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March 4, 2011

Game Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader | SEC Tournament Central

Game Information

Date: Friday, March 4, 2011
Time: 7:30 p.m. (ET)
Location: Nashville, Tenn.
Arena: Bridgestone Arena (17,576)
Georgia Series: UGA leads 30-6; At Neutral Site: UGA leads 3-1; In Columbia: UGA leads 13-3; In Athens: UGA leads 14-2
TV: FSN (Dave Baker and LaChina Robinson)
Radio: WISW 1320 AM (Brad Muller and Marcy Girton);

South Carolina Notables

  • The Gamecocks have never advanced beyond the second round of the SEC Tournament.
  • South Carolina’s fifth seed in the 2011 SEC Tournament is its highest since the 2002-03 team also drew the No. 5 slot.
  • South Carolina is one of just two SEC teams that faced three of the top four teams in the conference twice this season, against whom the Gamecocks went 2-4.
  • The Gamecocks’ five turnovers against Ole Miss last night were the fewest in the Dawn Staley era.
  • Overall this season, junior guard La’Keisha Sutton’s scoring and assists have generated 32.5 percent of the team’s points – 10.7 ppg by her and 8.6 ppg by teammates from her assists.
  • In SEC games, sophomore guard Ieasia Walker ranked among the league’s top 10 in points per game (9th, 13.3) and steals per game (3rd, 2.8). The effort earned her a spot on the All-SEC Second Team.
  • In the last three seasons, Jewel May has started all but three of the 87 games the Gamecocks have played. She has started 60 of the last 61 games, anchoring a frontcourt that saw six different players join her there at the opening tipoff during that time.
  • Through games of March 2, South Carolina’s strength of schedule is ranked 19th in the nation. In the SEC, only Tennessee (5), Florida (14) and Vanderbilt (17) are rated higher.


A South Carolina Win Would…

  • Be its 18th of the season, the most since the 2006-07 squad posted an 18-15 overall record.
  • Be its first ever SEC Tournament quarterfinal win.
  • Be its second-straight over Georgia, the first time the Gamecocks have won back-to-back games against the Lady Bulldogs since sweeping the 2001-02 season series.

By the Numbers
1 Game in which one Gamecock has led the team in points, rebounds and assists – Ieasia Walker vs. Ole Miss (March 3)
3.5 Assists per game by junior guard La’Keisha Sutton, the most by a Gamecock since Cristina Ciocan handed out 5.3 per game in 2003-04
4 Overtime games (all in SEC play) South Carolina has played this season, in which it is 2-2
5 Statistical categories in which junior guard La’Keisha Sutton is ranked among the SEC’s top 20 in league games – scoring (16th), assists (6th), free throw percentage (9th), minutes played (6th) and assist-to-turnover ratio (12th)
15.3 Turnovers per game by the Gamecocks, who turned it over a season-low five times in the first-round SEC tournament game against Ole Miss
22 Games in which sophomore guard Ieasia Walker has scored 10 or more points (during which the Gamecocks are 13-9), including 14 of 16 SEC games
26 Games in which the Gamecocks have held their opponent below its scoring average, during which South Carolina has a 17-9 record

The Georgia Series
The Lady Bulldogs lead the series 30-6, although the teams have split the two meetings the last two seasons. The Gamecocks avenged a 61-51 loss at Georgia (Jan. 2) with a 57-48 victory over the then-# 20/24 Lady Bulldogs in Columbia (Jan. 27). Junior Courtney Newton led the way with 16 points in the win, hitting 5-of-5 from 3-point range. Tonight is just the second meeting between the two teams in the SEC Tournament. No. 12-seed Georgia came out on top in the March 4, 2004, meeting, 73-42, in Nashville.

What’s Your Schedule?
With the nation’s 19th-toughest schedule (according to, Gamecocks took on four non-conference opponents that currently have an RPI under 35 to set the tone for a stringent SEC slate. With the unbalanced league schedule, South Carolina was one of just two schools that had to play two games against three of the top four teams in the league – Tennessee, Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Georgia. Four teams (Tennessee, Georgia, Auburn, LSU and Mississippi State) faced only one of the four teams multiple times. The Gamecocks went 2-4 against the top four seeds in this week’s SEC Tournament, topping Florida’s 1-5 mark against the same set of foes. Using the NCAA’s RPI ratings through games of Feb. 27, the Gamecocks have played 14 games against teams ranked in the top 50, recording three victories. Only two of South Carolina’s 13 losses this season have come to teams with a current RPI higher than 50 (UC Davis and Auburn), and the Gamecocks have nine wins against teams currently toting an RPI of 51-150.

Awards Season
South Carolina sophomore guard Ieasia Walker earned a spot on the All-SEC Second Team, as voted by the league’s coaches and announced on Tuesday. It is the second-straight season a Gamecock has earned the nod from SEC coaches and the first postseason award for Walker. She ranks among the SEC’s top 10 in both points (13.3) and steals (2.8) in league games, turning in double-figure points in 14 of 16 SEC contests this season. Walker is third on the team in rebounding in league games and is second in assists.

Dropping Dimes …And Buckets
Junior La’Keisha Sutton is on track to finish her season among the most well-rounded guards in South Carolina history. She is already among the top playmakers in recent years as her 3.5 assists per game are the most by a Gamecock since Cristina Ciocan handed out 5.1 per game in 2003-04. Adding 10.7 points per game to that assist average, Sutton could become just the 13th player at South Carolina to close her season with that many assists per game while also averaging double-figure points.

Not-to-Be-Forgotten Frontcourt
While not the centerpieces of the Gamecock offense, the effort of the South Carolina frontcourt can not be overlooked as critical to the teams success. Statistically the most undersized team in the SEC, South Carolina is the only team in the league without a player taller than 6-foot-1. Still, the Gamecocks have battled their way into the top half of the league in rebounding margin in league play (6th, -0.3). South Carolina has been out-rebounded just six times in conference play, and only Tennessee managed to pull down a double-digit advantage. In fact, taking out the two games against the Lady Vols, who boast four players standing 6-foot-3 or taller, the Gamecocks have a +2.6 rebounding margin in SEC action. The Gamecocks have turned rebounding into a team effort, but the bulk of the work centers around their top rebounders – sophomore Ashley Bruner and senior Jewel May. Bruner has posted 5.4 rebounds per game, including 3.2 offensive boards per outing, which is good for seventh-best in the conference. In her final trip through the SEC, May has been producing at a high level in league games this season. She averaged 4.8 rebounds per SEC contest, including 2.6 on the offensive end to rank ninth in the conference.

Precious Gem
South Carolina has taken care of the ball this season better than any other under Dawn Staley. The Gamecocks’ 15.4 turnovers per game are the lowest of the Staley era, and, in fact, are the lowest since the 1994-95 squad turned it over 15.3 times per game. In the SEC Tournament opener against Ole Miss, the Gamecocks suffered just five turnovers, making it the first single-digit turnover game since the 2010 SEC Tournament game against the Rebels when they committed nine. Five turnovers are the fewest in a game in the Staley era.

Front Runners
South Carolina has had little trouble playing from the front this season, posting a 15-4 record in games it has led at halftime. The lone losses were at UC Davis (Nov. 28), at then-No. 19 Kentucky (Jan. 13), at LSU (Feb. 24) and against Vanderbilt (Feb. 27). The Gamecocks are 0-1 when tied at halftime, dropping the game against Florida in the final 16 seconds. In the three seasons since Dawn Staley took over the program, South Carolina is 33-10 after leading at halftime and 2-4 when tied at the midway point.

They’re Free, But They Sure Do Count
Ranking 12th in the SEC in free throw percentage, South Carolina built much of its mid-season success by hitting timely free throws. Hitting 61.9 percent from the chartity stripe overall, the Gamecocks lift that number to 66.5 percent in the final five minutes. The number goes up further to 70.9 percent in the final two minutes.

Five for Fighting
After a non-conference season that saw just one game decided by 10 or fewer points, South Carolina has experienced much tighter games in SEC play. In fact, the closer the better for the Gamecocks who are 4-2 in SEC games decided by five or fewer points, compared to 4-6 in league games settled by six or more points. In the Dawn Staley era (2008-09 to present), the Gamecocks are 12-12 in five-point or closer games (4-2 this season), 9-10 when the scoring margin is between six and 10 points (2-3 this season), 15-16 in games decided by 11 to 20 points (8-4 this season) and 4-8 in games settled by more than 20 points (2-4 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 30-15 when handing out 10 or more assists, including a 14-5 mark this season. When missing the 10-assist plateau, South Carolina is just 11-31 overall with Staley, including a 4-20 mark in SEC action. Those records include this season’s 3-8 overall slate and 2-5 ledger in league play.

Heavenly at 70, Successful at 60
The Gamecocks are 14-4 this season when scoring at least 60 points, including a perfect 3-0 mark when reaching the 70-point plateau. South Carolina is 3-9 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 10-30 when falling short of the 60-point mark and is 17-13 when scoring between 60 and 69 points.

De-Fense, De-Fense
The South Carolina defense has held 26 of its last 29 opponents below their season scoring averages (excludes season opener against Xavier), against whom the Gamecocks are 17-9. Only Stanford (Nov. 26), Tennessee (Feb. 17) and Vanderbilt (Feb. 27, overtime) managed to reach their averages. On average, South Carolina has held its opponents 10.3 points below their season average entering the game.

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 29-19 when it attempts more free throws than 3-pointers, including a 9-4 mark this season. In the last three seasons, the Gamecocks are 28-14 when attempting more free throws than their opponent, including a 14-4 mark this season.

Managing March
The Gamecocks are 56-46 (.549) all-time in the month of March, including a 15-6 (.714) record at home. With most March games coming in postseason action, South Carolina is 28-29 (.491) in neutral site games in the third month of the year. Under head coach Dawn Staley, South Carolina is 1-3 in March. The Gamecocks went 0-2 in Staley’s first year at the helm (2008-09), were 0-1 last season and are 1-0 so far this March.

Time and a Half
The Gamecocks have played four overtime games this season, the most in South Carolina history and the second-straight season the program has logged multiple OT contests. Prior to the 2009-10 season, South Carolina had not played multiple OT games in a season since the 1995-96 squad logged extra time in four contests, putting up a 1-3 record in those games. Under head coach Dawn Staley, the Gamecocks are 3-3 in overtime contests, including a 2-2 mark this season.

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.