sixth-best in the SEC despite being the only team in the league without a player taller than 6-foot-1.

Staley Reaches Bicentennial
With the win over Savannah State on Dec. 5, head coach Dawn Staley collected the 200th victory over her coaching career. Staley achieved her first milestone victory in her fifth season at Temple, scoring her 100th win in a 64-61 decision over Xavier in the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 Tournament on March 6, 2005.

Check Your Scorecards
Senior guard Valerie Nainima began practicing this week, 4-1/2 months after surgery to repair a torn ACL in her right knee. Unafraid to mix it up on offense or defense in her first practice Wednesday, the 2010 second-team All-SEC selection is itching to get into game action, but the medical and coaching staffs have not determined when she will don a uniform for her season debut.

Singing Her Own Song
Junior La’Keisha Sutton is tied for second on the team in scoring at 9.1 points per game and is the team’s top play-maker, handing out 3.0 assists per game to rank 10th in the SEC. She has scored in double figures three times and dished four or more assists in three games. Her career-high eight assists against Charleston Southern were the most by a Gamecock since Valerie Nainima handed out nine against North Carolina on Dec. 20, 2009. The dynamic Sutton 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. The home fans clearly get Sutton fired up to perform as she averages 10.8 points and 4.0 assists per game at Colonial Life Arena. She also leads the team with 11 steals in five home contests.

A-B-C Her Play
Forward Ashley Bruner continues to prove she is among the SEC’s biggest threats in the post. Ranking 10th in the league in rebounding at 7.0 boards per game, she pulls down more than half of that total on the offensive end (4.0) to rank sixth in the conference in that category. She has led the team in rebounding four times (Xavier, Illinois, Stanford, Savannah State). 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. Most recently, Bruner netted a career-high 18 points against Savannah State and posted four blocked shots for the second time in as many games. She is eighth in the SEC with 1.4 blocked shots per game this season.

Tough Slate
According to (through games of Dec. 9), South Carolina is playing the 15th-toughest schedule in the country and the second-most challenging in the SEC behind Tennessee (7th). With 20 of 29 games this season coming against teams that participated in the 2010 postseason, South Carolina has had 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 are being played at Colonial Life Arena. Last season, South Carolina finished the season ranked 11th in strength of schedule.