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Dec. 18, 2010

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Coach Staley Previews North Carolina

Game Information

Date: Sunday, December 19, 2010
Time: 3 p.m.
Location: Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Arena: Myrtle Beach Convention Center
Tickets: $10 general admission
UNC Series: UNC leads 8-6; At Neutral Site: UNC leads 4-2; In Columbia: SC leads 2-1; In Chapel Hill: Tied 2-2
Radio: WISW 1320 AM (Brad Muller);
Live Stats:

South Carolina Notables

  • This is the Gamecocks’ 36th season as a varsity sport.
  • Three Gamecocks are among the SEC’s top 30 scorers this season – Ieasia Walker (12.3 ppg), La’Keisha Sutton (10.1 ppg) and Marah Strickland (10.0 ppg).
  • South Carolina has used four different starting lineups this season, including three in the last four games, with eight players getting at least one start.
  • The Gamecocks are third in the SEC in rebounding defense, allowing opponents just 33.7 boards per outing.
  • Senior guard Valerie Nainima made her season debut against NC State, just 4-1/2 months after ACL surgery on her right knee. She added eight points and three assists in 12 minutes.
  • Two of this season’s three highest-scoring games have come against ACC foes.


A South Carolina Win Would…

  • Be its third-straight over an ACC opponent this season.
  • Be the Gamecocks’ first over North Carolina since an 85-53 decision on Dec. 20, 2001.
  • Be the team’s first over a ranked team since a 73-70 victory at then-No. 22 Vanderbilt on Feb. 28, 2010.
  • Extend the Gamecocks’ winning streak to four games, their longest since a four-game spree Nov. 28-Dec. 17, 2009. It would match the longest string of Ws in the Dawn Staley era.

By the Numbers

  • 2 Gamecocks have started all nine games this season – Jewel May and La’Keisha Sutton.
  • 3 Gamecocks have pulled in more offensive rebounds than defensive boards – Ashley Bruner (35-25), Charenee Stephens (26-23) and Ebony Wilson (10-9).
  • 5 different players have led the team in scoring this season. There have also been five different leaders in rebounds and assists.
  • 5:01 is the total amount of time the Gamecocks have trailed this season after taking a lead into halftime (UC Davis). South Carolina is 5-1 this season when leading at the half.
  • 11 points is the largest deficit the Gamecocks have overcome to win this season (Illinois).
  • 15 points is the largest halftime lead the Gamecocks have held this season (Charleston Southern and NC State).
  • .300 is difference in the Gamecocks’ season-best field goal percentage (.518 vs. NC State) and their season low (.218 at Stanford).

The North Carolina Series
The Tar Heels lead the series 8-6 and have won four of the last five meetings, all of which have been played in Myrtle Beach. The teams last met on Dec. 20, 2009, with then-No. 9 North Carolina fighting off a fiesty Gamecock squad for a 93-85 victory. South Carolina’s last win over the Tar Heels was an 85-53 upset by the then-No. 23 Gamecocks over then-No. 16 North Carolina on Dec. 20, 2001. South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley has never defeated North Carolina from the sidelines but was a perfect 9-0 against the Tar Heels during her four years (1988-92) as an All-American guard at University of Virginia.

Against Ranked Teams
South Carolina is 48-184 all-time against nationally-ranked teams, including an 0-2 mark this season. The Gamecocks are 7-28 all-time in neutral site games against top-25 teams. South Carolina is 16-94 all-time against teams ranked in the AP top 10. Under current head coach Dawn Staley, the Gamecocks are 3-18 against ranked opponents. She is 7-35 against top-25 teams in her career.

Deciding December
The Gamecocks are 143-75 (.656) all-time in the month of December, including an 84-22 (.792) record at home. Under head coach Dawn Staley, South Carolina is 11-5 in the last month of the year. 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 3-0.

Be Aggressive, B-E Aggressive
Since head coach Dawn Staley took the reins prior to the 2008-09 season, the Gamecocks have been most successful when they are aggressive on the offensive end. That trend is even more pronounced this season. Under Staley, South Carolina is 23-18 when it attempts more free throws that 3-poiners, including a 4-2 mark this season. In the last three season, the Gamecocks are 18-12 when attempting more free throws, including a 4-2 mark this season.

Stop, Thief!
South Carolina is averaging 9.2 steals per game this season, which is as high an average as the team has amassed since finishing the 2006-07 campaign with 11.9 per game. The Gamecocks have swiped 10 steals four times this season (Clemson, at No. 3/2 Stanford, Savannah State and NC State) and have recorded fewer than eight in a game just twice (at UC Davis, Charleston Southern).

She’s Baaaack…
Just 4-1/2 months after surgery to repair a torn ACL in her right knee, senior guard Valerie Nainima returned to the court on Dec. 12 against NC State. With just four days of practice under her belt, the 2010 second-team All-SEC selection buried the first shot she took – a 3-pointer from the top of the arc 21 seconds after checking into the game – and went on to net eight points and hand out three assists in just 12 minutes of action. During her time on the court, the Gamecocks outscored the Wolfpack by 10 points. Nainima suffered the injury in a pickup game with her teammates in late July.