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March 19, 2011

Game Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

Coach Staley – Friday Media Availability
La’Keisha Sutton – Friday Media Availability

Game Information

Date: Sunday, March 20, 2011
Time: 2 p.m.
Location: Columbia, S.C.
Arena: Colonial Life Arena
Tickets: $8 adult, $5 youth (17 & under)
Charlotte Series: SC leads 16-5; In Columbia: SC leads 9-2; In Charlotte: SC leads 7-3; At Neutral Site: Never met
Radio: WISW 1320 AM (Brad Muller and Marcy Girton);

South Carolina Notables

  • South Carolina is making its fourth appearance in the Postseason Women’s NIT. The Gamecocks have advanced as far as the third round of the event (2007).
  • This is just the second Postseason Women’s NIT appearance for South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley. Her Temple team suffered an opening-game 59-57 loss to James Madison on March 15, 2001, in her debut in the event. Overall in postseason events, excluding conference tournaments, Staley is 2-7.
  • The last three games between South Carolina and Charlotte have been decided by an average of 4.0 points. The Gamecocks are 2-1 in those games.
  • Overall this season, junior guard La’Keisha Sutton’s scoring and assists have generated 32.0 percent of the team’s points – 10.4 ppg by her and 8.7 ppg by teammates from her assists.
  • The Gamecock bench accounted for 39 of the team’s 67 points against Appalachian State, including all three double-digit scorers – Ashley Bruner, Markeshia Grant and Charenee Stephens. The trio combined to shoot 66.7 percent from the field in the game.
  • South Carolina’s 18 assists against Appalachian State tied its season high and fell just two short of the high-water mark of the Dawn Staley era. The Gamecocks handed out 20 assists against Alabama (Feb. 15, 2009) in Staley’s first season.


A South Carolina Win Would…

  • Be its 19th of the season, the most since the 2002-03 squad posted a 23-8 overall record.
  • Put the Gamecocks in the WNIT’s third round for the second time, matching the finish of the 2006-07 squad that lost to Hofstra in the third round.
  • Be its 15th home win of the season, tying the Colonial Life Arena record originally set by the 2006-07 squad, which finished the season 15-5 at home.

By the Numbers
1 Games this season in which more than one Gamecock handed out five or more assists – Appalachian State (La’Keisha Sutton 7, Ieasia Walker 5)
2 Games in which one Gamecock has led the team in points, rebounds and assists – Markeshia Grant vs. Georgia (March 4) and Ieasia Walker vs. Ole Miss (March 3)
3 Games this season in which junior forward Charenee Stephens has scored in double figures, during which the Gamecocks are 3-0 – South Carolina is 11-6 in Stephens’ career 10-point games.
3.6 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 Games this season that a Gamecock shot 1.000 from the field (minimum five attempts) – Charenee Stephens vs. Butler (6-of-6, Dec. 21), La’Keisha Sutton vs. Presbyterian (6-of-6, Dec. 28), Ashley Bruner vs. Florida (8-of-8, Jan. 9 – tied arena record) and Bruner vs. Appalachian State (6-of-6, March 16) – after the last perfect game occured in December 2006
15.6 Turnovers per game by the Gamecocks, which is the fewest in the program since the 1994-95 squad finished with 15.3 per game
16 Games in which South Carolina has scored 60-69 points, during which the Gamecocks are 12-4, including a pair of postseason victories (Ole Miss, Appalachian State
18 Assists handed out by the Gamecocks again Appalachian State, tying their season high
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
27 Games in which the Gamecocks have held their opponent below its scoring average, during which South Carolina has an 18-9 record

The Charlotte Series
South Carolina leads the series 16-5 and has won 10 of the last 11 meetings, including the last two. The teams have never met in the postseason, typically playing in November or December. The last three games in the series have been decided by an average of 4.0 points. The 49ers and Gamecocks played a home-and-home series in South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley’s first two seasons in Columbia, and the Gamecocks came out on top in both. Last season’s season-opening affair in Charlotte required overtime, but South Carolina escaped with a 70-66 victory. The most recent meeting in Columbia was a 78-76 decision for the Gamecocks on Dec. 21, 2008. South Carolina is 9-2 all-time against the 49ers in Columbia with Charlotte’s most recent win coming on Nov. 30, 2004 (78-72).

Tournament Tidbits
This is South Carolina’s fourth appearance in the Postseason Women’s NIT. The Gamecocks are 3-3 all-time in the event with their last appearance coming in 2008. The program is 3-1 in WNIT games played on its home court South Carolina has gone as far as the Round of 16 at the event, which it achieved in 2007. After a first-round bye, the Gamecocks knocked off Hartford 81-40 in the second round before falling to Hofstra 64-59.

Home Sweet Home
South Carolina has won 69.5 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 337-148 mark includes a 93-51 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 14-4 at home this season.

Awards Season
South Carolina sophomore guard Ieasia Walker earned All-SEC honors from both the league’s coaches and the Associated Press. The Amityville, N.Y., native captured a spot on the coaches’ second team and was an honorable mention selection by the AP. Walker ranked 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. She was third on the team in rebounding in league games and was second in assists. Overall this season, Walker leads the team with 12.1 points and 2.4 steals per game, which rank 13th and third, respectively in the SEC. She netted double figures 22 times this season, during which the Gamecocks went 13-9, and has four 20-point games on her resume. Walker was the team’s high scorer a team-high 13 times and paced the squad in assists eight times. With 20 points and 11 rebounds at Ole Miss, she recorded the program’s first points-rebounds double-double by a guard since Kellindra Zachery turned in 28 points and 11 boards against NC A&T on Nov. 17, 2006.

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 3.6 assists per game are the most by a Gamecock since Cristina Ciocan handed out 5.3 per game in 2003-04. Adding 10.4 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.

Help Thy Neighbor
The Gamecocks tied their season high with 18 assists against Appalachian State in the first round of the WNIT. In that outing, two players handed out five or more assists – La’Keisha Sutton seven, Ieasia Walker five – for the first time this season. In fact, it was just the second time in the Staley era that multiple Gamecocks recorded at least five in a game. The first was at Clemson on Nov. 18, 2009 when Valerie Nainima and Samone Kennedy each handed out five.

Heavenly at 70, Successful at 60
The Gamecocks are 15-4 this season when scoring at least 60 points, including a perfect 3-0 mark when reaching the 70-point plateau. South Carolina is 3-10 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 10-31 when falling short of the 60-point mark and is 18-13 when scoring between 60 and 69 points.

Front Runners
South Carolina has had little trouble playing from the front this season, posting a 16-4 record in games it has led at halftime. The team missed the mark after leading 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 34-10 after leading at halftime and 2-4 when tied at the midway point.

Three, It’s a Magic Number
As Schoolhouse Rock professed many years ago, three appears to be a magical number for the Gamecocks, who are 11-3 this season when three players score double figures. That record includes a 5-2 mark in SEC action and improves to 13-3 when expanded to include games with more than three players in double figures. On the other side, South Carolina is just 5-11 when fewer than three players reach the 10-point plateau. Regular members of the triumverate are the Gamecocks’ leading scorers – Ieasia Walker and La’Keisha Sutton – who account for one of the double-figure scorers in 15 of the 16 games with three or more 10-point contributors. In fact, both names appear on the list in eight of the 16 games. An impressive part of the stat is that five different players have completed the group for those eight outings – Marah Strickland (4), Ashley Bruner (3), Markeshia Grant (2), Charenee Stephens (1) and Valerie Nainima (1).

Quite a Quartet
After not seeing a perfect shooting game (minimum five field goal attempts) from the home team since Iva Sliskovic sank 6-of-6 from the field against South Carolina State on Dec. 23, 2006, the Colonial Life Arena crowd has seen a Gamecock achieve the mark four times this season. It is the first time in arena history that one season has generaged multiple entries in the category. Junior Charenee Stephens got things rolling with a 6-of-6 outing against Butler (Dec. 21), and La’Keisha Sutton matched the effort shot-for-shot against Presbyterian (Dec. 28). Sophomore Ashley Bruner matched the best effort in Arena history with an 8-of-8 showing against Florida (Jan. 9). Sliskovic was the first to stay perfect with that many shot attempts (vs. Kentucky on Feb. 24, 2005), and Florida’s Marshae Dotson matched that effort on Jan. 15, 2009. Bruner added a 6-of-6 game against Appalachian State (March 16), to become the first Gamecock to post multiple perfect home games in a season.

Managing March
The Gamecocks are 57-47 (.548) all-time in the month of March, including a 16-6 (.727) record at home. With most March games coming in postseason action, South Carolina is 28-30 (.483) in neutral site games in the third month of the year. Under head coach Dawn Staley, South Carolina is 2-4 in March. The Gamecocks went 0-2 in Staley’s first year at the helm (2008-09), were 0-1 last season and are 2-1 so far this March.