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Feb. 5, 2011

Game Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

Game Information

Date: Sunday, February 6, 2011
Time: 4 p.m. (ET)
Location: Fayetteville, Ark.
Arena: Bud Walton Arena (19,200)
Arkansas Series: ARK leads 16-7; In Fayetteville: ARK leads 9-1; In Columbia: SC leads 6-5; At Neutral Site: ARK leads 2-0
TV: ESPNU (Sam Gore and LaChina Robinson)
Radio: WISW 1320 AM (Brad Muller and Marcy Girton);

South Carolina Notables

  • This is the Gamecocks’ 37th season as a varsity sport.
  • The Gamecocks are 10-4 when their bench outscores the opponent’s bench.
  • Each of the last two games between the Razorbacks and Gamecocks have been decided by four points.
  • South Carolina ranks fifth in the SEC in rebounding margin in league games (+0.9), despite being the only league roster with no player taller than 6-foot-1.
  • In SEC play, junior guard La’Keisha Sutton’s scoring and assists have generated 32.7 percent of the team’s points – 8.9 ppg by her 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 four categories, including points per game (7th, 14.1) and steals per game (3rd, 2.7).
  • Sophomore Ashley Bruner has been solid in SEC play, but especially so in the last two games, during which she averages 17.5 points on 55.0 percent field goal shooting, ,and 7.5 rebounds. She led the team in scoring and rebounding at Auburn, the third time she has topped the team in both categories this season.
  • Through games of Feb. 3, South Carolina’s strength of schedule is ranked 20th in the nation. In the SEC, only Tennessee (4) is rated higher.


A South Carolina Win Would…

  • Be head coach Dawn Staley’s first over Arkansas.
  • Just the Gamecocks’ second win over Arkansas in Fayetteville.
  • Give the Gamecocks a 5-5 SEC record, matching last season’s start to conference play.

By the Numbers
<> Gamecocks taller than 6-foot-1, making South Carolina the most undersized team in the SEC – yet, the Gamecocks rank fifth in the SEC in rebounding margin (+0.8) in league games
1 Gamecock who has started every game this season – Jewel May
2 Junior La’Keisha Sutton’s ranking in free throw percentage in SEC games (.833)
3 SEC games in which South Carolina’s defense has yielded more than 60 points – Georgia 61 (Jan. 2), LSU 61 (Jan. 6) and Tennessee 71 (Jan. 20)
6.3 Assists per game more that the Gamecocks hand out in games they have won (12.0) than games they have lost (7.3) – South Carolina has handed out 10 or more assists 14 times this season, during which it is 11-3.
7.6 Rebounds per game by sophomore guard Ieasia Walker over the last five games, during which she is averging 15.6 points and 3.2 steals, to lead the team in all three categories
13 Games in which South Carolina has led at the half, during which it has an 11-2 record
20 Games in which the Gamecocks have held their opponent below its scoring average, during which South Carolina has a 12-8 record
18.7 Points per game generated by junior guard La’Keisha Sutton – 9.4 ppg scored plus 9.3 ppg scored off her assists
24.0 Minutes per game played by Courtney Newton since she earned a spot in the starting lineup five games ago
.714 South Carolina’s free throw percentage in the last two minutes of games this season, compared to its .613 percentage in the first 38 minutes of games

The Arkansas Series
The Razorbacks lead the series 16-7, including wins in the last two meetings. Each of the last two games between Arkansas and South Carolina have been decided by four points, beginning with 2009’s 58-54 Razorback win in Arkansas on Feb. 12, which snapped a three-game skid to the Gamecocks. Last season, Arkansas rallied in the second half to steal a 72-68 victory from South Carolina in Columbia. The Gamecocks have won just one of the previous 10 meetings in Fayetteville – a 74-69 decision on Feb. 8, 2007.

Living in the League
Including a 4-5 mark this season, South Carolina is 77-183 in SEC games since joining the league for the 1991-92 season. The Gamecocks are 51-80 in regular-season SEC games played in Columbia and 26-103 in SEC games on the road. South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley boasts a 112-51 career record in league play, including eight seasons leading her Temple team to a 99-25 Atlantic 10 record. She is 13-26 in her third season in the SEC.

Road Warriors
South Carolina has a 177-228 (.437) all-time record on the road. The Gamecocks’ best season on the road was 1979-80 when they went 11-4. Under head coach Dawn Staley, South Carolina is 8-19 in road games. In her 11th season as a head coach, Staley has a 70-65 road record.

Figuring Out February
The Gamecocks are 172-133 (.564) all-time in the month of February, including a 98-37 (.726) record at home. Under head coach Dawn Staley, South Carolina is 4-10 in the second month of the year. The Gamecocks went 1-5 in Staley’s first year at the helm (2008-09) and were 3-5 last season.

They’re Free, But They Sure Do Count
South Carolina may rank ninth in the SEC in free throw percentage, but the Gamecocks have proven they can step up and deliver when it counts the most. Hitting 63.1 percent from the charity stripe overall, South Carolina has shot 66.4 percent from the line in the final five minutes of the game. That number goes up further to 71.4 percent in the final two minutes of games. To get more specific, South Carolina has been involved in eight games this season where the teams were within 10 points of each other in the final five minutes – at UC Davis, NC State, LSU, Florida, at Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Auburn. In those eight games, in which they are 5-3, the Gamecocks have shot 72.7 percent from the free throw line. The stat saw both its high and low in one week. South Carolina was a perfect 8-of-8 from the stripe as it nursed a four-point lead at the five-minute mark to a nine-point victory over No. 20/24 Georgia on Jan. 27. Junior guard La’Keisha Sutton accounted for half of those free throws. Three days later, with the game tied with five minutes to play, the Gamecocks misfired on all four of their free throw attempts, including two that were the front ends of 1-and-1 opportunities.

Boost from the Bench
The South Carolina bench has outscored that of its opponent 14 times in 22 games this season, and the Gamecocks are 10-4 in those outings. South Carolina is 2-6 in games in which the opponent’s bench scores the same or more points. On the season, the South Carolina bench is outscoring its counterparts by 5.4 points per game. The Gamecock reserves have outscored their peers by 20 or more points four times (Savannah State, NC State, South Carolina State, #20/24 Georgia) with the season’s largest differential of 34 points coming against South Carolina State (Dec. 30).

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 27-14 when handing out 10 or more assists, including n 11-4 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 3-8 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 10-29 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 20 of its last 21 opponents below their season scoring averages, against whom the Gamecocks are 12-7. 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 12.1 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 26-19 when it attempts more free throws than 3-poiners, including a 7-4 mark this season. In the last three seasons, the Gamecocks are 24-14 when attempting more free throws than their opponent, including a 10-4 mark this season.

Newton’s Law
Redshirt junior Courtney Newton worked her way into the starting lineup at Ole Miss with smart, gritty play. The change in vantage point paid immediate dividends (Newton hit her first 3-pointers of the season against the Rebels), and the Flowery Branch, Ga., native’s confidence has been building ever since. Put into the lineup for her commitment to defense and sound knowledge of the game plan, Newton’s offensive contributions reached a crescendo against #20/24 Georgia (Jan. 27). She buried all five of her 3-point attempts to tie the school record for 3-point field goal percentage and led the team with 16 points, one shy of her career high set back on Nov. 17, 2007, in her true freshman year. A well-chronicled warrior who has recovered from myriad lower body surgeries (knee, hip), Newton netted her 3s at the most critical times of the game – including her third one that put South Carolina on top for good at 34-31 five minutes into the second half and the fourth that stretched the Gamecock lead after the Lady Bulldogs had pulled within two with six minutes to play. For the team, the last five games with Newton in the starting rotation have yielded a 3-2 record and significant strides on the defensive end. The Gamecocks’ last five opponents have scored 55.8 points per game, compared to a 59.7 scoring average over the first 17 contests. In the last five games, South Carolina’s foes have hit 38.5 percent from the field, compared to 44.0 percent over the first 17 outings.

Walking on Sunshine
Sophomore Ieasia Walker ranks among the SEC’s top-10 scorers in league play, netting 14.1 points per game. The hot-shooting guard has three 20-point games among her nine league outings and has missed the 10-point plateau just once during the stretch. The beauty of Walker’s game is that it has not been one-dimensional. Her 4.9 rebounds per SEC game are third-highest on the team, and she has pulled down a team-best 7.6 caroms per game over the last five contests. She recorded her first career double-double at Ole Miss (Jan. 16), the first of the points-rebounds variety by a South Carolina guard since Kellindra Zachery psted 28 points and 11 boards agaisnt North Carolina A&T on Nov. 17, 2006. Defensively, Walker is third in the SEC with 2.7 steals per conference game and has swiped a career-high five steals twice this season, including against Alabama (Jan. 23).

Just Jersey
Junior guard La’Keisha Sutton has been among the most consistent Gamecocks in the lineup this season, especially since the start of SEC action. Averaging in 8.9 points in league play, Sutton has made just as much impact with her passing. She is fifth in the league in assists per conference contest (4.0) and is 10th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.1). Through nine SEC games, Sutton accounts for 18.4 points per game via her own scoring (8.9 ppg) and her assists (9.5 ppg). That’s 32.7 percent of the team’s total scoring (56.3 ppg). Overall this season, Sutton is second on the team and 30th in the SEC in scoring at 9.4 points per game. Her 3.9 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 10 times this season, including five SEC contests, and has handed out four or more assists 13 times, including five league outings. Sutton’s .398 field goal percentage is the highest among the team’s guards.

Fast Starter
Sophomore forward Ashley Bruner started SEC play the same way she attacked the start of the season – with a double-double. She led all scorers and rebounders at Georgia with 16 points and 11 boards to post her third double-double of the season. Five of her 11 rebounds came on the offensive end as she shot 6-of-7 from the field at Stegeman Coliseum. She followed that effort with an 11-point, six-rebound outing against LSU and closed a two-game home stand with a perfect shooting night (8-of-8) – the best in Colonial Life Arena history – for 16 points and six rebounds against LSU. Bruner’s performances have waned very little in the subsequent SEC contests. In league play, she ranks among the conference’s top 15 in rebounding (6.3) and is 21st in scoring (10.8).

Gamecocks on TV
South Carolina will play 13 games on television this season, including a Feb. 6 appearance at Arkansas on ESPNU. So far, the Gamecocks are 5-2 in televised contests. The Gamecocks played four non-conference games on Fox Sports Carolinas (Nov. 12, Nov. 18, Dec. 5, Dec. 12), and the Big Ten Network broadcasted South Carolina’s game at Penn State on Nov. 21. Fox Sports South, Fox Sports Southwest and Sun Sports will air four Gamecock home SEC contests (Jan. 6, Jan. 20, Feb. 20, Feb. 27). One league road game aired on the SEC Network (Jan. 23), and one will air on Charter Sports Southeast (Feb. 17).