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Jan. 22, 2011

Game Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

Game Information

Date: Sunday, January 23, 2011
Time: 2 p.m.
Location: Columbia, S.C.
Arena: Colonial Life Arena
Alabama Series: ALA leads 15-12; In Columbia: SC leads 7-5; In Tuscaloosa: ALA leads 8-5; At Neutral Site: ALA leads 2-0
TV: SEC Network (Cara Capuano and Abby Waner) To find the SEC Network in your area, click here.
Radio: WISW 1320 AM (Brad Muller and Marcy Girton);
Live Stats:
Tickets: $7 General Admission
Halftime: Peter Rabbit

South Carolina Notables

  • This is the Gamecocks’ 37th season as a varsity sport.
  • The Gamecocks are 9-3 when their bench outscores the opponent’s bench.
  • In SEC play, junior guard La’Keisha Sutton’s scoring and assists have generated 34.0 percent of the team’s points – 10.0 ppg by Sutton and 9.5 ppg by teammates from her assists.
  • In SEC games, sophomore guard Ieasia Walker is ranked among the league’s top 15 in six categories, including points per game (4th, 15.5 ppg).
  • Senior Jewel May has been a beast on the boards the last three games, averaging 6.3 rebounds over the stretch.
  • Through games of Jan. 20, South Carolina’s strength of schedule is ranked 18th in the nation. In the SEC, only Tennessee (3) and Florida (14) are rated higher.
  • The Gamecocks scored 25 points off 24 Tennessee turnovers. It was the most turnovers against an SEC team by the Lady Vols this season, and tied for the most the Gamecocks have forced by an opponent this season.


A South Carolina Win Would…

  • Be its 10th home victory this season, the most since the 2007-08 team collected 12 wins at Colonial Life Arena.
  • Be the Gamecocks’ third straight over Alabama and their 10th in the last 13 meetings in the series.
  • Make the Gamecocks 3-4 in SEC play, matching last season’s start.
  • Snap a two-game home losing streak for the Gamecocks.

By the Numbers
2 Gamecocks who have started every game this season – Jewel May and La’Keisha Sutton
3 20-point games recorded by sophomore guard Ieasia Walker in her last four outings
5.0 Assists per game more that the Gamecocks hand out in games they have won (12.0) than games they have lost (7.0) – South Carolina has handed out 10 or more assists 12 times this season, during which it is 9-3.
6 Different players who have led the team in scoring this season – Ieasia Walker (8), Marah Strickland (3), La’Keisha Sutton (2), Ashley Bruner (2), Markeshia Grant (1), Charenee Stephens (1) and Valerie Nainima (2)
7 Different starting lineups head coach Dawn Staley has turned in this season, including four in the last six games
11 Games in which South Carolina has led at the half, during which it has a 9-2 record
17 Games in which the Gamecocks have held their opponent below its scoring average, during which South Carolina has a 10-7 record
18 The largest deficit the Gamecocks have overcome to win this season (LSU), which is also the largest deficit overcome during the Dawn Staley era
19.1 Points per game generated by junior guard La’Keisha Sutton – 9.8 ppg scored plus 9.3 ppg scored off her assists
28 Turnovers South Carolina forced Tennessee to commit, nine more than any other SEC team has forced from the Lady Vols this season

The Alabama Series
The Crimson Tide leads the series 15-12, but the Gamecocks have won nine of the last 12 meetings. South Carolina has won two straight over Alabama, the most recent was an 80-68 decision last season in Tuscaloosa. The Gamecocks won the last meeting at Colonial Life Arena with a 68-57 result on Feb. 15, 2009. In last season’s meeting on Jan. 10, five Gamecocks scored in double figures, including Valerie Nainima (21), La’Keisha Sutton (13), Charenee Stephens (10) and Ieasia Walker (10), behind a team field goal percentage of 59.6, including 8-of-12 (.667) from 3-point range. Both teams scorched the nets, shooting over 63 percent in the first half, but the Crimson Tide cooled in the second as the Gamecock defense yielded just 31.7 percent accuracy in the final 20 minutes. South Carolina is 7-5 against Alabama at home, including all four meetings at Colonial Life Arena.

Home Sweet Home
South Carolina has won 69.3 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 332-147 mark includes an 88-50 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 9-3 at home this season.

Help Thy Neighbor
With arguably the best point guard in international women’s basketball history at the helm, South Carolina has been at its best when its assist numbers are highest. In the Dawn Staley era (2008-09 through present), the Gamecocks are 25-13 when handing out 10 or more assists, including a 9-3 mark this season. When missing the 10-assist plateau, South Carolina is just 9-29 overall, including a 2-18 mark in SEC action. Those records include this season’s 1-6 overall slate and 0-3 ledger in league play.

Heavenly at 70, Successful at 60
The Gamecocks are 9-2 this season when scoring at least 60 points, including a perfect 3-0 mark when reaching the 70-point plateau. South Carolina is 1-7 when scoring fewer than 60. In the Dawn Staley era (2008-09 to present), the Gamecocks are 14-3 when scoring 70 or more points. The team is just 8-28 when falling short of the 60-point mark and is 12-11 when scoring between 60 and 69 points.

De-Fense, De-Fense
The South Carolina defense has held 17 of its last 18 opponents below their season scoring averages, against whom the Gamecocks are 10-7. 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 11.2 points below their season average entering the game (excludes season opener against Xavier).

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. Under Staley, South Carolina is 25-19 when it attempts more free throws than 3-poiners, including a 6-4 mark this season. In the last three seasons, the Gamecocks are 22-14 when attempting more free throws than their opponent, including an 8-4 mark this season.

She’s Baaaack…
While she has been active for the Gamecocks’ last 10 games, Kentucky and Ole Miss got a glimpse of the “old” Valerie Nainima last week as the junior guard made her first two starts of the season and delivered a series of clutch buckets. Nainima made her 2010-11 debut on Dec. 12 against NC State, just 18 weeks after surgery to repair a torn ACL in her right knee. With just four days of practice under her belt, she 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. The 2010 second-team All-SEC selection’s production has fluctuated as she acclimates to being back on the court, but she appeared to return to form in last week’s two outings, averaging 12.0 points on 45.0 percent field goal shooting over the stretch. Her 13 points at Kentucky led the Gamecocks and included several shot-clock beating jumpers. At Ole Miss, she put the team on her back in overtime, scoring seven of the team’s 11 points in the extra five minutes, including the go-ahead 3-pointer and the game-sealing free throw both in the final 50 seconds.

20/20 Vision
With back-to-back 20-point games, sophomore Ieasia Walker has catapulted up the SEC scoring standings to sit in fourth place with 15.5 points per league game this season. She has reached double figures in five of six SEC games this season, including three 20-point contests. In league play, her 39.4 percent accuracy from 3-point range ranks fourth and her 36.0 percent shooting overall is 14th-best. The offensive surge has not curtailed her effort in every other aspect of the game either. Walker has been the team’s top rebounder in each of the last two games (at Ole Miss, vs. Tennessee), including her first career double-double (20 pts/11 reb at Ole Miss), which was the first points-rebounds double-double by a Gamecock guard since Nov. 17, 2006). Defensively, she ranks fifth in the conference with 2.2 steals per SEC game, including three steals in two of the last three games. Overall this season, Walker has held the team’s top scoring average since a 30-point outing against Clemson just three games into the schedule. She has scored in double figures a team-high 13 times in 19 games and team’s top scorer eight times this season.

Just Jersey
Junior guard La’Keisha Sutton has been among the most consistent Gamecocks in the lineup, especially since the start of SEC action. Averaging in double figures (10.0 ppg) in league play, Sutton has made just as much impact with her passing. She is sixth in the league in assists per conference contest (4.0) and is eighth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3). Through six SEC games, Sutton accounts for 19.5 points per game via her own scoring (10.0 ppg) and her assists (9.5 ppg). That’s 34.0 percent of the team’s total scoring (57.3 ppg). Overall this season, Sutton is second on the team and 28th in the SEC in scoring at 9.8 points per game. Her 3.8 assists per game are good for seventh in the league, and she has a 1.0 assist-to-turnover ratio to rank 11th. She has scored in double figures nine times this season, including four of six SEC contests, and has handed out four or more assists 11 times, including three league outings. Sutton’s 41.0 field goal percentage is the highest among the team’s guards.