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Dec. 2, 2011

December 2, 2011
Aleighsa Welch

Complete Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Game Information

Date: Sunday, December 4, 2011
Time: 2 p.m.
Location: Raleigh, N.C.
Arena: Reynolds Coliseum
TV: None
Radio: WISW 1320 AM (Brad Muller and Marcy Girton);
Live Stats:
NC State Series: NCSU leads 18-11; In Raleigh: NCSU leads 8-4; In Columbia: Tied 6-6; At Neutral Site: NCSU leads 4-1

South Carolina Notables

  • South Carolina is looking for its fourth-straight win over NC State and its second in as many games at Reynolds Coliseum.
  • The Gamecocks’ bench has accounted for 53.1 percent of the team’s scoring and 62.8 percent of its rebounding so far this season.
  • Three Gamecocks turned in career-high points at Xavier, led by Markeshia Grant’s 18 points. Freshman Aleighsa Welch added 16, and junior Sancheon White netted 10 on 4-of-5 shooting.
  • Senior La’Keisha Sutton is on track to become just the 11th player in school history to amass at least 1,000 points and 300 assists in her career. The last to reach both marks was Cristina Ciocan in the 2003-04 season. Sutton needs just 23 points and 18 assists to reach both plateaus.


A South Carolina Win Would…

  • Make the Gamecocks 7-1 to start the season, the best mark since opening the 2003-04 season with an 8-1 mark.
  • Be the Gamecocks’ fourth on the road this season, just one shy of the program’s most under head coach Dawn Staley, which is five in the 2009-10 season. South Carolina has not won more than five true road games since 1990-91.
  • Be the Gamecocks’ fourth straight over NC State dating back to Dec. 14, 2009, when a buzzer beater from Demetress Adams ended a five-game skid to the Wolfpack in Staley’s first season.

By the Numbers
2 Games in which Aleighsa Welch has pulled down six offensive rebounds (Penn State, at Xavier), which are the fourth-most by a freshman in South Carolina history
4 Defensive categories in which the Gamecocks rank among the SEC’s top five – scoring defense (1st), 3-point field goal percentage defense (2nd), rebounding defense (3rd) and steals (5th)
3 Games this season in which the trio of starting guards – Markeshia Grant, La’Keisha Sutton and Ieasia Walker – has scored or assisted on more than 60 percent of the team’s points – Illinois (62.0), Alabama A&M (75.0) and Penn State (68.0)
5 Statistical categories in which Ashley Bruner ranks among the SEC’s top 30, including two in which she rates in the top 10 – rebounding (7th) and steals (10th)
15 Free throw attempts by Aleighsa Welch at Xavier, tying the South Carolina freshman record originally set by Schonna Banner vs. Cincinnati on Jan. 9, 1987
16 Steals by Ashley Bruner through seven games, two-thirds of her previous career high of 24 in 2010-11 and more than a third of her career total (36) coming into this season
18 Assists away from 300 for La’Keisha Sutton, who would become just the 14th Gamecock to hit the mark
23 Points away from 1,000 for La’Keisha Sutton, who would become the 27th Gamecock to reach that plateau and the first since Lauren Simms hit the mark in the 2006-07 season
53.1 Percent of points scored by the bench
53.6 Percent of made field goals that have been assisted (81 of 151), the highest mark of the Dawn Staley era – the previous high was last season’s 45.8 percent

NC State Series Notes
The Wolfpack lead the series 18-11 but the Gamecocks have won the last three meetings, including last season’s 77-63 victory in Columbia on Dec. 12. That outing was the most lop-sided of the three wins as the other two came by a a combined four points. The last time these two teams met in Reynolds Coliseum, where the Wolfpack holds an 8-4 advantage over the Gamecocks, was the most dramatic in recent series history. The game on Jan. 14, 2009, saw five lead changes in the final minute of play with Demetress Adams striking the final blow at the buzzer to give the Gamecocks a 56-55 win, snapping a five-game losing streak to NC State.

Road Warriors
South Carolina has a 182-230 (.442) 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 13-21 in road games. In her 11th season as a head coach, Staley has a 75-67 road record. The Gamecocks are 3-0 on the road so far this season, matching last season’s road win total. The most true road games South Carolina has won under Staley is five, which the 2009-10 team amassed. The Gamecocks have not won more than five true road games in a season since the 1990-91 squad went 6-4.

Defense Hits High Marks
When the NCAA released its first statistical rankings for this season through games of Nov. 27, the South Carolina defense proved to be among the nation’s best. The Gamecocks were fifth in the nation (first in the SEC) in scoring defense, 11th in 3-point field goal percentage defense and 20th in turnover margin. South Carolina has allowed more than 55 points just once in seven games this season – Xavier netted 56 on Nov. 30. Much of that low scoring may be courtesey of the Gamecocks’ ability to eliminate the 3-point shot as a weapon. South Carolina has allowed just one team to shoot better than 33.3 percent from behind the arc – Illinois (1-of-2, .500). For teams attempting at least five 3s, just two have shot better than 28 percent – Presbyterian (2-of-7, .333) and Xavier (4-of-12, .333). The trio of experienced guards have helped the Gamecocks on both sides of the turnover margin. The Gamecocks have forced 20 or more turnovers in five of their seven gams this season while committing 20 or more turnovers only once (vs. College of Charleston, Nov. 23).

For Starters
South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley has started the same five Gamecocks in each game this season and has always liked the idea of bringing an offensive weapon off the bench. That strategy seems to be working to full effect this season as 53.1 percent of the Gamecocks’ scoring has come from someone not in the starting five. It is the highest percentage of bench scoring in Staley’s tenure at South Carolina – in 2010-11, the bench netted 36.7 percent of the team’s points; in 2009-10, it was 27.5 percent; and in her inaugural season of 2008-09 it was 29.0 percent. The delay tactic has not slowed the Gamecocks’ production in the early going as they have been in the lead in all every game in the opening five minutes. With both junior Ashley Bruner and freshman Aleighsa Welch coming off the bench, the reserves have accounted for 62.8 percent of the team’s rebounding this season. Bruner has reeled in a team-best 8.3 boards per game, while Welch is second at 6.1. Junior guard Ieasia Walker actually leads the starting group on the boards as her 4.1 per contest is third-best on the team.

Tough to Scout
Throughout the preseason, head coach Dawn Staley talked about the versatility of her team as a key to the season’s success. While she may have been speaking more about the various ways individual players could find to score, it’s been the Gamecocks’ ability to get points from various locations that has delivered the program’s best opening record since 2003-04. In seven games, five different players have led the team in scoring – Ashley Bruner (2), Markeshia Grant (2), Tina Roy (1), Charenee Stephens (1) and Ieasia Walker (1). In all, eight different Gamecocks have scored at least 10 points in at least one game this season.