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WBB Seniors Reflect Before Final Home Game

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This season's trio of seniors has helped lift South Carolina women's basketball to new heights. The group owns two of the program's four 20-win seasons in the SEC era and contributed to the Gamecocks' return to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 for the first time since 2003. Four-year seniors Ashley Bruner and Ieasia Walker have contributed to more South Carolina victories (79) than any four-year class since the 1991-92 graduates finished with 82 wins as the Gamecocks made their SEC debut. In the last four years, the duo has helped the Gamecocks to more than one-third of the program's total SEC regular-season victories. Individually, Bruner is one of just 18 Gamecocks all-time who have collected at least 600 career rebounds. Walker is one of just 11 in South Carolina history to accumulate 1,000 career points while also handing out 200 career assists and swiping 200 career steals. Sancheon White has established herself as one of the top one-on-one defenders, routinely taking on the challenge of shutting down an opponent's top scorer to help the Gamecocks become the fourth-stingiest defense in the nation. We caught up with them this week to talk about playing their final home game at Colonial Life Arena this Sunday vs. Florida at 1:00 PM. Be sure to arrive early by 12:45 PM for the pre-game senior ceremonies and help give them a proper farewell.

BL: Fan support at home games for this team has continued to grow over the past several seasons. What does that mean to you as a player?

Ieasia: It means that we're building a tradition. I think every year since I've been here our fan based has grown and we've done better, so I think that contributes to us playing better. The fans do play a part in our home games, getting us pumped up.  I think that will also attract more talent to come here as well so, the program will keep getting better. It just helps build tradition.

Sancheon: It means a lot. It's fun to play in front of great crowds, especially our big games and the double headers with the men. 

In four years here, you have one the most successful time periods at Carolina.  What does it mean to you to leave your mark on the program and contribute to its success?

Ashley: It means a lot, especially because we got to play with great people in our four years.  Leaving this legacy behind to the girls we're playing with now, freshmen and sophomores, to see what we came from and see too how we are now, and to know that they can just get better and better over the years.

Ieasia: It feels good; it means a lot and shows that hard work pays off.  When we got here we were put through a lot, Coach Staley was really strict and would hammer us every day, but each year we got better.  So, she would lighten up and give us some leeway on certain things.  So, it shows that we're really working hard and it's starting to pay off.  I actually joke about it with the freshmen - their first year they're going to have a great record.  When I started we were below .500, so it just shows the program is getting better. The biggest thing with me is that I want to leave a great tradition, so you come back and support.  We see people that graduated a couple years come back and we have others coming back that graduated like a decade ago so it feels good to have that support. We just want to keep continuing to grow. 

What is a funny story about Coach Staley that you can share or a something about her people might not realize?

Sancheon: People who don't know her might think she looks mean or intimidating, but she's exactly the opposite. She's a big kid; she acts like us.

Ashley: :  [Laughing] probably when she always tries to grab the net. She tries to slap it but she can't get up there.  She runs full speed and tries to slap it but can never get it. ... she's kind of strong so she tries to body you and push you out of the way, and sling a shot up there.  She's violent playing around.

Ieasia: [Laughing] she'll sometimes be down here (playing basketball) screaming like a bad little kid about nothing.  We'll all be like, "Why are you screaming?" Like, when we are playing a shooting game, she'll scream every times she shoots. ... She's just like this ball of fire in this little body."

What is your favorite place on campus?

Ashley: Probably Russell House movie theater.  We used to go often, because they have really good, recent movies. 

Ieasia: I like Einstein's bagels, they're perfect. So I always try to go there before class.

Sancheon: My room...but outside of that probably the Dodie because we eat there and do homework there, all in one.

What is your favorite thing about being a student at South Carolina?

Ashley: I like the friendly atmosphere, just everyone smiling at you or saying, "hey." Also, how close classes are to each other because I know some campuses you have to drive to and from, so this is all walking distance.

Sancheon: Just being a student-athlete, that means a lot here. On campus people see you and they know who you are.

Ieasia: I like being a business major because we don't have class on Fridays [laughing].

What will you miss the most?

Ashley: I am going to miss all the people you meet being a theater major.  They're all so different and outgoing, creative personalities. ... I will miss playing with Ieasia, I have been playing with her for four years, all my teammates and coaches.  I will miss the fan base, and not just with us or football or men's basketball, it's every sport.  Every game you go to it's a nice crowd, great fans. I'm going to miss that.

Sancheon: Probably just playing college basketball. All of it.

Ieasia: I am going to miss the meal plan, having somewhere to eat and not having to pay for it. We don't cook. ...  I am going to miss playing here and will probably cry on senior night.  I will miss playing in front of the fans and their support. I am going to miss Carolina, I'm ready to graduate but I am not ready to go.  It's bittersweet.

NGWSD Video Features

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We sat down with two very important women to discuss the importance of Title IX and the opportunities the legislation has had on their lives. As you get ready for the NGWSD game Sunday at 3 PM, take a few minutes to watch the three feature interviews below with Mrs. Karen Tanner and Mrs. Patricia Pastides.

Throwback Thursday: Carolina Coliseum

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Throwback Thursday! Check out this picture of Women's Basketball vs. Tennessee back in the Carolina Coliseum! The Gamecocks will take on LSU tonight at 7:00 in a one-game move to their old home at Carolina Coliseum. Game info and preview: Let us know in the comments if you'll be joining us for the game!

Throwback Thursday - Carolina Coliseum.jpg

Have an idea for who you want to see featured on Throwback Thursday? Share it in the comments.

WBB-12 Tiffany Mitchell with fans after Clemson.jpegWomen's Basketball is off to a great start this season, going 12-1 in nonconference play, suffering just one loss to No. 1 Stanford. With two games of the SEC portion of the season under their belt the No. 18/16 Gamecocks are 1-1 with a loss to No. 9 Tennessee and a road win over Mississippi State. Freshman guard Tiffany Mitchell out of Charlotte has started all 15 games for Carolina this season and has the second-highest scoring average on the team with 11.1 points per game. Named the Gatorade Player of the Year and Miss Basketball in North Carolina last year, Mitchell's immediate impact has been an asset to the team on the court, as has her fun personality. We caught up with her after practice Wednesday to get to know her a little better. You can also watch her Gamecock Spotlight here.

BL: How's freshman year going so far? What has been the biggest adjustment from high school to college?

Tiffany: I think freshman year is going pretty well. I'm still getting adjusted to how physical the game is in college and how fast-paced it is. I get tired a lot faster than I did in high school because we put so much focus on defense, so I'm just trying to get used to having a defensive mind.

You've now had a couple SEC games. What has been the biggest difference in SEC play vs. some of the nonconference games?

SEC teams are very efficient. They know what they're good at and they execute well. It's hard trying to figure out everything they do so I'm just trying to get used to playing people who are a lot older than me and have been doing this the past couple years.

You're starting as a freshman. How have the older players been able to help you along?

They definitely help me with scouting reports, remembering plays, what people do and personnel. They also help me if I'm struggling with my shot or anything else.

Who are you closest with on the team? Who do you turn to if you have a question or a problem?

Basketball-wise probably Ieasia [Walker] since she's a point guard she has to know what everybody does and everything that's going on. So I know if I have a problem or need to know what to do on a play I know I can go to her and she'll probably know. Outside of basketball I spend a lot of time with the other Tiffany [Davis], Elem [Ibiam] and Aleighsa [Welch]. Elem is my suite-mate and right across the hall so if I ever need anything I can just go to her. She also played on my AAU team when I was younger so we already had a connection.

What has been your favorite thing about being in college at South Carolina so far? It can be something basketball-related or non-basketball.

The food and being able to eat a lot [laughing]. Just having plenty of opportunities to get food any time you want to. They feed us well and I like that.
{{Note- I warned Tiffany she would definitely miss that meal plan a few years from now after graduating - I know I do!}}

Tiffany Mitchell room picture.jpegYou were a big Dawn Staley fan growing up (picture of Tiffany's room at home, left); what was it about her that made her your favorite?

Growing up I was small too, sort of like her, and I wanted to be a point guard...I just focused in on her when she was with the [WNBA's Charlotte] Sting. I wanted to make my game after her; I'd always go to the [Sting] games then in my practices try to mimic her and what she does. She was the player I looked up to.

Has your perspective on her changed at all now that she's your coach?

It's definitely different. I can't really be like "ohhhh Dawn Staley!" [making a starstruck expression]... But I still take heed to everything she's saying. I respect everything and have full confidence that she's going to get me where I want to be. That's one reason why I came here.

How did Coach Staley being here affect your decision to come to South Carolina?

A lot of people said, "Oh, we knew you were going to South Carolina because of Dawn Staley!" and I really had no idea. Junior year I still didn't really know where I wanted to go. But then I sat back and realized it's all right here - I like the whole coaching staff, not just her, and it was close to home as well.

Does your family come to a lot of games?

My mom comes to every game! She cheers, but you're not going to hear her too much, she doesn't get loud.

What have you learned about Coach Staley as a person now that you play for her as opposed to watching her from afar?

She is really goofy. She doesn't look goofy when she's coaching or sitting on the bench, but she really is one of the goofiest people... One example- if you ask her a question and she doesn't want to answer it she'll pretend she's asleep and just [Tiffany tilts her head to the side and closes her eyes to demonstrate]. We've also been teaching her how to [dance the] Dougie for like, six years.

Obviously during the recruiting process she would have picked up on you being a big fan. Does she ever bring it up to you?

Sometimes I think she forgets. It is a little awkward. Now that I think about it, it's a little creepy that I used to follow her online and look up her stats all the time. Now that she's my coach if she knew what I did when I was younger, she'd be like, "what??" [laughing]

I heard you almost always have a blanket with you and now the team even calls you Blanket as a nickname?

I think it started in the Virgin Islands. It was really hot but I still had my blanket wrapped around me. I take it on all road trips. I don't really sleep under covers; I just sleep on top with the blanket. It's not always the same blanket. One is a SpongeBob blanket - he's my favorite cartoon character - I've had that blanket since about 8th grade. Another one I got for graduation is really soft so I started using that one. I left that one in Louisiana and I was really sad but we were able to call the hotel and they sent it back. My mom bought me another one for the dorm that's really thick and warm.

What are some of the fun things you like to do outside of basketball?

I like going to the mall a lot. If I'm not in the gym, sleeping, or eating, I'm probably in the mall. I love shopping, I love shoes, I just like fashion and getting dressed. We don't always have many opportunities to look nice. When I'm going to class from practice I don't always have time, but in high school we had a dress code and had to look nice so I got used to doing it.

Do you have any favorite trends or clothing items right now?

For trends right now I like big sweaters with leggings and boots or scarves. That's what I like for this type of weather.

More and more fans have been coming out to the games. What does the fan support at South Carolina mean to you and the team?

I think it's great. It gives us moral support and we feel good that even if we mess up sometimes our fans are still there cheering. It's a lot different than when we're on the road and everyone is against you. It's more warming to come home where everyone is cheering for you.

Come cheer on Tiffany and her Gamecock teammates! Next game is against Vanderbilt on Thursday at 7:00 PM. Game notes and preview here and check out the full schedule here.

Throwback Thursday: Karen Middleton

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We have an especially timely Throwback Thursday feature this week! Gamecock great Karen Middleton is now the head women's basketball coach at Western Carolina and she'll be facing her alma mater this week as the Gamecocks take on the Catamounts on the court this Saturday at 7:00 PM! Come check out the game at Colonial Life Arena!

From Middleton's WCU bio:
"Karen was a four-year letterwinner at Carolina from 1988-1991. She was a team captain, team MVP and a two-time All-Metro Conference selection during her career and finished as the fifth-leading scorer in school history with 1,714 points. Middleton is in the books as the best shooter in school history as she still holds school records for career 3FG made (317), career 3FG percentage (44.5), season 3FG made (115) and season 3FG percentage (46.9). Her 115 threes made in 1991 ranks as the sixth-most in NCAA history."

Throwback Thursday - Karen Middleton - WCU.jpg

Tune in every Thursday for our "Throwback Thursday" posts featuring past Gamecock greats!

Walker Changes Number to Honor Teammate

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WBB-12 Ieasia Walker with fans after Clemson.jpegFans may have noticed senior guard Ieasia Walker wearing a different number during Sunday's win over Clemson. Formerly No. 3 on the roster, Ieasia will wear No. 2 for the rest of the season to honor teammate Shelbretta Ball, who was slated to wear that number before being declared medically ineligible prior to last season.

The Gamecocks also continue to wear the patch added to their uniforms last season to honor Shelbretta. The team wanted Brett and everyone watching to know that she will always be an integral part of them and whatever they achieve this season.

Basketball Season Tickets Surpass Last Year's Totals

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Thumbnail image for Basketball season tickets promotion.JPG

As basketball season approaches (two exhibition games this week and our #HoopsTakeover event!), season ticket sales have progressed steadily during the offseason. After an impressive run to the Sweet Sixteen by Dawn Staley's women's squad and the hiring of Frank Martin to lead the men's team, fans are looking forward to seeing what's in store at Colonial Life Arena this season. Both coaches are excited about getting the season started and seeing the returning players mesh with newcomers. (Check out a recap of their comments at last week's SEC Media Day here.)

With well over 5,900 season tickets sold so far, the men's team has already surpassed last year's total of 5,864 tickets. The women's team has also surpassed last year's number with almost 2,000 season tickets sold for 2012-13. Fans who have already purchased their season tickets should be receiving them next week.

Men's Basketball won their opening exhibition game Tuesday night vs. Kentucky Wesleyan and Women's Basketball will take on Anderson in an exhibition game this Sunday, November 4th, at 3 PM. Admission is free for exhibition games and seating is general admission.

Both teams will participate in our one-of-a-kind #HoopsTakeover event this Friday, November 2nd, featuring live interviews throughout the day streamed on, broadcast on 107.5 The Game in Columbia, and distributed via all South Carolina social media channels. The event will conclude with My Carolina's Basketball Preview Party for alumni association and Gamecock Club members exclusively.

To purchase season tickets online, go to the Tickets homepage.

This Week's Home Events: #HoopsTakeover Time

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Basketball season tickets promotion.JPGBasketball gets going this week with two exhibition games and our first-ever "Hoops Takeover" event (follow along with the #HoopsTakeover hashtag on Twitter). The one-of-a-kind event, which will run from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. ET, will include live interviews throughout the day streamed on, broadcast on 107.5 The Game in Columbia, and distributed via all South Carolina social media channels. The event will conclude with My Carolina's Basketball Preview Party.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Men's Basketball vs. Kentucky Wesleyan (Exhibition) - 7 PM
- First opportunity to watch the new 2012-13 squad
- Free admission
- General admission seating in the lower bowl
- Free team posters available

Friday, November 2, 2012

#HoopsTakeover  - 9 AM - 7 PM
- Tune in on 107.5 The Game,, and all our social media channels for this one-of-a-kind event!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Women's Basketball vs. Anderson (Exhibition) - 3 PM
- First opportunity to watch this year's team!
- Free admission
- General admission seating in the lower bowl
- Free team posters available

Gamecocks on the road...
Women's Golf at Kiawah Classic - Monday - Tuesday
Women's Soccer at SEC Tournament - Monday vs. Arkansas, if they win they advance to play Texas A&M at 1 PM on Wednesday
Equestrian at Georgia - Friday, 2 PM
Volleyball at Missouri - Friday, 7:30 PM
Volleyball at Kentucky - Sunday, 1:30 PM
Swimming & Diving at Virginia - Saturday, 11 AM
Men's Soccer at Kentucky - Sunday, 1 PM
Women's Tennis - UNM Fall Invitational - Friday - Sunday
Men's Tennis - Winthrop Invitational - Friday - Sunday

Gamecock Basketball head coaches Frank Martin and Dawn Staley took time out this morning to head to Birmingham, Alabama, for the annual SEC Media Day. The coaches rotate through a whirlwind of stations at the Wynfrey Hotel to meet with various print, internet, radio, and television media outlets before the start of the season.

One of Coach Staley's areas of emphasis was that last year's seniors who helped lead the squad to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament left a "legacy of leadership". She expects this year's team to hit the ground running with the leadership of seniors Ieasia Walker and Ashley Bruner, while hoping newcomers will get in the fold as well. Staley shared a lot of praise for freshman guard Tiffany Mitchell out of Charlotte especially and her play so far in preseason practice.

"Practice is going well considering we have just as many newcomers as we do returners. Our team is really working hard...we don't have to coach effort,"  Staley told the SEC Digital Network. "The players really understand how we want to play, the make-up of our team."

First-year coach Frank Martin fielded many questions about getting to know his new team, how Bruce Ellington will fit in after the football season, and his thoughts on the toughness of the SEC. Martin noted that returning junior guard Eric Smith and senior transfer LaShay Page have stood out so far in the pre-season and how much he has enjoyed getting to see the passion of the South Carolina fan base at other sports including baseball, football, and volleyball. Right now he is focused on building the foundation for this team to hope to compete for championships.

"The players have been great. I couldn't ask for them to be more excited, more enthusiastic, to compete as hard as they compete," Martin told the SEC Digital Network. "They've been phenomenal."

Martin reiterated to the media that Ellington will be welcomed to the team with open arms once the football season is over but that in the meantime the team will work and prepare without him. While he is still very much in contact with his basketball teammates and the new staff, dropping by the offices regularly, Ellington will not join the team until January (not in the December interim before any potential bowl game). Martin emphasized how difficult it is to play two sports on this level and how much respect he has for Ellington for being successful and really good at both sports.

The addition of Missouri and Texas A&M to the league was a hot topic today as media sought coaches' opinions on how tough the SEC would be this season. Martin noted that Missouri and Texas A&M have had consistently strong teams appearing regularly in the NCAA Tournament and that their addition makes an already competitive league including powers Kentucky and Florida even tougher.

"If this league doesn't get seven to eight teams in the NCAA Tournament this year I'll be extremely surprised," said Martin.

Check out behind-the-scenes photos of the two coaches' trip to SEC Media Day:

Video of Coach Martin's comments to the SEC Digital Network

Video of Coach Staley's comments to the SEC Digital Network

Check out @GamecockMBB, @GamecockWBB, and @SpursUpBlog on Twitter and the #SECMD12 hashtag for more tweets and photos from the action at SEC Media Day!

Season tickets are available now for both men's and women's basketball! Purchase online here

Five Gamecocks Headed to 2012 London Olympics

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Lashinda Demus Daegu.jpegFive Gamecocks are headed to London to compete in the 2012 Olympics. Opening Ceremonies for the games are this Friday.

Stay tuned to throughout the Olympics for updates on the Gamecocks in competition. You can follow all the Olympians from the SEC with the #SECOlympics12 hashtag on Twitter.

Track & Field:

Lashinda Demus (USA) - 400m Hurdles  *2011 World Champion
Jason Richardson (USA) - 110m Hurdles *2011 World Champion
Natasha Hastings (USA) - Relay Pool

Women's Basketball:

Iva Sliskovic (Croatia)
Ilona Burgrova (Czech Republic)  
South Carolina Women's Basketball Head Coach Dawn Staley is the latest Gamecock to show up on ABC Columbia's "Midlands 10 Most Fascinating People" series. The feature aired on last night's news at 6 and 11 p.m. She talks about growing up in Philly and how she got into basketball, what it felt like to carry the American flag at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2004 Olympics, and more.

ABC Columbia also shared some extra bonus footage on their website of Coach Staley giving Alicia Barnes some basketball tips:

Check out other South Carolina coaches who made the list:

ABC Columbia's "10 Most Fascinating...": Steve Spurrier

ABC Columbia's "10 Most Fascinating...": Ray Tanner

WBB-11 Markeshia Grant vs. Tennessee.jpeg"Markeshia Grant hits the three!"

Gamecock fans were thrilled to hear those words several times this season as senior point guard Markeshia Grant's three-point shooting prowess helped lead the team to victory on multiple occasions. One of the biggest nights for her clutch shooting was the victory over Tennessee in Knoxville, in which Grant hit seven three-pointers en route to a career-high 27 points.

Her shooting put her on the radar for Intersport as they looked for participants in their annual State Farm College Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships leading up to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament in New Orleans. Intersport approached Assistant Media Relations Director Diana Koval with women's basketball about Grant participating. Koval, Grant and head coach Dawn Staley all thought it was a great idea and Grant got the process rolling to be the first South Carolina player to ever participate in the event.

Grant flew to New Orleans on Wednesday, March 28, to get settled in and meet the other participants. The group had some time to walk around and explore New Orleans before heading to the gym for media interviews and pictures.

Markeshia Grant 3-point.jpg"There was an instant connection with the other girls that were competing, in particular Becky Burke from Louisville and Brittany Rayburn from Purdue (pictured left with Grant making funny faces) although we had played them like a week or so before that," said Grant. "It was just interesting to get to know everyone - know how their coaches work, practices, know how their team works.  It was like a sisterhood."

On Thursday, with the group not scheduled to leave for the gym until around 4:30 p.m. CT, Grant spent most of the day in her hotel room catching up on school work and emailing professors. While Grant didn't perform as well as she had hoped in the competition later that night, she admitted that the almost three hour gap between when they arrived and practiced and the start of the competition gave her a little too much time to think about it and get nervous.

Even just being a participant gave her a great opportunity to represent the Gamecocks on national TV on ESPN. She carefully chose her attire for the event, deciding to wear her Garnet uniform because the team didn't wear it much this season on the road and she wanted to stand out with something different. She also wore her "I Wear Garnet on Gameday" t-shirt as her warm-up shirt to make sure everyone knew she was a Gamecock.

All the 3-point competition participants stuck around for the exciting slam dunk competition then made their way to a Final Four Kick-Off Party at the House of Blues. Grant shared that it was exciting to see a lot of big names she doesn't normally get to see in person like coaches from other schools and TV commentators. She hopes to keep in contact with the friends she made, with most of the players having connected with each other on Facebook and Twitter and exchanging cell numbers.

"It was a great opportunity," Grant said happily. "I really enjoyed myself."

Catch up on the day's buzz about the Gamecocks! In today's edition: Women's Basketball got a great send-off from fans today as they head to Fresno to play Saturday night at 11:30 p.m. against Stanford, the Gamecocks and Gators face off on the baseball diamond, Softball prepares to host LSU for the weekend, both tennis teams in action, the SEC releases conference schedules for next year, and more!


AMJ_8837.jpgWomen's Basketball. Gamecocks Bound for Sweet 16 Game vs. Stanford

Baseball. Gamecocks & Gators Meet On Diamond Tonight

Baseball. SEC Releases 2013 Conference Baseball Slate

Softball. South Carolina Welcomes LSU to Beckham Field for Weekend Set

Softball. Softball Announces SEC Slate for 2013

Track & Field. Weems Baskin Invite Schedule

Women's Tennis. South Carolina Takes on Ole Miss on Friday, MSU on Sunday

Women's Tennis. SEC Releases 2013 Conference Women's Tennis Schedule

Men's Tennis. Gamecocks Take on Top-15 Foes This Weekend

Men's Tennis. SEC Releases 2013 Conference Men's Tennis Slate

Volleyball. Gamecock Spring Bash Set for Saturday

General News. Launches Spring Update For Mobile Applications


FB-11 Byron Jerideau vs. Florida.jpegThe Gamecocks continue spring practice tomorrow (Friday) at 4:15 p.m. followed by a scrimmage on Saturday morning at 10 a.m.

Grateful Gamecock: Jerideau working way back into USC's starting lineup (The Post & Courier)

Gamecock FanFest Returns to Garnet & Black Game
*Join us at the Garnet & Black Spring Game on April 14!


Dawn Staley first pitch 2012.jpegVideo: Dawn Staley Throws Out First Pitch (GamecocksOnline Official  YouTube)

Women's Basketball: Off WLTX Goes to Fresno to Cover the Gamecocks (

Women's Basketball: 'It's a proud time to be a Gamecock' (The State)

Baseball: Pankake enduring growing pains for Gamecocks (Anderson Independent Mail)


Jamon Meredith.jpgFootball: Former Gamecock Jamon Meredith Signs With Tampa Bay (WCSC)

Track & Field: Lashinda Demus clears obstacles on and off the track (Los Angeles Times) **Lashinda has her sights set on the London 2012 Olympics. Thank you to reader Deni Pulte who emailed us about this story!


Dawn Staley has been nominated for induction into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame both as an individual and as a member of the 1996 Women's Basketball gold medal team. The '96 team also included Gamecock assistant coach Nikki McCray. Fan votes will count toward the final voting tallies. Fans can vote once per day through April 9, 2012. Let's help get Coach Staley this much-deserved honor!

National writer Kendall Rogers in town to cover baseball this weekend as the back-to-back national champs host No. 1-ranked Florida.

Follow @GamecocksOnline and @SpursUpBlog on Twitter!


Vote Daily for Staley, Team USA in Olympic Hall of Fame

This Week's Home Events: Baseball Hosts #1 Florida

Cocky's Junior Sportscaster Winners on ABC Columbia

Aleighsa Welch's Ascent Helped by Confidence, Maturity

Tips & Features for the New Gamecock Club Playbook

Tips and Features on the New


Thank you to all the fans who came out to today's send-off as women's basketball left Columbia to head to Fresno for their Sweet Sixteen match-up with Stanford.


If the women's basketball team upsets Stanford on Saturday, it would be head coach Dawn Staley's first win over her former USA Basketball head coach Tara VanDerveer, who coached both Staley and assistant coach Nikki McCray in the Olympics.

A win would also give the Gamecocks 26 victories on the season, the most for the program since the 1979-80 squad won a school-record 30 games en route to the AIAW Final Four.


Everyone knows we're a sucker for Gamecock babies and kids. Today's photo is from Chelsea of her six-month-old Gamecock fan, Isaiah, sporting his new hat and polo!

Chelsea Nicole.jpg

We've got a lot of great submissions so keep them coming! Feel free to send in your photos (any sport/season, either of you or taken by you!) with your name to! A lot of the best photos include some Gamecock gear and 'showing your spurs'! We'd love to share with the rest of Gamecock Nation!

Previous fan photos may be seen here:
Fan Photo of the Day series - 2012
Fan Photo of the Day series - 2011

As we've mentioned a few times here on Spurs Up, women's basketball head coach Dawn Staley has been nominated for induction to the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame both as an individual and as part of the 1996 Team USA squad that won the gold medal. The 1996 team also included the Gamecocks' assistant coach, Nikki McCray.

The public vote will be part of the consideration for who is a part of the Hall of Fame class. Fans are allowed to vote once per day, per category (Staley is nominated as an individual; Staley, McCray and the 1996 squad are in the Team category) through April 9, 2012

Bookmark this link for the Hall of Fame voting page and return daily to submit your vote!

Vote for Dawn Staley in the Individual category (nominees are listed in alphabetical order by last name), then for the 1996 U.S. Women's Basketball Team in the Team category.

Led by head coach Tara VanDerveer (Stanford's head coach, the Gamecocks' opponent this Saturday in the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen!), the 1996 gold medal squad roster reads as a "who's who" list of women's basketball: Jennifer Azzi, Ruthie Bolton, Teresa Edwards, Venus Lacey, Lisa Leslie, Rebecca Lobo, Katrina McClain, Nikki McCray, Carla McGhee, Dawn Staley, Katy Steding and Sheryl Swoopes. The team compiled a remarkable 52-0 record over a 10-month training period and traveled to seven countries, logging more than 100,000 miles. The team dominated its competition and claimed the Olympic gold medal in Atlanta, rolling to an undefeated 8-0 Olympic record. The USA won by at least 15 points each game.

Both Staley and McCray were selected for induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in the Class of 2012, and Staley was also part of the Class of 2011 for the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame. Staley was named to the WNBA's Top 15 in 2011 and was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.

Staley is a three-time Olympic gold medalist (1996, 2000, 2004) while also helping the 2008 team to a gold medal as an assistant coach. She was selected by her fellow Olympians from all sports to carry the U.S. flag in the 2004 Opening Ceremonies. In her U.S. Olympic women's basketball team career, during which she led her three teams to a perfect 24-0 record, Staley is second in career assists, third in games played, seventh in free throw percentage and eighth in steals. McCray helped the U.S. to Olympic gold medals in 1996 and 2000.

Get to voting and set reminders to do it daily through April 9 to help honor Staley, McCray and the 1996 team for their accomplishments. 

Spurs Up Daily Round-Up: 3/20 How Sweet It Is!

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Catch up on the day's buzz about the Gamecocks! In today's edition: Women's Basketball advances to the Sweet Sixteen, baseball takes on Furman at Fluor Field, football spring practice continues, and more!



Women's Basketball. Ballin' With Brett - Gamecocks Advance to Sweet 16

Women's Basketball. Gamecocks Defeat Purdue, 72-61, to Advance to Sweet Sixteen

Baseball. Baseball To Face Furman At Fluor Field On Tuesday

Softball. Coach Smith Press Conference

General News. Gamecock Productions Collects Seven International Awards


The Gamecocks are holding practice this afternoon at the Proving Grounds practice fields on Bluff Rd. Practice recap will be available this evening with post-practice video comments on

More coverage:

Shaw settling in nicely as Gamecocks' No. 1 quarterback (Anderson Independent Mail)


Women's Basketball: USC-Purdue Hoops Extra (

Women's Basketball: Too Sweet! (

Women's Basketball: Defense propels USC women past Purdue (Associated Press)

Baseball: USC begins busy stretch tonight (


Dawn Staley has been nominated for induction into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame both as an individual and as a member of the 1996 Women's Basketball gold medal team. The '96 team also included Gamecock assistant coach Nikki McCray. Fan votes will count toward the final voting tallies. Fans can vote once per day through April 9, 2012. Let's help get Coach Staley this much-deserved honor!


Baseball: Mariners' Justin Smoak says key to hitting homers is not trying to hit homers (The Seattle Times)

Football: Melvin Ingram's YouTube highlights have over 41,600 views as NFL fans across the country want to learn more about the Gamecock projected to be one of the top picks in the NFL Draft.


Hearing from several Golden State Gamecocks who may try to make it to Fresno to cheer on the women's basketball team on Saturday - if you're one of them send me an email with your info and story to!

Follow @GamecocksOnline and @SpursUpBlog on Twitter!


Dawn Staley to Throw Out First Pitch for Baseball vs. Wofford

This Week's Home Events: Baseball Hosts #1 Florida

Cocky's Junior Sportscaster Winners on ABC Columbia

Aleighsa Welch's Ascent Helped by Confidence, Maturity

Tips & Features for the New Gamecock Club Playbook

Tips and Features on the New


Exclusive locker room celebration video and post-game comments from head coach Dawn Staley (her comments start around the 0:55 mark)


Last night's women's hoops win was the Gamecocks' sixth over a ranked team this season, the most since the 2001-02 squad upended seven en route to an NCAA Elite Eight berth.

This will be South Carolina's third appearance in the Sweet Sixteen in program history. It is the first of her career for head coach Dawn Staley.


Amanda Mitchell of Evans, Georgia, sent in today's photo of her son with Michael Roth, along with a thank you to the players and coaches who are always great with the fans.

"This is one of our favorite Carolina photos.  This is a picture of our son, Bryan Mitchell, with Michael Roth after he pitched in Carolina's 3-2 win over Clemson at the Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park in Charleston on March 2nd.  Bryan was so excited to meet him after the game (as you can see by that huge smile on his face).  Michael made his night, when he took a few minutes to autograph his baseball and take a quick photo.  The baseball players and coaches are always great with their fans, and we really appreciate it!"

Amanda Mitchell.JPG

We've got a lot of great submissions so keep them coming! Feel free to send in your photos (any sport/season, either of you or taken by you!) with your name to! A lot of the best photos include some Gamecock gear and 'showing your spurs'! We'd love to share with the rest of Gamecock Nation!

Previous fan photos may be seen here:
Fan Photo of the Day series - 2012
Fan Photo of the Day series - 2011

South Carolina Women's Basketball head coach Dawn Staley will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Carolina Stadium on Wednesday, March 21.

South Carolina Baseball hosts Wofford at 7 p.m. so be sure to be in your seats early to give Coach Staley a big round of applause as she prepares to take her squad out to Fresno, California, for a Sweet Sixteen match-up against No. 1 seed Stanford on Saturday, March 24. It is just the third Sweet Sixteen appearance in program history and the first of her career for Staley.

Dawn Staley celeb starter.jpeg

Coach Staley has plenty of experience with opening Carolina athletic events - she did a great job as one of our special spirit captains to lead off the GAME-COCKS cheer at Williams-Brice Stadium last fall.

No. 5 seed South Carolina Women's Basketball takes on No. 4 Purdue tonight at 7:20 p.m. ET in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. They'll be playing on the Boilermakers' home court, but we think the Gamecocks are up to the challenge as the winner will move on to the Sweet Sixteen. Click here to check out the full game preview and notes. The Gamecocks

You can check out the full bracket and keep up to date on the latest news on our NCAA Tournament Central page.

Coverage options for South Carolina vs. Purdue:

TV:  ESPN2 and

The game will air in its entirety on ESPN2 in its "home market", the state of South Carolina and portions of Indiana and that region (the blue areas on the map below). The rest of the country (black areas in the map below) will be part of ESPN2's national telecast, which will shift among several games to show the most compelling action. So if you're not in the state of SC, don't be alarmed if you don't see our game on ESPN2 right away. What we discovered during Saturday's game is that even within the state of South Carolina, some satellite providers had the national telecast feed, so please check with your satellite service provider on whether you will have the game on ESPN2 or perhaps on another alternate channel. We have heard from reps that our game should be available in full on channel 733 for DirecTV subscribers.

WBB-11 TV coverage map 3-19.JPG
This split coverage means the online option will be even more important for those Gamecock fans outside of South Carolina who want to watch the whole game.

ESPN3 availability is dependent upon your internet service provider. For example, if you get your internet service from Time Warner Cable, you have access to ESPN3. You can also watch the ESPN3 broadcast right on our Facebook page on the ESPN3 tab

Radio: 1320 AM, online at, 107.5 FM*

Tonight's game will air on 1320 AM or you can listen online for free with All-Access.

*107.5 The Game will join the game in progress after Carolina Calls with Steve Spurrier airs from 7-8 p.m.

Other options

You can also follow along with the action with GameTracker live stats online or with @GamecockWBB on Twitter. 

Need to go mobile? Download our free official mobile app to stay updated on all your Gamecocks news.

Go Gamecocks!  

South Carolina Women's Basketball will make their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2003 starting tomorrow at 11:05 a.m. ET. The No. 5 seed Gamecocks are taking on No. 12 seed Eastern Michigan in West Lafayette, Ind. Check out the game preview here with broadcast info and game notes.

You can check out the full bracket and keep up to date on the latest news on our NCAA Tournament Central page.

Coverage options for South Carolina vs. Eastern Michigan:

TV:  ESPN2 and

The game will air in its entirety on ESPN2 in its "home market", the state of South Carolina and portions of Michigan (the red areas on the map below). The rest of the country (black areas in the map below) will be part of ESPN2's national telecast, which will shift among several games to show the most compelling action. So if you're not in the state of SC, don't be alarmed if you don't see our game on ESPN2 right away.
WBB-11 ESPN Coverage maps NCAA Tourney first round.jpg

Click here to see coverage maps for the rest of the day's NCAA Tournament games.

This split coverage means the online option will be even more important for those Gamecock fans outside of South Carolina who want to watch the whole game.

Click here for a direct link to the ESPN3 broadcast. ESPN3 availability is dependent upon your internet service provider. For example, if you get your internet service from Time Warner Cable, you have access to ESPN3. You can also watch the ESPN3 broadcast right on our Facebook page on the ESPN3 tab

Radio: 107.5 FM, 1320 AM, online at

Many thanks to IMG and the folks at Cumulus Media who have worked out a special opportunity to have additional radio coverage for tomorrow's game. In addition to our normal station, 1320 AM, the game will also air on 107.5 FM The Game. As always, you can also listen online for free with All-Access.

You can also follow along with the action with GameTracker live stats online or with @GamecockWBB on Twitter.

Go Gamecocks! 

For South Carolina Women's Basketball, a single player leads the team in both rebounding and field goal percentage (also first in the SEC) and is third on the team in overall scoring. That might not sound all that surprising... until you realize that player is a freshman.  In her first season, as the Gamecocks prepare for their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2003, freshman Aleighsa Welch's rapid ascent has been remarkable.  

Welch was one of the top recruits in the state last year after leading Goose Creek High School to their first state championship in program history her junior year and being named South Carolina Miss Basketball and the 4A Player of the Year after her senior season. Everyone - the Gamecocks' coaching staff, her family and Aleighsa herself - knew she could contribute this season, but no one expected the level of impact she would have or for it to happen so quickly. Though Welch (a.k.a. "Muffin", but we'll get to that later) had already had several strong games in non-conference play, anyone who may have still been sleeping on the 6-0 forward was awakened on Thursday, January 5th. Welch came off the bench to score a career and team-high 19 points in a 65-55 upset win over then-#24/21 Vanderbilt.

WBB-11 Aleighsa Welch vs. Vandy.jpeg

Welch celebrates after the win over Vanderbilt

"I didn't think she would come in and have this immediate effect in long stretches," head coach Dawn Staley said after that game. "I didn't know how smart of a player she was. I knew she was athletic. I knew she could get to the basket. I knew she could rebound in traffic. But she has an ability to just be a sponge. Anything that we give her she's able to pick it up and she plays it as if it's second nature to her. She's very coachable and I'm very happy for her. I'm very happy she chose the University of South Carolina for sure [smiling]."

WBB-11 Aleighsa Welch vs. Alabama A&M.jpegWelch would go on to earn SEC Freshman of the Week honors after following up the Vandy outing with a 10 point, 7 rebound performance on the road against Florida, a 49-44 Carolina victory. By the end of the season Welch had solidified her place among the league's top newcomers with a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team, named by the league's coaches. She has a bubbly personality fitting of an 18-year-old, yet carries herself with a maturity and intelligence well beyond her years. With maturing came confidence, a feeling Welch believes is the biggest factor in her success this season. She reached a point where everything clicked.

"When I came in, I wasn't as confident as I am now," Welch said. "As we went along with more practices and more games, I learned my role. I learned what [the coaches] wanted me to do; I learned what they expected of me. So now that I know what they need from me, it's easier for me to do what they need me to do."

Her growing confidence was helped along by a smooth transition into being a college student and a student-athlete, something that can be tough on freshmen. Welch said she had to learn how to balance her schedule with the increased demands of being a college student-athlete vs. playing sports in high school. Welch's favorite class so far at Carolina was her University 101 class, specifically for that reason. The University 101 course is designed to help new students adjust to life on campus and start out successfully.

"I loved my professor, Ms. Moffitt; she made that class fun for me," said Welch. "That was a class that I really got to learn about campus and about the history of it and really just meet new people."

Welch also has the built-in guidance of her basketball teammates, a tight-knit group whose team chemistry was pointed to as part of their success before the season even began. She's also close with her roommate, fellow freshman Elem Ibiam (6-3, forward, Fayetteville, Ga.), who she played against in AAU ball. Their families have grown close and the duo took their official visit together and committed around the same time as well.

Welch's choice to stay close to home for college delighted her mother, Sharell Welch, who maintains a very close relationship with her "Muffin" and is able to make the short drive from the Lowcountry to come to games.

"It's a dream come true," Mrs. Welch said. "Of course she had options galore farther away, but I said with her being home she can have the family support and have the fan support. I think it opens the path for more South Carolina athletes to stay at home and support our state. I'm in heaven with the fact that she's here, it made a big difference for us."

Mrs. Welch was in the U.S. military for 22 years. Aleighsa Welch was actually born in Florida and even lived in Spain as a young child before the family moved to Goose Greek where her mother later retired from the military and now works as a consultant at the naval brig in Charleston. Understanding bosses help keep her work schedule flexible enough to come to Columbia for almost every home game - you can usually spot her cheering loudly in her custom #24 Garnet jersey a few rows behind the bench.
("She's very vocal...I block her out during games..I know she's back there and she's being a mom," said Welch, laughing.) Welch even chose the #24 because it is her mom's favorite number and the one her mom wore when she played softball growing up.


"I won't have it any other way," said Mrs. Welch. "When I come I always try and see all of the girls and I always bring cookies for them, because this is my family and this is her family. When I took her as being a part of this program, I took all of them as being a part of our family."

Mrs. Welch has seen the same growth and maturation in her daughter and their relationship has grown even closer in the months since Aleighsa has been at South Carolina. 

"I've seen a transition in maturity as a person and a maturity as a player, but more so the maturity of a person," said Mrs. Welch. "She's always my baby at heart, but there's a difference now. I see more of that independence and more of that young woman come out now and I love it.

Welch's sentiments were similar, saying, "I didn't understand what she did for me and why she did it for me when I was in high school and finally when I did get here and I was away from her, it made me realize how much my relationship with her meant to me. Having her be at every home game and make some trips to away games and just getting a random text from her every now and then, it means a lot...Just last night she sent me a text and it was just 'I love you'. It's stuff like that that shows she's always going to be here, she supports me 110 percent. Our relationship has definitely gotten a lot better because I'm more mature now."

No matter how much she may grow up and mature though, Welch can give up on shedding her less-than-tough "Muffin" nickname that even some of her coaches and teammates have picked up on. While Welch denied knowing the origin of her nickname, we knew mom would tell without hesitation:

"It's from the day I brought her home, I gave her that name because she was an 8 lb., 4 oz. baby, she was so chunky and I just thought about a chocolate chip muffin and have called her that ever since," Mrs. Welch explained, laughing.

"It fits her. She said, 'I'm 18 now and I'm in college!' I said, 'Too bad, you're Muffin for life.'"

Tune in along with Sharell Welch and all of Gamecock Country to watch Aleighsa and the Gamecocks take on Eastern Michigan in the first round of the NCAA Tournament this Saturday at 11:05 a.m. airing live on ESPN2. 

Hear more from Aleighsa in her Gamecock Spotlight:

Catch up on the day's buzz about the Gamecocks! In today's edition: fan voting will help get Coach Staley into the Olympic Hall of Fame, Women's Basketball will host a NCAA Selection Show watch party on Monday, some tips and tricks for the new layout, Courtney Forcucci breaks another school record, Baseball and Softball in action today, Men's Basketball in New Orleans for the SEC Tourney and more.    

Dawn Staley Olympic gold.jpegVOTE FOR DAWN STALEY

Dawn Staley has been nominated for induction into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame both as an individual and as a member of the 1996 Women's Basketball gold medal team. The '96 team also included Gamecock assistant coach Nikki McCray. Fan votes will count toward the final voting tallies. Fans can vote once per day through April 9, 2012. Let's help get Coach Staley this much-deserved honor!


Baseball: Seddon gets his chance tonight ( *Freshman Joel Seddon set to make his first career start as a Gamecock on the mound tonight.*

Men's Basketball: Outside distractions not an issue (

Women's Basketball: Women's hoops team hosts Selection Show party (


Men's Soccer: Brettschneider Revved Up For 2012 (New England Soccer Today)  **Gamecock Blake Brettschneider signed with the NE Revolution in MLS yesterday.


Women's Basketball. Staley and 1996 Team Nominated for U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame

Women's Basketball. Gamecocks to Gather in McGuire Club for NCAA Selection Show

Baseball. South Carolina Hosts UNC Asheville On Wednesday

Softball. Gamecocks Fall on Walk-off Homer in Game One at Coastal 2-1

Women's Tennis. Gamecock Spotlight: Anya Morgina

Men's Basketball. Gamecocks Set To Face Alabama In SEC Tournament First Round

Swimming & Diving. Forcucci Claims Second with School Record on 3-Meter at NCAA Zone B Meet

Men's Golf. Gamecocks Claim Third at Palmetto Intercollegiate


Sounds like a good solution to us!

Follow @GamecocksOnline and @SpursUpBlog on Twitter!


Tips and Features on the New

Brettschneider Signs with New England Revolution (MLS)

"Inside The Chart" with Andy Demetra - March 7, 2012

Gamecock Tennis Player Earns Acceptance to International Business Program

Scoreboard: South Carolina Leads Clemson in 2011-12

This Week's Home Events: Softball SEC Opener

SC Students Meet Warren Buffett, Present Gamecock Baseball Jersey


Go behind the scenes at the women's SEC Tournament in Part 1 of this special edition of "Ballin' With Brett":


Dawn Staley is a three-time Olympic gold medalist (1996, 2000, 2004) while also helping the 2008 team to a gold medal as an assistant coach. She was selected by her fellow Olympians from all sports to carry the U.S. flag in the 2004 Opening Ceremonies. In her U.S. Olympic women's basketball team career, during which she led her three teams to a perfect 24-0 record, Staley is second in career assists, third in games played, seventh in free throw percentage and eighth in steals.

Nikki McCray helped the U.S. to Olympic gold medals in 1996 and 2000. As part of the first and only resident national team program in USA Basketball history, the 1996 team amassed a 52-0 record during a 10-month training period and added an 8-0 slate en route to the Olympic gold medal in Atlanta, Ga. The team's popularity, which saw it draw an average of 25,320 fans during the Olympics, is credited for helping launch two women's professional basketball leagues in America.


Kella Walker sent in today's sweet Fan Photo of the Day of her sister, Kristen Stephenson, with her son, Walker, on the beach sporting his SC hat.

Kella Walker.jpg

We've got a lot of great submissions so keep them coming! Feel free to send in your photos (any sport/season, either of you or taken by you!) with your name to! A lot of the best photos include some Gamecock gear and 'showing your spurs'! We'd love to share with the rest of Gamecock Nation!

Previous fan photos may be seen here:
Fan Photo of the Day series - 2012
Fan Photo of the Day series - 2011

Scoreboard: South Carolina Leads Clemson in 2011-12

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So far in the 2011-12 school year, South Carolina holds a 9-3 record vs. Clemson, including taking wins in each of the most visible sports: Football, Men's Basketball, Women's Basketball and Baseball.

BSB-12 Adam Matthews vs. Clemson.jpeg
Senior right fielder and series MVP Adam Matthews .417 (5-for-12) in the three games including a three-run homer in Saturday's victory.

The most recent wins against our rival came this weekend as the back-to-back National Champion baseball team won the first two games out of three to win the series vs. Clemson. The Gamecocks have now beaten Clemson in 16 of the last 23 baseball contests between the two schools dating back to the 2007 season.

Football has also strung together an impressive streak with three consecutive years of dominating wins over the Tigers. This year's 34-13 victory in Columbia, the 10th of the season for Carolina, is still fresh in every Gamecock's mind:

Men's Basketball collected their second consecutive win over Clemson with a 58-55 victory in December on the road at Littlejohn Coliseum just eight days after the football team's big win. Bruce Ellington was a part of both the football and men's basketball wins having joined his teammates on the hardwood at the end of the football regular season.

Women's Basketball also defeated Clemson in their house in November, led by a 19-point outing from senior Charenee Stephens and shooting 50% in the first half to help deliver a 65-48 victory.

WSOC-11 seniors four wins vs. Clemson.jpeg
Women's Soccer seniors hold up four fingers to represent four straight wins over Clemson.

Other wins came in Women's Soccer with a 2-0 victory on the road at Clemson (fourth consecutive win, all shut-outs, making this year's Gamecock senior class the first to go undefeated against the Tigers); Men's and Women's Swimming & Diving (the Gamecocks won 19 of the 32 events to sweep the Tigers in the final meet between the two schools as Clemson is ending their program); and Women's Tennis (a 4-3 upset by #26 Carolina over #17 Clemson at the new Carolina Tennis Center). The Gamecocks' only losses to Clemson this year are in Men's Soccer (first win for the Tigers in the past five meetings), Volleyball, and one game out of the Baseball series. Men's Tennis is the last team to face off with Clemson in the regular season this year as they will go on the road to Clemson on March 14th at 1:00 p.m. 


Beating Clemson...

It's Passion.
It's Pride.
It's Loyalty.

It's the Garnet Way.

Spurs Up Daily Round-Up: 3/1 Welcome to March

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Catch up on the day's buzz about the Gamecocks! In today's edition: women's hoops takes on Alabama in SEC tourney, Baseball focuses in on the Clemson rivalry, two swimmers earn NCAA Championship invites, more on "SEC Great" Jocelyn Penn, football spring practice dates, Coach Goffi invites you to men's tennis tomorrow, and more! 


Women's Basketball: Gamecocks open SEC Tournament (

Women's Basketball: Nashville offers new destiny (

Women's Basketball: Welch says she's ready to go (

Football: Through the eyes of a parent ... ( *Connor Shaw*

Football: Steve Spurrier is having too much fun to think of retirement (USA TODAY)

Baseball: USC-Clemson ready for baseball battle (

Baseball: Battle for bragging rights begins Friday (

Baseball: SAPAKOFF COLUMN: Baseball rivalry 101 (The Post & Courier)


Baseball. South Carolina & Clemson Renew Rivalry On Baseball Diamond

Baseball. Gamecock Spotlight: Michael Roth

Men's Tennis. Men's Tennis Opens SEC Play This Weekend

Men's Tennis. Gamecock Spotlight: Ivan Machado

Women's Tennis. Top Five Opponents Await Women's Tennis this Week

Softball. Gamecocks Travel West for Highlander Classic

Softball. Bats Stay Hot in 13-7 Gamecock Win at Charlotte

Swimming & Diving. Rutqvist, Schaffer Invited to NCAA Championships

Women's Golf. Gamecocks Open Play at Darius Rucker Intercollegiate on Friday

Men's Basketball. Overtime Buzzer Beater Drops Gamecocks, 69-67

Football. Gamecocks Set Spring Practice Dates

General News. Carolina Relaunches Website


'Nuff said, right? We thought so.

Follow @GamecocksOnline and @SpursUpBlog on Twitter!


Gamecock Great to be Honored During SEC Tourney First Round Game

Saturday Radio Coverage Plans from the Gamecock IMG Sports Network

Tanner: "It's a Very Special Rivalry."

Sneak Peek at New Baseball Graphics

Baseball Parking Options in Charleston on Friday

Men's Tennis Gathering at Russell House Attracts Students

On Senior Night, Malik Cooke Reflects on Time at Carolina

"Inside The Chart" - Malik Cooke (February 29, 2012)

Crews Break Ground on Football Videoboard Project

This Week's Home Events: Carolina-Clemson on the Diamond


Coach Goffi invites fans out to the Carolina Tennis Center for the men's SEC opener vs. #6 Georgia. The match starts at 2:30 p.m.


Jocelyn Penn (1999-2003) will be honored tonight as the Gamecocks' 2012 representative in the "SEC Greats" program at the SEC Women's Basketball Tournament.
Penn is the school record holder in both steals (359) and field goal percentage (.593). She is fourth on the Gamecocks' career scoring list with 1,939 and has recorded two of the program's three 50-point games, including an SEC-record 51-point outing against Stetson. Penn also holds the record for steals in a game with 11 against South Carolina State. 


Russell Brewton of Ballentine, SC, sent in today's photo saying:

"This is a picture from the tailgating in Orlando prior to the '12 Citrus /Cap One Bowl, including myself in the middle and 2 spirited Nebraska fans who obliged a photograph. These guys are awesome fans! What a great time!"

Russell Brewton.jpg

We've got a lot of great submissions so keep them coming! Feel free to send in your photos (any sport/season, either of you or taken by you!) with your name to! A lot of the best photos include some Gamecock gear and 'showing your spurs'! We'd love to share with the rest of Gamecock Nation!

Previous fan photos may be seen here:
Fan Photo of the Day series - 2012
Fan Photo of the Day series - 2011

2002_1122AP.JPGWhile the 2011-12 Gamecock Women's Basketball squad appears poised to receive a berth in the NCAA Tournament, we will take a look back tonight to honor an All-American who led the last Carolina women's team to the Big Dance in 2003.

During halftime of South Carolina's first round SEC Women's Basketball Tournament game tonight (10:00 p.m. ET tip-off vs. Alabama), the conference will honor this year's Gamecock representative in the "SEC Greats" program, Jocelyn Penn.

A part of the South Carolina women's basketball program from 1999 to 2003, Penn was the leading scorer on the last two Gamecock teams to make the NCAA Tournament, taking teams to the Elite Eight in 2002 and to the second round in 2003. A two-time first-team All-SEC selection, she drew All-America honors from the Associated Press and was a Naismith Award and Wade Trophy finalist in 2003.

As good defensively as she was on offense, Penn is the school record holder in both steals (359) and field goal percentage (.593). She is fourth on the Gamecocks' career scoring list with 1,939 and has recorded two of the program's three 50-point games, including an SEC-record 51-point outing against Stetson. Penn also holds the record for steals in a game with 11 against South Carolina State. 


She was selected in the 2003 WNBA Draft by the Charlotte Sting with the ninth overall pick of the draft (first round) and went on to play with both the Washington Mystics and Houston Comets, among others.

The Gamecocks take on Alabama tonight in the SEC Tournament first round in Nashville. Game time is set for 10:00 p.m. ET and will air on FSN/Sport South or you can listen on 1320 AM or online right here at

Women's Basketball Seniors Reflect on Final Home Game

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This year's women's basketball seniors are a remarkable bunch. They are the first class to be with fourth-year head coach Dawn Staley from the beginning. They have led the 2011-12 team to a 20-8 overall record and appear to have the Gamecocks on the verge of their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2003.

We caught up with Markeshia Grant, Courtney Newton, Charenee Stephens, La'Keisha Sutton and Ebony Wilson to reflect on their time here at Carolina and Senior Day this Sunday vs. Arkansas (2:00 p.m.) Check out some of their answers below.

Brittany: So just reflecting on your final home game, what are some of the thoughts going through your mind?

Sutton_011512_000123.JPGLa'Keisha (left): "I feel like I was just a freshman yesterday. I don't think it's hit me yet, it'll hit me once we start warming up I think. I know I'm going to be emotional because of everything I've been through personally, and the growth of the team, but I'm excited for what USC basketball is going to be like once I leave."

Ebony: "I'm more excited just thinking about where we started when I first got here to where we are now. It's exciting to see our transformation as a team and our success."

Charenee: "I feel like right now with the path we're going, it's all going to just hit me at the end.  It's the last home game but it's not the last game so I'm thinking more or less about trying to get to the tournament and what we're going to do then.  It hasn't hit me.  Once the tournament is over, then I'm going to be like, man, it's over."

Markeshia: "My college career is coming full circle and I think it's a great group of people to go out with. We just need to focus and win the game. It's going to be a crucial game for us, and I think it's a great time in my career."

Courtney: "It's mixed emotions...Knowing that it's my last year I'm just excited to play this last game.  It's gonna be a big game for us.  It's gonna be emotional but we are gonna need the win too.  So, I'm just hoping to end the season on a bang and on a high note."

BL: What do you think you have learned the most from Coach Staley?

WBB-11 Charenee Stephens vs. Furman.jpegCharenee (left): "I have learned that sometimes you have to follow.  I've been a leader my whole life. I've just always been this dominant figure, this person who's always willing to tell someone no, willing to say 'don't do that' or 'I don't like that'. Coming here and starting with Coach Staley, she's that type of person too and it was hard at first. We went at it but I appreciate it because now I know that I can't always be number one.  I can't always be the one who's giving the law, saying how things are supposed to be and I appreciate that.  Now I know how to follow and that's another dimension of my life that she helped me create."

Markeshia: "The thing I've learned the most from Coach Staley is loyalty. I think that's the biggest thing for her, if you're loyal, she'll do anything for you."

La'Keisha: "Life is more than the game of basketball. She's taught me what it means to be committed and dedicated, to work hard, and to compete every time you step on the floor, because she is a competitor. She gave a little joke 'if there's two roaches crawling, I'm going to pick the one that's going to win.' ... I feel like she's taught me to be a better person, helped me mature a lot. As far as basketball, I think she saw something raw, cut at it and cut at it until she got what she wanted and I reached my full potential. Just seeing all of her accomplishments, she's really inspiring."

BL: What are some of your favorite memories from your time at Carolina, both as a student and a basketball player?

01.26.12.vs.ole.miss000010.JPGCourtney (left, #22): "As a student it would be just being a college kid, just being able to go to football games.  I love football and going to those games with my teammates.  For me also just being able to get my undergraduate degree in three years and almost finishing with my graduate...On the basketball court, I would say last year definitely the Georgia game was one of my favorite memories as a player just being able to play like that against Georgia [Courtney hit a career-high five three-pointers in the upset win for the Gamecocks].  That was big for me.  This year we've had so many big wins - the North Carolina game was big and the Tennessee game of course will be one of my all-time favorite basketball memories.  That was just an awesome experience...being a part of history for me is one of the greatest memories.  It's not done yet so hopefully we can continue writing the history books this year."

La'Keisha: "I would definitely say the Tennessee game, the UNC game this year, the Kentucky game from last year, basically the big wins and the stuff we did off the court as a team. We like going to the movies or restaurants and just clowning, teaching Coach Staley how to dance, we do a lot of stuff off the court and I have a lot of pictures to show for it, even just being silly at practices. Coach Staley always finds a way to calm us down during the hard times without us even realizing what she's doing; she's a genius coach."

Markeshia (left, #5): "My favorite memory would have to be beating Tennessee at Tennessee; I think that was the biggest thing that's ever happened to me. It meant so much in so many ways, because growing up I always wanted to play for Pat Summitt and always wanted to be a Lady Vol, but I went in a different direction and ended up beating them. So that was something big for me." 

BL: What are some of the silly, funny or strange times you'll never forget?

Wilson_12studio_084.jpgEbony (left, showing her silly side during a photo shoot): "I just like the way our team can just goof off and have fun around each other. We genuinely like each other so we like to do things with each other, like team functions or school functions like the Halloween party...We always like going in Coach's office, we always get a good laugh. We all like to dance and Coach Staley tried to dance with us but she can't really...we tried to teach her how to Dougie,  but her arms and legs weren't coordinating [laughing]. She knows how to do the Wobble, she's got that down pat, but the Dougie I don't think she's going to get."

La'Keisha: "As a player, I would have to say my first three years we would do track workouts, it's not fun, but it's funny now that I think about it. I would always throw up; I could never NOT throw up. I think that's something I'll be remembered for because nobody else did it. I don't know why. I would never throw up on the court, but I would every single track workout."

Charenee: "My favorite would have to be Coach McCray singing that national anthem [for a game last season] because we, I didn't know...I was getting ready to pray and we locked hands and I put my head down and they said Coach McCray singing the anthem and I was like 'Oh my!!!  What?!?'  She sang that thing and she was nervous.  By the time I got up to touch her she was shaking so hard."

BL: What are your plans for after basketball, after graduation?

La'Keisha (major: broadcast journalism): I hope to play professionally, whether that's in the league or overseas. Once basketball is over, I either want to be a VJ or some sort of sports or fitness model, or try to get into film."

Ebony (major: psychology): "I want to play, if that's an option, I would like to continue to play but I'm also working on going to grad school, I'm applying for social work."

Markeshia (major: psychology): "My plans are to continue to play, grad school, and to travel."

Courtney (earned degree in psychology, working on specialists degree in counselors education):  "I'm in my second year of grad school now.  Next year, I'll be in Columbia and have to do my internship to finish up my degree.  So, I'll be doing that at the beginning of next year and then hopefully looking for a job in a high school, just depends on opportunities. I'd also like to get into some coaching in high school or something like that, but I definitely want to be around kids whatever I am doing."

Charenee (major: psychology): "Well right now I have some things in the works.  I'm trying to be a Richland County Police Officer.  It's really interesting and I think I'll be a good addition.  I like the sound of it."

Check out women's basketball on YouTube to see highlights, Gamecock Spotlights on our players, behind-the-scenes video and more.

The Gamecocks play their final home game of the season this Sunday vs. Arkansas at 2:00 p.m. Get to the game at least 20-30 minutes before tip-off to help give our seniors a proper farewell celebration on Senior Day.

This Week's Home Events: Seven Sports in Action

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We have a jam-packed week of home events this week with lots of opportunities to cheer on your Gamecocks! Almost every team currently in season is playing at home this week, including the final home game of the season for Women's Basketball. The Gamecocks earned their 20th win of the season Sunday with a road win over Alabama and will look to close out the season strong this week with Senior Day on Sunday vs. Arkansas. Equestrian hosts two competitions this weekend, vs. Auburn on Saturday with their annual Equifest, and Senior Day on Sunday vs. Baylor. Baseball and Softball are both in action as Baseball hosts a three-game weekend series against Elon and Softball hosts the Gamecock Invitational tournament including four contests for Carolina. Both tennis squads are also playing at home, with Women's Tennis facing rival Clemson on Wednesday followed by two more matches on Friday and Sunday and Men's Tennis hosting a doubleheader on Saturday. All of this week's tennis matches are currently scheduled to be played outdoors in the new Carolina Tennis Center.

Parking Reminder: for softball and tennis events we encourage fans to park in the new Athletics Village parking garage off Heyward St. Parking in the garage is free for athletic events. See map

Baseball season parking is still available. Click here for more information.

We look forward to seeing a lot of fans out at all the events - make it a very Gamecock weekend!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

#26 Women's Tennis vs. #17 Clemson - 2:00 p.m.
-Free pizza for the first 100 students
-Official team posters
*The team picked up two wins in California this past weekend and will face three Palmetto State opponents this week.
*Get to know Jaklin Alawi in the Gamecock Spotlight:

Softball vs. Winthrop - 5:00 p.m.
-Play Softball Bingo for a chance to win a prize
-Official team posters
*The Gamecocks recorded an 8-1 victory over the Eagles during the Palmetto Classic on opening weekend.

Friday, February 24, 2012

#26 Women's Tennis vs. College of Charleston - 3:00 p.m.
-Official team posters
*Jaklin Alawi and Dijana Stojic are currently 4-0 this spring at No. 1 doubles.

#2 Baseball vs. Elon - 3:00 p.m.
-Play Baseball Bingo for a chance to win a prize
*South Carolina is ranked second in the nation in college baseball attendance after opening weekend averaged 7,751 fans per game.

Softball vs. Elon - 5:00 p.m.
-Gamecock Invitational
-Play Softball Bingo for a chance to win a prize
-Official team posters

Saturday, February 25, 2012

#48 Men's Tennis vs. Furman - 10:00 a.m.
-First match for the men's team at the Carolina Tennis Center
-Enter to win an autographed team poster
-Official team posters
*Men's Tennis is currently 8-1 and undefeated at home.

#5 Equestrian vs. #1 Auburn - 10:00 a.m.
-Equifest: Activities will include decorating cowboy hats, horse shoes, stick horses, and a coloring station
-Official team posters

Softball vs. Appalachian State - 12:30 p.m.
-Gamecock Invitational
-Play Softball Bingo for a chance to win a prize
-Official team posters

#2 Baseball vs. Elon - 1:30 p.m.
-Play Baseball Bingo for a chance to win a prize

Softball vs. Presbyterian - 3:00 p.m.
-Gamecock Invitational
-Play Softball Bingo for a chance to win a prize
-Official team posters

#48 Men's Tennis vs. Charlotte - 4:00 p.m.
-Enter to win an autographed team poster!
-Official team posters available

Men's Basketball vs. Tennessee  - 8:00 p.m.
-Flying Hounds halftime act
-Cocky's Bounce House
-One of just two remaining home games
*Senior forward Malik Cooke reached the 1,000-point milestone for his career this past Saturday vs. LSU.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Softball vs. George Washington - 10:00 a.m.
-Gamecock Invitational
-Play Softball Bingo for a chance to win a prize
-Official team posters

#5 Equestrian vs. #4 Baylor - 11:00 a.m.
-Senior Day
-Official team posters

#26 Women's Tennis vs. Winthrop - 1:00 p.m.
-Official team posters

#2 Baseball vs. Elon - 1:30 p.m.
-Play Baseball Bingo for a chance to win a prize

Women's Basketball vs. Arkansas - 2:00 p.m.
-Senior Day - final home game for seniors Markeshia Grant, Courtney Newton, Charenee Stephens, La'Keisha Sutton and Ebony Wilson
-Flying Hounds halftime act
-"Active Gamecocks" game - program winners recognized on the court during the game
-Cocky's Bounce House

Gamecocks on the road:

M. Basketball @ Vandy - Wednesday, 8:00 p.m. TV: SEC Network, ESPN3
W. Basketball @ #13/10 Kentucky - Thursday, 7:00 p.m.  Listen Online
Track & Field - SEC Indoor Championships, Lexington, KY - Fri.-Sun.
Swimming & Diving - Bulldog Invitational, Athens, GA - Sat-Sun
Men's Golf - Seahawk Invitational, Wilmington, NC - Sunday

Staley, Sutton Reflect on Gamecocks' Landmark Victory

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WBB-11 Dawn Staley at Tennessee.jpegThe excitement all day has been our Women's Basketball team making history last night with their 64-60 victory over #8 Tennessee. It was South Carolina's first victory over the Lady Vols in Knoxville and only the second win in program history, with the only other coming in 1980. Pat Summitt's team had not lost to an SEC opponent on their home court since 2008, but all that came to an end behind a career-high 27 points from senior Markeshia Grant, including seven three point baskets. Fellow senior La'Keisha Sutton added 12 points of her own and clinched the victory for Carolina by knocking down both free throws on a 1-and-1 chance.  (Click here to see the full recap, photo galleries, post-game interviews and highlights) Dawn Staley's squad improved their overall record to 18-5 and 7-3 in the SEC.

Staley and Sutton were all smiles when they met with the media Friday afternoon to reflect on the victory and its significance.

"The locker room was very loud [after the game]," said Sutton. "It was really exciting just to see everybody happy and just cheering. It really touched us, Markeshia was crying...there was a lot of energy."

WBB-11 Team celebrates at Tennessee2.jpeg

While Staley said the team would still stick to their 24 hour rule of celebrating a victory or mourning a loss, she confirmed that this was a truly proud moment for her as a coach.

"I just told them [after the game] that it was a very proud moment for the people that were standing in the room, but also for the people who were part of other Gamecock eras," said Staley. "I got text messages, phone calls from former players who really believed in us winning the game and making history, so it was a great, proud moment that we want to enjoy."

"We talked about [the 24 hour rule] last night on the bus," said Sutton, smiling. "We said we were going to celebrate this one just a little longer, but we still have to prepare for the next team... after today we can start focusing on Arkansas."

Coach Staley said in her post-game interview that as far as wins in her coaching career, this one might be the biggest. The significance of the game was not lost on Athletics Director Eric Hyman nor the HBC, Steve Spurrier, who were both in attendance at the game in Knoxville with their wives, Pauline and Jerri, along with a contingent of die-hard Gamecock fans overjoyed to witness the win in person. 

WBB-11 fans at tennessee.jpeg

Gamecock fans after the win, looking much happier than their orange-clad counterparts

"I just wanted to win the game for a lot of reasons, for our players, fans, but when you look at us not winning in 32 years in the history of our program, that's something special," said Staley. "There are a lot of players that put on a Gamecock uniform that were not victorious when we played against Tennessee. We're changing generations."

However, as momentous a win as this one was, Staley was quick to say this is not the end of the season - there is still a lot of work to be done to finish the season strong and secure an NCAA Tournament berth.

"You've got to be somewhat nervous that our team will be thinking that this is our pinnacle of our season, which it isn't," explained Staley. "This [game vs. Tennessee] is a point in our journey which we highlighted on. We wanted to win, like we've wanted to do the last four years and what other teams in the past wanted to do. It just so happens that it's smack in the middle of our conference season, but we keep moving on because our ultimate goal is to get to the NCAA Tournament and hopefully win some games in the tournament."

Click here to watch video of all of Coach Staley and Sutton's comments.

Next up for women's hoops is another road game at Arkansas on Thursday, Feb. 9, at 8:00 p.m. They then return home for the first of just three remaining home games on Sunday, Feb. 12, at 5:00 p.m. vs. Florida. Come out and cheer on your Gamecocks!


Women's Hoops Attracting New Fans

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With a strong start to the season and their first national ranking since 2003 (the Gamecocks were ranked #24 in last week's AP poll), Women's Basketball enjoyed a great crowd at Colonial Life Arena for their big match-up with #9 Kentucky on Sunday. Over 4,650 fans, the largest of the season so far for women's hoops, cheered on the Gamecocks as they battled back and forth with the Wildcats. UK would escape with a 66-58 win, but the crowd responded with a loud ovation for the Gamecocks' effort in the game that could have gone either way.


The crowd at basketball can make a huge difference in a game. Our women's team has a very dedicated core group of fans who are at every home game and Sunday was no different. Tom, an older gentleman and long-time fan who said he comes to almost all the games, shared that he was very excited about the squad's start to the season.

"I think they've come a long way and they're on their way to becoming a great team," Tom said. "I enjoy their competitiveness, their athletic ability and how hard they play."

But as the season has progressed, the diehards like Tom have been steadily joined by newcomers.

"It's awesome for us to see that many fans in the crowd [at the Kentucky game]," said senior guard Courtney Newton. "I've been here for five years and that's the most people I've ever seen in the crowd. It really helps us and lets us know the hard work we've been putting in at practice and the hard work we've been putting into games is paying off and we're starting to get a larger fan base. We've just got to keep going and keep winning so we can keep that fan base."

One woman, Knaja, was making her first trip to a game after deciding to bring her young daughter who plays basketball.

"Since my daughter is a basketball player we wanted to show her some skills, see what she can enhance herself on," said Knaja. "I'm positive we will be back."

Jessica Tobey, a student at Carolina who said she comes to almost all of the men's basketball games, also said she would be attending more women's basketball games.

"I've heard a lot of hype about them, and I just like the women's games," said Tobey.

The Gamecocks have found their wins this season primarily with defense, ranking second in the nation behind only UConn in points allowed. Despite the loss to #9 Kentucky, Carolina only allowed them 66 points, well below their season average of over 80 points per game. Only two of the Gamecocks' four total losses have been at home, with both coming at the hands of highly ranked teams in #9 Kentucky and then-#11 Penn State. Protecting home court has been part of head coach Dawn Staley's mantra all season and great crowds can be a part of that.

"I was really proud [of the large crowd on Sunday at the Kentucky game], proud to have people who support us, especially the faithful," said Staley. "I was happy that our marketing department did a tremendous job at filling the seats, and although we didn't get the win, we did get a glimpse of what our future is going to be, where we get people in the stands and supporting us... To the fans, my hat goes off to them because they could be somewhere else for the two hours that they're watching our game, cheering us on, and being supportive. For them, I just hope we can continue to be successful and give them a great product to cheer for."

Freshman Tina Roy greets fans after a win over SC State earlier this season. The team greets and high fives fans after every game.

The Gamecocks face two road tests this week at Auburn on Thursday (7:00 p.m., no TV, listen online) and at #25/22 Vanderbilt (1:30 p.m., TV: ESPNU, listen online). Next week they return to Columbia for two home games, Thursday, Jan. 26 vs. Ole Miss at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 29 vs. Mississippi State at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for youth 17 and under. Carolina students are free with their ID.

Record-Setting "Read with the Gamecocks" Segment a Hit

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Excited cheers rang through Colonial Life Arena all afternoon Wednesday as several thousand area school children watched South Carolina Women's Basketball take on South Carolina State at a special noon tip-off time. The field trip to the game was part of their reward for participating in the first segment of this year's "Read with the Gamecocks" program. There are three total segments each year (there's still time for schools and organizations to participate in the third segment, click here for more information)

Over 6,000 students from 46 schools and one organization read over two million pages from October 31 through November 11. The total was a new program record for pages read and a 90% increase from the first segment last year. The top readers at each participating school received awards and the top readers from each grade level statewide received plaques and were recognized on the court at halftime.

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Click here to check out more photos of the winners on the court at halftime.

The overall winning school was Burton-Pack Elementary from right here in Columbia. Almost the entire school participated and as a whole they read 282,009 total pages. About 470 Burton-Pack students, dressed in matching t-shirts by grade, attended Wednesday's game. Rose Stevens, the school's reading teacher, served as program coordinator and promoted the entire school getting involved, complete with decorating her door with a Gamecocks and reading theme.

"We did it last year and we had some very high readers, but we thought that this year we would try to be the top school, and we are! The children are very excited about it," said Stevens. "Reading is so important and you can do that all the time, at any time, and I'm thrilled we got the whole school to participate."

Students from Burton-Pack enjoying the game.

Click here to see more fan photos from Wednesday's game.

Women's Basketball hosts Savannah State next on Wednesday, December 21, at noon in Colonial Life Arena.

Wilson_act3.jpgMany Gamecock fans will see a familiar face tonight as the Women's Basketball team takes on College of Charleston. We will be recognizing the Cougars' head coach, Nancy Wilson, before the game for her time at Carolina as she has announced that she will retire after this season.

Between Wilson's two head coaching stints at College of Charleston, she spent 13 seasons as the Gamecocks' head coach from 1984-1997. She is the program's winningest head coach, having led the team to a 231-149 record during her tenure. S
he guided the Gamecocks to five NCAA Tournament appearances as well as four Metro Conference regular-season titles and three Metro tournament championships. Wilson was named Metro Conference Coach of the Year in 1985 and 1991. The Gamecocks were nationally ranked for most of the 1988-89 and 1989-90 seasons, climbing as high as No. 14 in February 1989, and South Carolina advanced to its first NCAA Sweet 16 in 1990.

Wilson is a lifelong South Carolinian. She was born in Lake City, earned degrees from Coker College and The Citadel and has spent her coaching career almost entirely within the state coaching both basketball and volleyball and teaching physical education.

Join us in recognizing Nancy Wilson at tonight's game vs. College of Charleston at 7:00 p.m. at Colonial Life Arena.

One of the markers of the official start of basketball season is in the books as SEC Media Day was held in Birmingham, Alabama, today.

Each program is represented by their head coach and one student-athlete. Darrin Horn, Dawn Staley, and senior student-athletes Malik Cooke and Markeshia Grant were on hand to talk to the media, take photos and film interviews in preparation for the Gamecocks' upcoming season.

Check out behind-the-scenes photos from the day below:

Every SEC school participates in Media Day, broken up into four sessions, each about two hours long, with three schools assigned to each session. This year the Gamecocks joined Florida and Arkansas for the final session of the day. The participants go through a rotation of several rooms at the Wynfrey Hotel in Birmingham. The Gamecocks spoke to print media and local TV, the SEC's own staff for a live stream on the SEC Digital Network, filmed interview segments for the league's various broadcast partners (ESPN, FOX Sports South, CSS) for use during the season, spoke to Sirius/XM radio, took still photos for ESPN, and more.

Videos of our interviews in the media room are available on All-Access.

Among other topics, Coach Staley discussed the team's great chemistry and strong post-season chances. She praised the team's veteran leaders implementing their own "buddy system" to help acclimate the new members of the team and says it did wonders for the team. Coach Horn discussed the great potential for Malik Cooke to lead the team and how facing some tough challenges this spring actually helped bring the team closer together. A lot of media were interested in hearing about newcomers Anthony Gill, Damien Leonard and Brenton Williams, who are all doing well with a few weeks of practice now under their belts. 

The event takes a great deal of planning and organization on the part of the conference office. SEC staff members work throughout the day to keep everyone on schedule and moving smoothly through the rotation of different stations.

We kept fans in the loop via Twitter throughout the day and took a moment for Malik to give Gamecock Nation a special hello.

Malik Cooke at Media Day.JPG

Highlight video:

Men's Basketball will host an exhibition game vs. Kentucky Wesleyan on Nov. 3 at 7:00 p.m. Women's Basketball will take on Limestone in an exhibition game the following night, Nov. 4, at 7:00 p.m. Both games are at Colonial Life Arena. Season tickets for both teams are still available via

Women's Basketball Holds First Practice of the Season

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It still seems like the fall semester just started but here we are in October with basketball season just around the corner. Women's Basketball began official practice this afternoon and there was a lot of excitement with getting started.

"I'm very excited about the season starting; we have a team full of very experienced players and not-so-experienced players.
It's going to be fun meshing the two of those groups," said head coach Dawn Staley after practice. "I think overall the public is excited about our team too, which they should be, because of the progress we've had the last few years, so hopefully people will come out and get their season tickets early and make sure they get a nice seat because I do think we're going to draw a pretty good crowd with the product we're going to put out on the floor."

WBB-11 First practice.JPG

The team often feeds off Coach Staley's intensity and enthusiasm and senior guard La'Keisha Sutton also expressed excitement about the season getting underway.

"I'm excited about this season. Ever since last season ended I've just been looking forward to coming together with new people; we've got six new people, they bring a lot of energy and a lot of different spots on the floor. You've got shooters, drivers, defenders, rebounders. I'm excited. It should be fun," said Sutton. "We've incorporated a buddy system where [the older players] get with the new people. We text them, hang out with them, shoot with them, just constantly in their ear both on and off the court." 

The Gamecocks host an exhibition vs. Limestone on Friday, November 4th, at 7:00 p.m. at Colonial Life Arena followed by their home opener on November 14th vs. Alabama A&M at 7:00 p.m. Click here to check out the full schedule. Season tickets for Women's Basketball are available now on for $50.00 each for reserved seating in sections 104 or 105 and general admission or four (4) for $100.00 for general admission seating.

Behind-the-Scenes at the Basketball Intro Video Shoot

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Last night Gamecock Productions, our in-house video production crew, and a team from NASCAR Media Group took over Colonial Life Arena to shoot this year's intro videos for both Men's and Women's Basketball. They used several different locations, lighting techniques, and effects to put together some pretty cool shots. The team also recorded special video segments to show during games and online here at

Check out some behind-the-scenes photos from the shoot below and stay tuned for the finished video product!

Season ticket deposits for both Men's and Women's Basketball are available now on Season ticket renewal information is also available online. Click here for more info.
With the 2011-12 season right around the corner, we wanted to take a look back at the past year. Over the next few weeks I'll be counting down the Top 15 Gamecock moments from 2010-11 across several sports from the Spurs Up perspective. It was a good year for the Gamecocks, so I hope you enjoy reminiscing with me!

Top Moments of 2010-11 #14.jpg
#14 - Women's Basketball Upsets LSU, 63-61, at Colonial Life Arena

On January 6th, 2011, for the first time since the 1998 SEC Tournament, South Carolina Women's Basketball beat the Tigers of LSU. The Gamecocks never gave up and fought their way back into the game for a 63-61 win after trailing by as much as 18. Their never-say-die attitude and the bringing to an end of a long streak makes this our #14 Top Moment of 2010-11.

Five players scored in double figures, the team shot 50% from three-point range in the second half and 47.1% for the game, and went 13-of-17 on free throw shooting (76.5%) in the dramatic win. Clutch three-pointers from Markeshia Grant as well as La'Keisha Sutton and Ieasia Walker staying cool under pressure to knock down free throws in the final seconds helped seal the deal for Carolina.

The win was third-year head coach Dawn Staley's first over LSU and her 2004 Olympic coach, Van Chancellor.

Not long after the upset of LSU the Gamecocks would deliver two more big wins at home - against teams ranked in the top 20 in the country at that! Carolina delighted in a 57-48 victory over #20/24 Georgia on January 27th and a take down of #15/18 Kentucky, 66-61, on February 10th.

This upcoming season we'll look again for the Gamecocks' top trio of quick and explosive veteran guards, Grant, Sutton, and Walker, to lead the way under Coach Staley in her fourth season at the helm.


*Renewal information for Women's Basketball season tickets will be available on in September 2011.*

Stay caught on the Top Moments countdown. I'll post the next moment every weekday and Saturday until we get to #1!

#15: Alshon Jeffery's season-long 70-yard touchdown vs. Tennessee

Dawn Staley Q&A with

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Dawn Staley-S.Africa.jpgWomen's Basketball head coach Dawn Staley recently took a few overseas trips promoting the WNBA and basketball as a sport. Staley is one of the most decorated women's basketball players ever including being a three-time Olympic gold medalist, two-time USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year, five-time WNBA All-Star, and a member of the WNBA All-Decade Team. She did a Q&A with about her experiences overseas (pictured at left with NBA Vice President: Development - Africa - Amadou Fall). Check out the excerpts below and read the full article here. I understand you recently paid a visit to South Africa. What was going on down there?

Dawn Staley: I went down to promote a partnership with one of the teams in one of the cities there. They partnered with the NBA to do programs for coaches and training, just from an infancy stage. I think that it's an incredible program. We wanted to go over and help. And the best way to help was to teach the teachers how to teach. Everybody gets a lot out of it when you teach them how to teach adults and kids how to play the game. What better impression to leave than to give somebody some knowledge?

... Now as the WNBA enters its 15th season, you have to think about to longevity of it, but also the foundation that was built over time. What you're talking about sounds very similar to how players joined the WNBA without that much exposure to the women's game. Now you have players in the league who grew up with the league. Do you see foresee that exposure eventually happening not only in South Africa but other parts of the world?

DS: I absolutely do. I went over to England as well to promote the WNBA game against Great Britain, and it was very similar to that. I actually spoke to a lot more people about that and about basketball and I basically told them that I was happy they were hosting the Olympics because it gives so much more exposure for not only basketball, but all sports. I was promoting basketball and promoting the game, so I told them that just like us in America when I was growing up, there wasn't a carrot dangling in front of me saying that I would be able to play professional basketball here in the States. Now that there is, there is 15 years that the WNBA has been in existence, there are so many people who have been touched by it that I think our game has grown from an exposure standpoint and also from a talent standpoint. Little girls can see their dreams being realized because they are being exposed to it.


WBKB team sendoff in Nashville, SEC Tourney info

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SEC Tournament WBKB 2011.jpgWomen's Basketball opens up postseason play with their SEC Tournament first round game vs. #12 seed Ole Miss tonight at 7:30 PM ET. South Carolina's fifth seed in the SEC Tournament is its highest since the 2002-03 team also drew the No. 5 slot. Read the full game notes here.

The team plans to leave their hotel in Nashville (Loews Vanderbilt Hotel) at approximately 4:40 PM Central time. At that time there will be a team sendoff with the band and cheerleaders as the team heads to the arena. Hope to see all of our fans in Nashville make it to the send-off and of course to the game to cheer on our Gamecocks!

For those in Nashville, click here for Bridgestone Arena information and help.

For those not in Nashville, you can watch tonight's game live at 7:30 PM ET on FSN. Here in Columbia the game will air on SportSouth (Time Warner channel 21). Check your local listings for channels. You can also listen to the radio broadcast on WISW 1320 AM or on All-Access. Live streams of the weekend's games will be available at SEC Tournament Central.

South Carolina's 2011 "SEC Great" will be honored at halftime of tonight's game.
One of the all-time greats in SEC Softball, Kim Pietro was a first-team All-American and SEC Player of the Year for her senior season in 1999. Also a CoSIDA first-team Academic All-American that season, Pietro hit .419 with five home runs and 40 RBI while leading the Gamecocks to their second SEC Eastern Division crown. A three-time first-team All-SEC selection, Pietro also made three appearances on the SEC Academic Honor Roll. Pietro ranks among the top 10 in Gamecock softball history in batting average, runs, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, runs batted in and walks. Each great will be honored during halftime of their respective school's first game of the SEC Tournament. All 12 individuals will also be honored as a group between games of the second session on Friday, March 4. The Greats will then participate in an autograph session on the concourse before game eight on Friday evening. Complimentary posters of the greats will be available at the session. 

Good luck to Women's Basketball tonight, go Gamecocks!!

- Brittany Lane

Jewel May, Valerie Nainima to be recognized for Senior Day

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As the final regular season home game, this Sunday's Women's Basketball game vs. Vanderbilt will be Senior Day. We'll be recognizing two seniors, forward Jewel May and guard Valerie Nainima, who have been invaluable to the Gamecocks. Senior Day festivities will take place before the game so get there early for the 2:00 PM tip-off.

May is the only Gamecock on the team to have started every game this season. Nainima missed the first month of the season, but returned to the lineup just four and a half months post-surgery for an ACL repair and currently leads the team in 3-point FG percentage.

Come out to Colonial Life Arena to cheer on the team one last time at home as they set their sights on the postseason. Go Gamecocks!

Congratulations Jewel and Val! Go Gamecocks!

Jewel May among NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships recipients

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May cutout.jpgThe NCAA recently awarded $6,000 to 26 recipients as part of its Ethnic Minority and Women's Enhancement Postgraduate Scholarship for Careers in Athletics program. Women's Basketball senior forward Jewel May was one of the recipients of the ethnic minority scholarship. Thirteen scholarships were awarded to ethnic minorities and 13 scholarships to female college graduates who will be entering their initial year of postgraduate studies.

Developed by the NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics and the NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee, the goal of the non-renewable scholarship is to increase the pool of and opportunities for qualified minority and female candidates in intercollegiate athletics.

Congratulations to Jewel on this honor as she moves forward with her career after graduation. She will play in her final home game for Carolina this coming Sunday, February 27th, vs. Vanderbilt at 2:00 PM. She will be honored along with senior guard Valerie Nainima for Senior Day. Come out to support the team as they wind down the regular season and set their sights on postseason play, and thank Jewel and Valerie in particular for their years as Gamecocks. Gamecock Club members and Carolina Alumni Association members can get special discount tickets for Senior Day for just $4. Click here to get tickets.

Watch this special message from Coach Dawn Staley to fans encouraging everyone to come out to this Sunday's "Pink Zone" game for breast cancer awareness. The Gamecocks take on Auburn at 2:00 PM on Sunday.

Women's Basketball upset #15/18 Kentucky tonight, 66-61, for their third straight home win, with the past two both over nationally ranked opponents. The Gamecocks beat #20/24 Georgia on January 27th.

Full recap to come on

Guard tandem Ieasia Walker and La'Keisha Sutton led the team with 17 points each. Markeshia Grant added 12 points and a team high eight rebounds. Jewel May also had eight rebounds.

Congratulations Gamecocks! Next game is this Sunday on the road at Mississippi State at 2:00 PM ET. Watch live on the SEC Network (click here for list of affiliates).
Behind 5-for-5 three point shooting from junior guard Courtney Newton, the Gamecocks Women's Basketball team took down No. 20/24 Georgia tonight, 57-48, to improve to 12-9 overall and a 4-4 record in SEC play. Full recap to come on

Newton set a season high with her 16 points. Her five three-point field goals were also a career high, beating her previous high of three 3-pointers set in 2007.

Newton said post-game, "With all my injuries I just kept working hard. As a player you just want to be able to contribute to a win so I'm glad I was able to do that."

Newton's main role this season has been her defensive play, scoring just 13 points total so far this season before tonight. Coach Staley said, "The basketball gods were good to her today....I'm happy for her because she's worked her tail off after multiple surgeries. You want her to be able to see her work result in something tangible, defense you can't always see in the stat sheet."

Staley was asked in post-game if this win over Georgia qualifies as a signature win. Staley considered the question and agreed - it avenges our first loss to Georgia this season in which we played a very poor first half and it's a win over a top 25 team.

Women's Basketball hits the road next to take on Auburn in their brand new arena this Sunday, January 30th, at 3:00 PM.

Go Gamecocks!

Brittany Lane
Heading into tonight's game against #5/6 Tennessee, I wanted to talk with a couple of our Women's Basketball players who have helped drive the team. Sophomore guard Ieasia Walker and junior guard La'Keisha Sutton are both in the Top 30 of the SEC for scoring and steals. Sutton is 7th in the league in assists and Walker has led the team in scoring in seven games so far this season.

Since the girls are from New York (Walker) and New Jersey (Sutton), I had to ask what made them decide to head down south to South Carolina (though in my mind, why wouldn't you??). Their answer was quick and simple and echoed the answer I previously received from sophomore forward and Oklahoma native Ashley Bruner: "the coaching staff." The Gamecocks are led by Dawn Staley, one of the most decorated players in U.S. women's basketball history. Associate Head Coach Lisa Boyer and Assistant Coaches Nikki McCray and Darius Taylor all boast impressive resumes. The staff combined has 46 years of coaching experience, 20 years of playing professionally in the U.S. and four Olympic gold medals.

Both of the northern natives have settled into being in South Carolina, though Walker laments the Columbia area being more spread out since, like many Carolina students, she doesn't have a car. Like a good roommate, Sutton quickly chimed in to say, "OUR car", when referring to her own vehicle. As the two have gotten to know each other, their on-court play has thrived. Knowing each other's style of play well helps each of them notice if the other may be off her game. Sutton said that at one point during the Ole Miss game (an eventual road W for the Gamecocks), Walker told her, "attack the basket, you're not playing like yourself." The comment helped Sutton turn it on and remember to stay focused on her game.

Off the court, Sutton said spending time with her teammates at football games, at the Russell House, and in the dorms are some of her favorite times so far. Both said they like when the team plays road games up north because of the opportunity to play in front of more family and friends. But not one to let distance slow her down, Sutton's mother, Melinda, travels to almost every game from her home in New Jersey, even when we're playing on TV.

About tonight's matchup with #5/6 Tennessee, Walker emphasized that the Gamecocks just need to "stay focused on doing what we're doing, not let Tennessee's height or depth get in the way of us playing our game, using our speed and playing aggressive defense. Sutton agreed, saying, "we just need to play with confidence...we're not going to let the name Tennessee scare us away, we'll keep attacking the basket and doing what we do best." Sutton has seen past success against the Lady Vols having scored in double figures in the last two games against Tennessee.

From tonight's Game Notes, looking at the tandem success of Walker and Sutton:

"One look at the Gamecock roster entering the season, and it was no secret that guard play would the key to the team's success. Rising to the head of that class are junior La'Keisha Sutton and sophomore Ieasia Walker. Roommates and good friends off the court, the two have meshed their games together seamlessly, especially in SEC action. In the tandem, Sutton dominates the roles of driving and dishing. She is seventh in the SEC in assists per game (3.9) on the season, a number that rises to 4.4 per game in league play, which is fourth-best in the conference. Assuming just two points for the Gamecocks for every assist she hands out and including her personal 9.8 points per game, Sutton's play accounts for at least 17.7 points per game - 29.7 percent of the team's season average. She has scored in double figures eight times this season, including three of five SEC contests, and has handed out four or more assists 11 times, including three of five league outings. Sutton's 41.8 field goal percentage is the highest among the team's guards. Walker has been the team's leading scorer since a 30-point outing against Clemson just three games into the schedule. She has scored in double figures a team-high 12 times in 18 games, including four of five SEC contests. The team's top scorer seven times this season, she has netted 20 or more points three times, including two of the last three games. A triple threat to pass, drive or spot up for a jumper, Walker has her outside game dialed in since SEC play tipped off five games ago. Shooting 40.0 percent from 3-point range against league opponents, she ranks third in the SEC, and her 2.0 3-pointers made per game are seventh-best in conference play."

WHO: Women's Basketball vs. #5/6 Tennessee
WHEN: Tonight at 7:00 PM
WHERE: Colonial Life Arena
TV: SportSouth
Radio: WISW 1320 AM or  
Tickets: $7 General Admission

Time Warner Cable    
Columbia, SC    Channel 21
Florence, SC    Channel 65
Myrtle Beach, SC    Channel 45
Summerville (Charleston), SC    Channel 21
DirecTV    Channel 649
Dish    Channel 437
AT&T Uverse    Channel 728/729
Charter Cable    Channel 35

Hear more from both Sutton and Walker from our Gamecock 360 series shot before the season:

Go Gamecocks!

Brittany Lane, Spurs Up Blog

Ashley Bruner emerges for Gamecocks

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ashley bruner.jpegSophomore forward Ashley Bruner has emerged the past couple weeks of SEC play as a real force for the Gamecocks. She led the team in scoring and rebounding with a double-double at Georgia (16 points, 11 rebounds), had 11 points and 6 rebounds in the SEC home opener win over LSU, and went 8-for-8 shooting vs. Florida for 16 points and 6 rebounds. After coming off the bench in the Georgia game, Bruner started the past two games and is projected to start again tonight vs. No. 19 Kentucky (7:00 PM, Radio: WISW 1320 AM).

 I sat down with her after practice Wednesday before the team left to head to Lexington for tonight's game to find out more about the uptick in Bruner's play. According to Bruner, the biggest difference was "a talk with Coach [Darius] Taylor about getting more aware of the things around me and staying focused during the game."

This matches up what I've seen on the court the past two home games vs. LSU and Florida. Bruner was playing with more intensity than I saw at the start of the season, reacting to fouls and mistakes as well as good plays with more emotion and purpose. In her post-game comments, Coach Dawn Staley said of Bruner, "she's been playing great, she's been playing really inspired. Hopefully she'll continue to have the production she's having."

Asked how she hoped to keep the production going, the answer was simple: "staying focused." She also said she wants to improve her defensive play ("not letting whoever I am guarding score"), while not letting her offensive production suffer.

Looking at tonight's game vs. Kentucky, Bruner made note of the match-up between SC's Jewel May and Kentucky's Victoria Dunlap, both 6-1 senior forwards who are very athletic and should go head to head a lot tonight. What the Gamecocks can do against Kentucky's penetration defense or lack thereof will likely be another cornerstone of tonight's game.

Follow tonight's game by listening on or WISW 1320 AM. We'll also have occasional updates on the @GamecockWBB Twitter page.

Quick Faves from Ashley Bruner:
Fave class: Theater, I recently changed my major to theater and I really think it fits my personality. I hope to maybe mix it with sports broadcasting.
Fave food: Steak and potatoes (She is from Oklahoma after all)
Fave moment at SC so far: Beating LSU. It was our first time beating them in awhile [since 1998] and it was a total team effort with five of us in double digits, everyone was hype and excited.

Brittany Lane, Spurs Up Blog

More TV options for Gamecock Basketball

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Now more ways to watch the Gamecocks this basketball season! Time Warner Cable gave us the heads up that they will offer three South Carolina basketball games on their SEC Alternate Digital Channel 506. These games were previously only going to be available on CSS and
  1/12- South Carolina @ Alabama, 9pm     
  2/16- South Carolina @ Tennessee, 7pm     
  2/17- South Carolina @ Tennessee, 7pm (Women's)

Go Gamecocks!

Brittany Lane, Spurs Up Blog     
Five different Gamecocks scored in double figures as South Carolina came back from being down as many as 18 points in the first half to beat LSU, 63-61. Full recap and statistics to come on

This was the Gamecocks' ninth straight home win and first win over LSU since a 76-61 victory in the 1998 SEC Tournament.

Markeshia Grant led the team with 12 points including going 3 for 4 from three point range. Ashley Bruner, La'Keisha Sutton, and Marah Strickland each scored 11 points and Ieasia Walker added 10. Clutch free throw completions down the stretch were a big difference maker for the Gamecocks who overall shot 76.5% from the foul line.

Next game is this Sunday vs. Florida at 3:00 PM. Be there!

Go Gamecocks! 

So far in the 2010 calendar year the Gamecocks are 10-4 vs. the Clemson Tigers including big wins in Baseball, Soccer, Swimming & Diving, Women's Basketball and, most recently, Football.

After putting another win in the books tonight vs. Delaware State, improving their record to 6-1 on the season, Men's Basketball is the next team stepping up to take on Clemson. They play at home at Colonial Life Arena this Sunday, December 5th, at 4:00 PM as the tail end of a basketball doubleheader. The Women's team starts things off vs. Savannah State at 1:00 PM.

Be there to cheer on the Gamecocks vs. the Tigers and hopefully improve our 2010 record to 11-4 vs. the folks in orange!!

Hopefully we'll still be celebrating another victory from the night before over some other Tigers!

Call 1-800-4SC-FANS for Carolina vs. Clemson tickets or buy online:

See y'all there!

Brittany Lane, Spurs Up Blog
The Women's Basketball program is hosting its 2nd annual Read with the Gamecocks Field Trip Day for their game tomorrow, December 1st, vs. Charleston Southern. Tip off is early at 11:00 AM allowing for elementary schools from around the state to attend the game as a field trip. Each child who participated received a free Women's Basketball book cover that included a ticket to tomorrow's game.

Read with the Gamecocks by the numbers:

  • 4,236 individual participants
  • 47 schools participated
  • 1,075,960 pages read

At the game tomorrow we will honor the child from each grade who read the most pages (pre-k through 5th grade), the state wide overall reading winner (both male and female) and Windsor Elementary School (largest number of pages read by one school; 165,217).

All are welcome to attend this special game. Walk-up tickets will be available at the Colonial Life Arena box office.

Go Gamecocks and congratulations to all the Read with the Gamecocks participants and winners!

Brittany Lane, Spurs Up Blog

Gamecock 360: Charenee Stephens

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The team adopted the theme "We Rise" this season. What does that mean to you?
To me it means that we're going to overcome a lot of things this year, working towards a lot of stuff.  We're always going to come out on top.  I think that's the goal this season. We're going to come out on top.

How much does having a good home crowd affect the team?
Usually we get to know a lot of the crowd when they come.  We go through the stands after the games, so it's always good to have reassuring faces in the crowd and have a lot of people in the crowd cheering for you.  It's always fun.  

How do you know when Coach Staley is really happy about a play?
If she's really happy about it she'll express it.  She'll smile and clap, something encouraging.

Who on the team has a shot or a move that makes you stop and stare?
Ieasia [Walker] has all kinds of moves that make you want to stop and stare to figure out how the ball got in the rim.

Which teammate always breaks the tension in the locker room?
Me.  I can't help it.  

Who on the team has the best nickname?
Markeshia [Grant], her nickname is Granny.  She's just an old soul. I'm not really sure who came up with it, but they gave her Granny. It fits

What has been your favorite team community service project?
When we went to the Women's Shelter.  It was the toughest, but I feel like we bonded the most that day.  It was a lot of labor, but we had fun with it.

What is the best thing about one or more of your roommates?
[My roommates are] Samone [Kennedy], Courtney [Newton] and Ashley [Bruner].  The best thing about having roommates is having things accessible.  If I need something, want something to eat or drink.  If I need anything, I can always just go to the next person. They're always going to be there to help you out.  If Ashley needs something for me, she just walks in and gets it.

What's the last song or artist you added to your iPod?
Kanye West "Monster" - It's a collective song with Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj,

What's the nicest thing you did for someone today?
I took somebody to work.

What do you do when you're mad?
It depends on where I am.  If I'm really mad on the court, I close my eyes and grip my fist a little bit.  Off the court it depends on who you are and what I'm mad about.

Who is the first person you want to tell good news to?
Jewel [May] or Samone [Kennedy].

Do you have any nervous habits?
I don't think so.  I do get nervous, but after I start talking it just goes away.

What two things do you grab if you have to leave the house ASAP?
Keys and flip-flops

Do you write anything on your basketball shoes for game day?
No, I can't figure out what's really going to support me during a game, something that's really forceful to get me going. When I do, I'm going to write it.

Miss an edition of Gamecock 360? Catch up here:
Lakeem Jackson
Samone Kennedy
Malik Cooke
La'Keisha Sutton
Ramon Galloway
Marah Strickland
RJ Slawson
Ieasia Walker
Sam Muldrow
Jewel May 


Gamecock 360: Samone Kennedy

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The team adopted the theme "We Rise" this season. What does that mean to you?
Throughout the trials and tribulations, the ups and downs of this team, everything we've experienced since day one, we rise above all the negativity and overcome obstacles that people thought we couldn't.

How much does having a good home crowed affect the team?
I think a good crowd boosts the intensity and the energy of the team.  We definitely love to hear them cheering us on.  It makes us work a lot harder and helps us work as a team to win games.

What's the best part of game day for you?
Coming in and doing pregame warm up. It's a regular routine, but it gets me in the spirit of game day, that we're about to play.  I feel good, and I'm comfortable about the team I'm with and the performance we're going to put on once we step on the court.

Has being a senior changed your approach to the season?
Definitely. Throughout the years we haven't made it to the tournament, and that's a big team goal and a personal goal.  I want to make a postseason tournament.  I feel like I'm a vocal leader on this team, so I try to get everyone involved.  I try to push us past that limit that we're comfortable with.

Who on the team has a shot or a move that makes you stop and stare?
La'Keisha [Sutton].  When she gets to the hole it's just amazing.  You have no idea how that shot went in.  You can't even try to imitate her move because she doesn't even know what she's going to do before she goes up.  It's unreal.

Why did you choose to come to South Carolina?
It's a home environment. The people are nice. The city is a nice city to be in. The weather is nice.  As far as my education, I felt that this was a one of the best places for me to get a degree and meet people.

What has been your favorite team community service project?
One of my favorite ones was going to the homeless shelter.  Just getting to know people and knowing where they came from and their intentions, it's a touching feeling.  You just want to do all you can to help people.  It's a great feeling.

What is the best thing about one or more of your roommates?
My roommates are Charenee [Stephens] , Courtney [Newton], and Ashley [Bruner].  I think the best thing is that Charenee is a very funny person.  Ashley, we're always into it, but it's funny.  I like being around them, we do a lot of things together.  Courtney's favorite restaurant is Monterrey's, so she's always trying to get us to go there, even when we don't want to.  We tell her no so much that we have to tell her yes sometimes.  They're just fun to be around.  

Who is the first person you want to tell good news to?
My Brother.  If I'm excited about something, he's genuinely just as excited about it as I am.  It's like reliving that moment all over again when I tell him.

Do you write anything on your basketball shoes for game day?
No.  I wake up and try to do the same routine as I did the last game day.  I try to keep it simple and keep my mind clear.

Miss an edition of Gamecock 360? Catch up here:
Malik Cooke
La'Keisha Sutton
Ramon Galloway
Marah Strickland
RJ Slawson
Ieasia Walker
Sam Muldrow
Jewel May

Spurs Up Fans of the Week!

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The Spurs Up Fans of the Week are the South Carolina National Champion Baseball team, who came out to support the Women's Basketball team as they took on Illinois Monday night. With the baseball players leading the student section, the ladies beat Illinois 61-48.

Love to see student-athletes supporting each other's efforts! Go Gamecocks!

- Brittany Lane, Spurs Up Blog


Gamecock 360: La'Keisha Sutton

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The Gamecock 360 series continues with junior guard La'Keisha Sutton:

The team adopted the theme "We Rise" this season. What does that mean to you?
We like to say that we may bend but we won't break. No matter the situation, if it's a tough preseason workout or tough practice or drill, we're going to rise at the end of the day. It's going to be hard, but eventually we're going to get through it.

How much does having a good home crowd affect the team?
Home crowd is like a sixth man. I really hope this year a lot more people come out to support the women's basketball games. It's be nice to see as many as the men's game at our games. It will give us a lot of energy.

What's the best part of game day for you?
The best part of game day is the locker room when the music's playing and we're all dancing, singing and having a blast before we go out on the court.

What is your role on the team this season?
My role on the team is to score and distribute the ball, make plays and lock down on D, play the best player on the opposing team, get everybody involved and get everybody's confidence up.

Who on the team has a shot or a move that makes you stop and stare?
Ieasia [Walker] will pull different stuff out of her bag all the time. We've seen a lot of different stuff this summer. Esh is always doing something new.

Which teammate always breaks the tension in the locker room?
Charenee [Stephens] always gets us laughing. Even me sometimes, saying stuff or quotes or we like to impersonate each other sometimes.

Who on the team has the best nickname?
Me, of course - Young Ke$ha. No, actually, I say Markeshia [Grant]. When she first got here, she moved so slow so we called her Granny. And her last name's Grant, so we just stuck with it.

Why did you choose to come to South Carolina?
I chose to play at USC because I believed in Coach Staley and her coaching staff. I wanted to play in the SEC and be a part of history.

What has been your favorite team community service project?
We went to a middle school and ran camp with the kids. We showed them how to pass and dribble. We played duck-duck-goose and stuff like that, so I felt like a kid all over again.

What is the best thing about one or more of your roommates?
My roommates are Kayla [Brwer], Ieasia [Walker] and Jewel [May]. It's fun because Ieasia likes to decorate, so she decorated her room for Halloween. Kayla is into hair, so when we need to get our hair done Kayla's got us. And, Jewel cooks, so I think I'm in a pretty good room.

So, what do you bring to the table then?
Music. I've got slow jams, Nicki Minaj, Wayne, everything.

What's the last song or artist you added to your iPod?
I think Little Wayne or maybe Nicki Minaj. She's got a new song out that I really like.

What's the nicest thing you did for someone today?
Today I actually took Samone [Kennedy] to class. I could've gone to sleep, but I wanted to take her to class so I could ride around in my car and blast my music.

What do you do when you're mad?
Listen to music. I listen to music or I might get on the phone with my close friends and talk to them, somebody that makes me laugh to make me forget about everything.

Who is the first person you want to tell good news to?
My mom or my best friend

Do you have any nervous habits?
I like to sway when I'm nervous. So, I sway or might keep looking away.

What two things do you grab if you have to leave the house ASAP?
My phone and my charger - I don't go anywhere without my charger and my phone.

Miss a day? Catch up on the Gamecock 360 series:
Ramon Galloway
Marah Strickland
RJ Slawson
Ieasia Walker
Sam Muldrow
Jewel May
Tonight's season opener doubleheader of basketball is also Military Appreciation Day. Two special guests from Fort Jackson will serve as honorary captains for the evening.

Women's Basketball Honorary Captain:
Sergeant Chentile T. Jackson

Sergeant Jackson was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and graduated from Douglas Byrd Senior High School in 2006. She joined the Army in October 2006, attended basic training at Fort Jackson, then proceeded to Advanced Individual Training at Fort Lee, Virginia, for 92Y (Unit Supply Specialist) training. Her first duty station was at Fort Drum, New York. While stationed at Fort Drum she did a 12 month rotation to Iraq with HHC 10th Mountain Division. Now in Columbia at Fort Jackson she is the active Supply Sergeant for
the 3rd Battalion of the 60th Infantry Regiment.

Men's Basketball Honorary Captain:
Command Sergeant Major Brian M. Stall

Command Sergeant Major Stall hails from Newport News, Virginia. He entered the Army in February 1984; attended Basic Training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and received Advanced Individual Training at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana.

He has served with the 75th Ranger Regiment; the Ranger Training Brigade; the 2nd Infantry Division; the 82nd Airborne Division; the 25th Infantry Division; the 4th Infantry Division, the 101st Airborne Division, and is currently the Basic Combat Training Center of Excellence and Fort Jackson Command Sergeant Major.

His duty and leadership positions include Battalion Legal Clerk, Battalion Legal NCO, Regimental Legal NCOIC, Light Leaders Course Instructor, Long Range Surveillance Team Leader, Ranger Instructor, Rifle Platoon Sergeant, Rifle Platoon Leader, Rifle Company Executive Officer, Battalion Operations NCOIC, Rifle Company First Sergeant, Headquarters and Headquarters Company First Sergeant, Brigade Operations SGM, Battalion CSM, Brigade CSM, Infantry Division CSM.

CSM Stall is a graduate of the Primary Leadership Development Course, the Basic and Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Courses for Infantrymen, the Sergeants Major Academy - Class 52 and the Army's Force Management Course.

He is authorized to wear the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star (2nd Awd), the Meritorious Service Medal (5th Awd), the Army Commendation Medal (5th Awd), the Army Achievement Medal, the Good Conduct Medal (8th Awd), the National Defense Service Medal (w/Bronze Star), the Kosovo Campaign Medal (w/2 x Bronze Stars), the Iraq Campaign Medal (w/4 x Bronze Stars), the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medals, the Korean Defense Service Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal (w/Bronze Star), the NCO Professional Development Ribbon (w/Numeral 4), the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon (w/Numeral 4), the NATO Medal for Kosovo (w/Bronze Star), the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the Valorous Unit Award (2nd Awd), the Meritorious Unit Award (2nd Awd), the Ranger Tab, the Expert Infantryman's Badge, the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Master Parachutist Badge, the Air Assault Badge, German and Korean Jump Wings.

A big thank you to both SGT Jackson and CSM Stall for their service to our country and for being honorary captains tonight. Go Gamecocks!

- Brittany Lane, Spurs Up Blog

Gamecock 360: Marah Strickland

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The Gamecock 360 series continues today with junior guard Marah Strickland from Maryland.

Marah Strickland2.jpgThe team adopted the theme "We Rise" this season. What does that mean to you?
This season our motto of "We Rise" means always being strong and together and knowing to always fight through whatever adversity comes our way this year.
How much does having a good home crowd affect the team?
Having a good home crowd is the best feeling imaginable. It's really exciting to know that your fans are there to support you and they want you to win just as bad as you want to win the game.

What's the best part of game day for you?
The best part of game day for me is hearing that pre-game speech from Coach Staley. It's so exciting. It gets you mentally as well as physically prepared for the game. It's the best feeling.

What is your role on the team this season?
I think my role this year is to be a team leader. I'm an upperclassman, and I come in here with a lot of knowledge of other playing experiences. I just can't wait to help the team to many victories.

How do you know when Coach Staley is really happy about a play?
You know Coach Staley's really happy about a play when she does her fist pump. She turns and says "YES!" It's her signature move.

Who on the team has a shot or a move that makes you stop and stare?
I don't think there's just one person. Our person has a lot of really athletic players. I like Keisha's [Sutton] drive. I think she could pretty much drive on anybody. So, every time I see her taking it to the basket, I know it's going in.

Which teammate always breaks the tension in the locker room?
Ashley Bruner always breaks the tension in the locker room. She's always got something funny to say, or she's laying on the ground, or there's some crazy movie she's acting out. She's wild.

Who on the team has the best nickname?
Granny has the best nickname - Markeshia Grant. I gave her that nickname, so I personally like it the best. It's because she acts like an old lady, sometimes she talks like an old lady. But, everybody started to call her Granny.

Why did you choose to come to South Carolina?
I decided to come here to play at South Carolina because I was excited to play under Coach Staley. When I came on my official visit, I met with the girls and there was a great atmosphere.

What has been your favorite team community service project?
Last year, me and a small group of the girls went to an elementary school and got to read to the kids and play with them at recess, play basketball with them. That was really fun and exciting.

What is the best thing about one or more of your roommates?
My roommates this year are Markeshia Grant, Valerie Nainima and Ebony Wilson. The best thing about living with my roommates is that they are very neat and clean, and I love that. So, it works well.

What's the last song or artist you added to your iPod?
I don't have an iPod, so the last song that I thought about downloading was Linkin Park's Numb. I like that song.

What's the nicest thing you did for someone today?
I held the door for a lot of people today.

What do you do when you're mad?
When I'm really mad, I call my mom and dad and talk to them, and I write in a journal.

Who is the first person you want to tell good news to?
The first person I want to tell really great news to is my mother.

Do you have any nervous habits?
Nervous habits? No, I don't really have any nervous habits.

What two things do you grab if you have to leave the house ASAP?
Two things I grab are my keys and my cell phone.

Miss a day? Catch up on the Gamecock 360 series:

RJ Slawson -  Video
Ieasia Walker -   Blog    Video
Sam Muldrow -   Blog    Video
Jewel May - Video
Gamecock Athletics will be honoring our armed services with two upcoming Military Appreciation Days. The first will be at this Friday's basketball doubleheader with the women vs. No. 5 Xavier at 6:30 PM followed by the men at 9:00 PM vs. Elon.

In honor of Veteran's Day on Thursday, we'll be honoring Gamecock fans who have served our country with a photo slideshow on the videoboard at the basketball games. To have your photo on the board, send in a photo of yourself or your loved ones who are veterans or active duty military to

A few thousand troops from Fort Jackson will be in attendance for the basketball games Friday as well. Looking forward to it!

- Brittany Lane, Spurs Up Blog

For tickets to Friday's basketball games or the Nov. 20th football game vs. Troy, call 1-800-4SC-FANS or order online.

Gamecock 360: Ieasia Walker

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Gamecock 360 is series on South Carolina basketball running first in The State every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday over the next four weeks. Keep an eye out for your Gamecocks!

How much does having a good home crowd affect the team?
Having a good home crowd gets everybody pumped up and helps us play better. We feel like we're playing for more than just ourselves; we're playing for our crowd as well.

What's the best part of game day for you?
The best part of game day for me is getting ready for it. You think about it all day, so when it gets there and it's time to play, you just leave it all on the floor.

What is your role on the team this season?
My role this year is probably a little more than last year. I can play the point, the 2 or the 3. I think she [Coach Staley] wants me to be more of a leader and a scorer. So, that's different from last year, and I'll have to pick it up on the scoring end.

How do you know when Coach Staley is really happy about a play?
She'll give you a look. She'll give you a compliment. And, you feel good about yourself and hope it'll keep going that way.

Who on the team has a shot or a move that makes you stop and stare?
Marah [Strickland] has the best shot. You just want to watch it because it's so pretty. And, she usually makes, like, 80 percent of her 3-pointers.

Which teammate always breaks the tension in the locker room?
Either Ashley [Bruner] or Charenee [Stephens] because they just joke 24/7. So, there's never a tense moment when they're around.

Why did you choose to come to South Carolina?
I chose to play here because I didn't want to pass up the opportunity of playing for these coaches. They've done a lot, and I want to do at least half of what they did.

What has been your favorite team community service project?
At the end of last year, we moved equipment out of a warehouse into another one. All the [South Carolina] teams were there, and it was just fun bonding while moving that for the community.

What is the best thing about one or more of your roommates?
Jewel May, La'Keisha Sutton and Kayla Brewer. The funniest thing is Jewel. She makes this moaning noise when she gets up, and it's so funny. She does it all night, and she does it in the morning. You just want to strangle her, but it's so funny because she doesn't do it intentionally, but it's hilarious.

What's the last song or artist you added to your iPod?
Jay-Z, definitely.

And, why haven't you made the CD for Jewel so she can put music on her iPod?
Because I don't have any CDs, so I haven't made the CD yet.

What's the nicest thing you did for someone today?
I sat down and had lunch with some of the practice players.

What do you do when you're mad?
I just try to take a moment and think about why I'm mad and if it's worth being mad and wasting time.

Who is the first person you want to tell good news to?
My mom. She's texts me all day and calls me 24/7. She's always bothering me, so that has to be the first person I call.

Do you have any nervous habits?
I shake a lot or my hands will shake.

What two things do you grab if you have to leave the house ASAP?
Some money and my phone

As the men's basketball team takes on Kentucky Wesleyan in an exhibition game tonight, it will be the competition debut of the team's new uniforms designed by Under Armour. While this is the fourth season the football team has competed in Under Armour, it is the first for several other Gamecock sports teams after South Carolina and Under Armour expanded their agreement.

Both the men's and women's basketball teams will be outfitted in Under Armour gear this season, including UA's new line of basketball shoes. I spoke with Walker Jones, Director of Sports Marketing for Under Armour, Inc., about the design process and features of the new gear. The overall process started over a year ago including an approximately 12 month long design process with involvement from coaches and athletics administrators, who provide ongoing feedback on the designs.

Jones says Under Armour takes pride in working closely with schools to include subtle details unique to the university to make the design special. They want to acknowledge the university's history, tradition, and culture. The men's team's uniform includes a graphic on the front collar of the university's Palmetto symbol inscribed with "1801" to mark the school's founding. Also, printed inside the back neck of the jersey are the words "Carolina, Forever to Thee", from SC's alma mater. A very popular item among fans so far are the men's team's Garnet Army shoes, which feature the Garnet and Black camo print used for the Garnet Army student section's t-shirts as well as the Block C logo on the tongue.

garnet army shoes.jpg  
The color development process is one of the most time-intensive parts of designing new uniforms. Under Armour is working toward pinpointing a shade of Garnet to be consistent across various South Carolina teams. In past years, with different teams' gear being manufactured by a variety of apparel companies, it has been difficult to maintain an exact shade of Garnet, something we hope to be able to achieve with more teams outfitted by one provider. Both the men's and women's teams will each have a set of Garnet, Black, and White uniforms.

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Photos courtesy of Under Armour

One of the biggest benefits of the new uniforms is something Under Armour has become very well known for - its moisture management technology. The material is designed to wick moisture away from the body, maintaining the lightweight feel of the jersey. The fabric itself is also more lightweight than others, but still maintains durability. According to Under Armour, "the uniform is 33% lighter, has 360-degree stretch, a fully ventilated back, shooter's notch at the shoulder for better range of motion, along with incredible moisture management and temperature regulation." The women's jersey has a different fit and construction than the men's including a slimmer racerback cut on the back.

The back of the women's jerseys with racerback fit

The men's team starts off the season with an exhibition tonight at 7:00 PM vs. Kentucky Wesleyan and the women play an exhibition vs. Lander tomorrow night at 7:00 PM.

The season officially opens up for the Gamecocks next Friday, November 12th, with a doubleheader - the women play No. 5 Xavier at 6:30 PM followed by the men vs. Elon at 9:00 PM. Call 1-800-4SC-FANS or go online to for tickets.

Under Armour's signature statement has carried over into the teams' goals for the season - we will protect this house!

- Brittany Lane, Spurs Up Blog


With basketball season about to tip off, I wanted to make sure everyone knew there are several different options for getting tickets. I've also linked to both basketball schedules so you can check it against your calendar & start thinking about when you can join us!

Men's Basketball

- Season Tickets: a ticket for every home game

Season tickets in the upper level of Colonial Life Arena range from $125 to $244 each depending on location and are available for anyone to purchase. Gamecock Club members may purchase season tickets in the lower bowl for $306.

There is also a Family Plan "4 for $400" option in the upper end zone, 2 adult tickets and 2 youth tickets (17 and under), that works out to less than $8 per game.

- Mini Packs: a ticket to a bundle of four games

Garnet Pack: $45
Delaware State - Wed. Dec. 1, 7 PM - Fox Sports Carolinas (Face Value - $15)
Kentucky - Sat. Jan. 22, 6 PM - ESPN (Face Value - $15)
Georgia - Sat. Feb. 12, 4 PM - SEC Network (Face Value - $15)
Tennessee- Thu. Mar. 3, 7 PM - ESPN (Face Value - $15)

Black Pack: $45
Clemson - Sun. Dec. 5, 1 PM - Fox (Face Value - $15)
Jacksonville State - Wed. Dec. 29, 7 PM - Fox Sports Carolinas (Face Value - $15)
Vanderbilt - Sat. Jan. 8, 5 PM - ESPN2 (Face Value - $15)
Florida - Wed. Feb. 9, 8 PM - SEC Network (Face Value - $15)

- Single Game Tickets: a ticket to one game

Single game tickets were on-sale as of November 1st for all non-conference games except Clemson. The Clemson game and tickets for the SEC portion of the schedule will go on sale at a later date. Single game tickets are $18 for lower level and $15 for upper level.

Women's Basketball

- Season Tickets: a ticket to every home game

Women's Basketball games are general admission at South Carolina, but with a season ticket you can have reserved seats for the entire season. Season tickets are $50 each and each season ticket account receives a free Dawn Staley bobblehead collectible.

There is also a Family Plan option - just $100 for 4 general admission tickets, which works out to less than $2 per game.

- Single Game Tickets: a ticket to one game

Single game tickets are general admission and cost $7 each.

For any of these ticket options you can call 1-800-4SC-FANS or visit the tickets section of

2010-11 Schedule:

Men's Basketball Schedule

Women's Basketball Schedule

See y'all there! Go Gamecocks!

- Brittany Lane, Spurs Up Blog

We are running a new series called "Gamecock 360°" in The State newspaper which will appear every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday over the next four weeks. The series will focus on getting to know more about our Men's Basketball and Women's Basketball student-athletes and coaches as we get the season started.

The first two of the series are out this week and showcase two seniors - Jewel May and Sam Muldrow. Keep an eye out for the Gamecocks in your morning paper!

- Brittany Lane, Spurs Up Blog

gamecock 360 ads.jpg

Basketball Preview Party theme? Protect this house

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Monday night the My Carolina Alumni Association and the Gamecock Club hosted a Basketball Preview Party for their members. The event included an autograph session, food and beverages, Cocky, the cheerleaders and the band, a silent auction, door prizes, a 3-point shot contest (sophomore guard Ieasia Walker made eight out of her 10 three point shots!), and introductions of all the players and coaches. Both head coaches, Dawn Staley and Darrin Horn, spoke to the crowd and emphasized the need to protect this house. If we protect home court and win those games, both teams could be very successful. Staley and Horn also expressed appreciation for the fans' support, both last night at the event and throughout the season. 

Folks were excited to get a glimpse of this season's new Under Armour uniforms, which you can check out in the photos on our Facebook page (more on the development of the new uniforms coming up tomorrow on Spurs Up Blog).

Both teams have exhibition games this week that are free to attend. The men play Thursday night at 7:00 PM vs. Kentucky Wesleyan and the women play on Friday night vs. Lander, also at 7:00 PM. We'll have the season openers for both teams in a doubleheader on Friday, November 12, starting at 6:30 PM with the women vs. No. 5 Xavier followed by the men at 9:00 PM vs. Elon. Get tickets by calling 1-800-4SC-FANS or order online on

See you there! Go Gamecocks!

- Brittany Lane, Spurs Up Blog


This Monday, November 1st, Gamecock Club and MyCarolina Alumni Association members have the opportunity to get a sneak peek of this season's basketball teams and celebrate the upcoming season. The event is from 6:30 - 8:00 PM at the Colonial Life Arena. Click here for more info about the event from the Alumni Association.

Members will get to meet the players and coaches from both teams, hang out with Cocky and the cheerleaders, enjoy some food and drinks, participate in some contests, and start getting excited for basketball season. 

Hope to see y'all there! You can RSVP for the event online and make sure to bring your membership card with you to get in!

Go Gamecocks!

- Brittany Lane, Spurs Up Blog

Inside the Women's Basketball schedule

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The Women's Basketball schedule was released today so I asked Coach Dawn Staley her thoughts on the scheduling process and the tough competition the Gamecocks will be facing. Click here to see the full schedule and get more information.

The first thing to realize is that the scheduling process can be long and drawn out. It often takes a good year to find and schedule non-conference opponents, negotiate guarantees, get contracts signed by both schools' athletics departments, get approvals, and then finalize the schedule.

This season, Coach Staley and the women's basketball staff needed to schedule 12 non-conference games. Short notice changes and adjustments often have to be made as teams will drop out when scheduling conflicts arise, if they're playing in a pre-season tournament for example, and also occasionally when personnel changes. Sometimes it works out for the team's benefit. This season a game vs. Illinois was a late addition to the schedule after another team from a smaller conference dropped out, further raising the competition level on the Gamecocks' schedule.

This year the way the University's final exams schedule shaped up, one game vs. N.C. State landed during exams which meant that before the schedule could be finalized, it had to go through a special approval process. The team did their research with each athlete's class schedule to make sure none of them had a direct conflict and wouldn't have their studying time adversely affected. They then submitted the schedule for approval by the athletics director, university president, and conference commissioner. Now that all those approvals have been made, the schedule can be released to the public.

In addition to Illinois and N.C. State, the Gamecocks have several games against household names- North Carolina, Clemson, Penn State, and Stanford are all on the schedule this year along with Xavier, the Gamecocks' season opener, who finished last season ranked No. 5 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. And that's just NON-conference. The SEC is one of the best women's basketball conferences in the country and the Gamecocks' schedule includes perennial powers Tennessee, LSU, and Georgia.

South Carolina will also face a lot of in-state competition at home in the Colonial Life Arena, taking on Charleston Southern, Presbyterian, and South Carolina State in addition to the Nov. 18th game vs. Clemson and an exhibition game vs. Lander on Nov. 5th.

As Coach Staley pointed out, we always strive to play a tough, competitive schedule every season and this one will be no different. Looking forward to getting started in next week!

You can get season tickets for Women's Basketball starting at just $50 for general admission or $100 for the Family Four Pack. Call 1-800-4SC-FANS or go online:

- Brittany Lane, Spurs Up Blog

Women's Basketball opens up practice

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Spurs Up Blog stopped by the basketball practice facility today for a sneak peek as the Gamecock Women's Basketball team kicked off the season with their first full team practice. Junior Guard Marah Strickland described the first practice as a "smooth transition" after the work the team has put in over the summer in conditioning and individual workouts. Coach Dawn Staley also praised the team's conditioning work over the summer enabling them to have a strong first practice and perhaps summed it up best, "We want to win."

Keep an eye on the Spurs Up Blog and for this season's schedule to be announced in the next couple weeks!

Click on the links to check out post-practice video from Strickland, junior guard La'Keisha Sutton, and Coach Staley.

Q & A With Lisa Boyer

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boyer.jpgSince she was promoted to associate head coach last week, Spurs Up Blog thought it was a perfect time to get to know a little more about women's basketball's Lisa Boyer.

What were your first thoughts when you heard about your promotion? Is it something you were hoping for or expecting?
It's something we had discussed previously, but it was a very nice surprise because I didn't know it was happening. We had discussed it, but we hadn't determined that it was going to happen or when it was going to happen.

Do you see your role changing this season with your new title?
I don't think anything is going to change. I've been with [Coach Staley] for a long time, and the responsibility factor isn't going to change. I don't think anything is going to change, really. I think it's nice to have that title, and I'm very appreciative to her for giving me that title. Dawn and I have worked so closely together that I think I know what makes her tick and what ticks her off. We're pretty similar philosophically, especially on the court. It's important that she has people around her that believe in her vision, and I'm willing to promote that.

As you said in the press release about your promotion, you've been Coach Staley's head coach, you're friends and you've been a member of her staff. In which of those roles is it easiest to deal with her?
Definitely not her playing for me [laughing]. No, that's not true. She was great. Most times, when you have a friendship, that's the foundation. There are times we have to separate that. There are times when it's business and we each have to have some thick skin. There are some things that happen in the business side of it that aren't personal. But, I know that if I really needed her for something personally that she would be there no matter what was going on at work, and vice versa. Most friendships are the easiest.

Anyone sitting around the bench area during a game might wonder about that friendship when you two exchange words. Have you always had that type of friendship, or did it take time to develop that, to use your words, "thick skin" to separate work and friendship?
We can do that mostly because I know her. I know what's going on with her in the heat of the battle. It is NOT personal, not with the kids or with the staff. It's all about trying to put our best foot forward and win that game. In retrospect, I get a little heated myself. I'm as competitive as she is. So, I can't worry about that dynamic. That's the least important dynamic that's going on at the time. The most important thing is what's happening on the floor and the relationship with the kids and what's going on with that. Because I've been around her so long, I'm always trying to balance her, especially with the players. It also helps, not just my set of eyes, but all the coaches on what's going on in the game. A lot of times Dawn is watching a specific thing, but I try to see all of it - if a kid is injured or tired. Dawn might not see that because it's away from the ball. I try to see all that. It's not rocket science, but it's just watching it. So, sometimes we have some heated exchanges because we don't always agree. But, at the end of the day, it's her team.

Coach Staley is a very public figure, so everyone feels like they know her pretty well. What do you know about her that maybe people don't immediately see or sense?
Dawn is an icon. She's approachable to the general public asking for an autograph or a photo. But, in a smaller population, Dawn can be perceived as being not as approachable. She's not like that at all. She's very gregarious, very funny, very laid back. But, there is an intimidation factor there because of her notoriety  So, you'll have people who will come up to her on the street to ask for her autograph or a photo, and she always does those things, probably because of her upbringing in USA Basketball. But, if you get in a room, in a recruiting situation and there are 300-400 coaches in there, I don't know that younger coaches come up to talk to her because they're thinking 'Oh, that's Dawn Staley.' But, if they did, it would be fine.

You've coached in both college and the pros. What are the biggest differences in the two environments?
At the pro level, it's all X's and O's. You have interaction with them as players, but they come to work and go home. They have their own lives. Here, you have an impact on their lives 24/7. It's not just a matter of what happens on the floor. We're talking about them in the classroom, what they're doing in their off time, what's going on with their families. We know a lot about them personally. It's their age, too. They're here when they're 17 to 22 [years old], and you have a huge, huge impact on them. It's more of a growth thing, not just as a player. That's a very small part of it, when you think about it. At the end of the day, when they graduate, they're adults.

What is the thing you most want your players to have learned from you when they graduate and leave your program?
I hope some of the things they get from our program are that there are no short cuts, that hard work has to be done every day and that you've got to be willing to put in the time if you want to get things back out of life. Sometimes as athletes, they've been catered to and they've had a lot of success. As they go out in the world, there might be some things that they have to overcome. I hope that they've got the discipline and dedication and some kind of confidence that they will get through it, come out on the other end and be better people for it. That's just part of life.

In that same vein, you've been both a head coach and an assistant coach. What are the things you like about each position?
As a head coach, obviously you have all the power [laughing]. That being said, you can have a lot of impact on everything, and I don't know if that's necessarily a good thing all the time. It's a lot of pressure, a lot of responsibility. But, you can shape your day, your schedule because everyone has to fall in line with what you want. The thing about being an assistant coach is that you don't have that responsibility, you don't have to take that onus on of every single problem coming back to you. As an assistant coach, it depends on who you're working for. I've worked for a lot of different coaches. At this point in my career, I take great pride in helping out a young coach - when I first started with her, she was a younger coach - kind of grow. Just because you can believe in somebody's vision, it becomes your vision. It's been a pretty cool ride, I'll say that.

Most fans have a general idea of what an assistant coach does - scouting opponents, recruiting, practice. But, can you walk us through a typical in-season day for you? What is your schedule like?
For me personally, I work out every morning, so that starts between 6:00 and 6:30. I'm usually in the office by 8:30 or 9:00. That's my time to get things done that I need to get done, because we have meetings at 10:00. That usually goes for about an hour. Practice is at noon, and that goes until 3:00 or 3:30. Depending on what's going on, whether it be scouting that I need to do - which can take me well into the evening - and how many scouts I have to do. Then, recruiting on top of that. And, there's all the little things that come up. I can't begin to tell you about all the little fires you have to put out along the way. Players walking in, you can't tell them 'I'm busy, you have to go.' You spend that time with them, even if it's 15-20 minutes, you have to do it. Phone calls come in. I could be on the phone with a coach for 45 minutes, but you have to do it. Prospects that have interest in our program send us tapes. And, if a kid sends in a tape, I feel compelled to look at it and respond to that. It's not just the kids that we're recruiting, it's the kids that want to be recruited.

And on top of that, you'll go out on a recruiting trip as well?
Absolutely, you have to go recruit. You try to plan that all ahead because you're trying not to miss games or eliminate practices. So, I'm scheduling that for myself but also for everybody else. And, scheduling [Coach Staley] is a whole other ball of wax.

Talk about how scouting opponents has changed with so many games televised and so much access to other teams' video.
For me personally, my big change was when I went to the pros and what was expected out of a pro scout. Before it wasn't as detailed, but since I was in the league, my scouting reports are pretty detailed and my expectations are pretty high. Because of Dawn's background as a pro athlete and a USA Basketball player, her expectations are pretty high. So, our kids get a pretty detailed scouting report. The thing that's changed for us is that we've had different systems of doing it, so you have to learn different ways of doing it on the computer. There's two components to a scout - you've got to break down the plays and you've got to do player personnel. For me, player personnel, especially when you're playing a new team, [takes time]. Like, in the pros, those players never changed, so that was okay. But, here, say, Tennessee is one of my scouts, I'm okay with Tennessee as a team but I have to figure out what the freshmen are going to do or what the junior transfers are going to do. And, then you have to figure out tendencies - what does a player like to do, what is she apt to do in this situation, what's their go-to play. You have to watch a ton of film. When I work out, I'm watching film because you have to find time in the day to get that in. I'm always watching film.

How many games do you like to see of a team for your scouting report?
I will probably break down three, but I've probably watched five.

What are the things that get you up in the morning excited to come to work?
I like coming to work to practice, and I'm really happy on game day. That's the exciting part. We spend a lot of time preparing these kids and all the work that goes into it. At the end of the day, it's really about the games. I like game day.

What are the things about your job or profession that keep you up at night?
Game day.

You have a love/hate relationship with game day?
Yeah, you know. Recruiting keeps me awake at night. It's a very competitive situation. We're trying to get some things done here, and I know that Dawn is not a patient person  - and I'm probably less patient. We're trying to win games here, so it's about the recruiting. Some of the things the kids do that aren't in the best interest of this team, that keeps me up at night. And, my work load. Even though I'm tired and need to sleep, I know there are things that need to be done in a certain amount of time, deadlines I have to meet.

The mentality of student-athletes seems to have changed so much in the span of your coaching career. How do you adapt your approach to recruiting to stay in touch with this generation of student-athletes?
For one thing, technologically, you have to be on task. It first started with the text messaging, which is has been taken away from us, but, emailing and Facebook are there. My approach on our staff is a little different. I don't really feel I need to stay up with their music and those types of things. I'm more into where they want to go, what they want to do with their careers. I want to talk to them about their recruiting process and give them some insight on that. A lot of time, I'm not even talking about South Carolina. I'm talking about what's about to happen to them. I think I have a lot of insight into what they're going to go through. You try to have a sense of humor with them and, obviously, be comfortable with you. I find with recruits, you have to get them to talk, and that's not easy for some kids. You have to find something that they have some interest in talking about. It's a big challenge, but if you can get them going, it works.

You spent a season with the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers. What were the biggest differences in coaching men and women?
I wasn't coaching college guys. I was coaching grown men, so that was a little different. Just like the WNBA, they were professionals and they come to work. But, there's a big part of them that, just like any other kid, it's a game for them. You have some that work hard and some that don't. You have some that compete every day and some that don't. From my experience, they were very nice to me. I was lucky enough that I was with a head coach that kept me involved with it. It's another level of competitiveness in the NBA. I can't even explain it. They're huge guys. It's big. It's physical. It's fast.

Building a program that can consistently compete in the SEC can feel like a 24/7 kind of task. When you want to "get away from it all," what do you do?
I have to tell you, it is not easy to get away from it, especially with what we're doing here and with the technology. Kids can constantly get a hold of you and you feel like you have to be in touch with them and with coaches. That can be pretty constant. I do like to read, and if I can travel, although I travel so much [with work] that's kind of lost its luster.

That was one of our questions: Do you have favorite places you like to travel when you're not working?
If I could go anywhere, it would be the beach. I mean, there's nothing better than the ocean, is there? Just listening to it and being able to sit there and just watch people or read a book. That's my ultimate choice.

Did you finish the Andre Agassi biography you were reading?
I did. I thought it was pretty good. They tried to tie things up at the end, but you can't really do that because his story is still evolving. The one just read, though, is Game Change. It was so good. It's about the election of 2008. You'll read it in three days. You won't put it down. It is an excellent read.

Is there a sport other than basketball that you're a huge fan of?

College or pro or both?
Well, I like our Gamecocks. I really want them to win. But, I really love pro football. I've always loved it. Monday Night Football is like a national holiday. Every Monday night, it's a national holiday. I can't stay awake for it, but I like it.

What is your all-time favorite movie?
I can't think of one right now. I used to like the one where the kids go on the hike for a day, with the actor that just died. [Stand By Me, SBU offers]. Yes, Stand By Me. I really liked that one. I like light-hearted ones, too.

What are you favorite shows to watch on television?
I watch late at night. I love Cake Boss. I guess because you get to know his family. I like it. I've started watching The Middle.  I like all the shows that don't have that canned laughter, like Boston Legal - although that's not on any more - and The Office. And, there's the other one Modern Family. It's pretty funny. Did you see Betty White [on Saturday Night Live] this weekend? It was hilarious.

What is your biggest pet peeve?
Waiting in line.

After a tough loss, what is the thing you do to try to make yourself feel better?
There isn't a whole lot that's going to make me feel better after a tough loss. I'll tell you this, the next day is worse than the day of. The next morning is the worst when you wake up and know that you've lost that game. That's pretty tough. It takes going to the next practice to move forward, because you've got to get to that next game. I don't know how football coaches do it with a whole week. And, it's such a short season so there's no margin of error. In basketball, you play almost 30 games so you have a little wiggle room. But, in football, not so much.

We've heard that some of your workouts are legendary. How often do you work out and what's a typical workout day for you?
I always do something cardio, and that would be anywhere from 30-45 minutes depending on what I'm working on. And, then, this past year I've started working out with Jon [Vaden, strength and conditioning coordinator for women's basketball] lifting weights, so I try to go down and work out with him three days a week. It just feels good. The thing I want to start is pilates or yoga, but I have to find a place to do it.  I don't stretch enough.

We've also heard you show your nurturing side with some gardening. What are you growing these days?
I just started last year, thought I would grow some tomatoes. When I was living in Philly, I didn't have a house. I just lived in an apartment. So, I have a yard now that I used to think I liked mowing, but the yard got big and it got really hot. This year I did something different. I got garden boxes so I don't have to dig in my ground, and I got some seeds in February. So, now I have tomato plants growing in my house that are about [a foot tall] and I have to plant them. So, it's going to be tomatoes. I will tell you one thing I like about being down here as opposed to being in Philly is that you can get fresh fruits and vegetables. That was pretty tough in Philly. I've gone blueberry picking and strawberry picking [down here], and I've enjoyed that. For the most part, I don't do a lot of gardening, though, because I'm gone so much. I'm away almost the whole month of July, so I have to ask my neighbors to water the plants every other day.

And you have to spray something on them so the bugs don't eat them.
And, I didn't do that last year and had a few bug problems. I wasn't very happy. I had these creepy crawly things, which got me nervous because it was up on the deck close to my house. I'm not much of a bug person.

Coach Staley on Her Birthday

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Staley-USA Bday.jpgWith messages of all sorts - texts, Tweets, email - pouring in from current and past players along with friends and fans to help her celebrate her "milestone" birthday, women's basketball head coach Dawn Staley sat down with Spurs Up Blog. Among a lot of laughing and her usual wit, here's what the Birthday Girl had to say.

Are you a person who loves celebrating your birthday, or do you just take it as another day?
Eh, another day.

Do you reflect at all on your birthday?
I actually don't. It really is another day. Part of the reason for that is probably that my older brother and I share a birthday. So, it's not like my own birthday. Growing up, being the youngest, you can't have anything but hand-me-downs, and then you share a birthday, too.

Wow, that's kind of tough, Coach. Still, you managed to make something of yourself.
It is [laughing]. I made it through, though. I did. I do actually treat myself to something for my birthday.

So, do you prefer treating yourself or letting other people treat you?
I like to treat myself. I don't too much like receiving, but I will treat myself, probably to something that I wouldn't normally buy.

Do you have any birthday traditions with your family or something that you've always done on your birthday?

Not really. As I've gotten older, more people make a big deal out of it other than my family. Like, people in the office make a big deal out of it. I don't.

I saw that you got a surprise in the staff's wardrobe when you got in this morning.
I did [laughing]. It was pretty good.

What was the first thing you did this morning that was specific to your birthday?
Usually I find my way to the track (to work out) for my birthday. That's not totally abnormal, but the last couple of birthdays I've made sure to work out on the track.

Is there something people have done for your birthday that is your favorite?
The players that played for me at Temple always seemed to make it special for me. When I was playing in Charlotte and coaching at Temple, they came down and surprised me with birthday cake and dinner. They've made it special.

It's probably hard for your teams to do something for your birthday since it tends to be at the end of the semester and during finals.
It is, but they always find a way to make my day special, so that's a good thing.

So, what is your cake choice?
I like strawberry shortcakes, and stuff like that. This weekend they got a strawberry pound cake, which was rather good. They actually got it from my elementary school teacher who owns a bakery now. I like red velvet cupcakes, too.

What are you doing today to celebrate?
We've got recruits and parents coming in tonight, so I'm going to do that. You can't let birthdays slow you down from doing things. But, there's a party they're planning for me Saturday. They just tell me that there's a party, because they know I don't like doing stuff like that. They had to tell me otherwise I would've found a reason not to go [laughing].

Also, last weekend, I went up to Philly. It was about 15-20 former players that got together Saturday night and cooked dinner and had cake, did the whole thing. They really made the weekend special. Friday night we got manicures and pedicures and went to Atlantic City that night, and Sunday we did brunch. That's the type of thing that really stands out.

Is this typical of you, not liking the attention, around more than birthdays, I mean?
Not at all. That's normal me. I like to be on the other end of it. I like to make people smile and surprise people.

What's your favorite thing you've done to help someone else celebrate their birthday?
I don't know. I'm usually just in on it. I'm not a great planner, but I can keep a secret. I like to know what's going on, but I don't necessarily want to be in charge.

Happy Birthday Coach Staley!

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Staley-Dunk.jpgHappy milestone birthday to one of the Gamecocks' most decorated head coaches!


Q&A with Demetress Adams

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Former Gamecock women's basketball player Demetress Adams will have a chance to compete for a roster spot on the WNBA's Atlanta Dream. The 2008 Second-Team All-SEC forward has spent the 2009-2010 season in Spain.

Adams has played in the Liga Femenina 2 in Spain, first for Iberconsulting Cáceres and most recently for Arranz-Jopisa Burgos. Playing for Iberconsulting Cáceres, Adams averaged 16.6 points and 9.1 rebounds while shooting 58.9 percent from the field over her 14 games. She quickly established herself as a prime commodity in the league with a 31-point, 15-rebound, five-block effort against Leon on Oct. 18.

Those numbers led her to Arranz-Jopisa Burgos. Through her first seven games, Adams is posting 6.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game on 55.6 percent shooting. One of her first games with the new club was a solid 15-point, 12-rebound, four-block effort against Pio XII on Feb. 1. 

Adams was in Columbia last week working out at the Gamecock Basketball Practice Facility and we had a chance to briefly catch up with her:

How did the tryout with the Dream come about?

My name was still in the draft but I couldn't play last year because of my torn ACL. So my agent got me set up with a team in the second division in Spain last fall. I played there, put up some decent numbers and went to a better team in that league. Within a month or two of playing on that new team, my agent called me and said that Atlanta wanted me to come to their training camp. In a couple of weeks, I signed the contract and I'll be heading to training camp soon.

When does camp start?

April 25th in Atlanta. They are looking for a post player and a guard.

What was the European experience like?

It was great. It gave me a chance to get myself back together and back in the swing of basketball. It also gave me a chance to experience the European style of basketball which is quite different from what I was used to in the SEC. It was really good because it made me understand the game a lot better.

How does the European style of play differ?

There's a lot more shooting, a lot of finesse. As far as comparing to the U.S., it's not as physical. A lot of team-oriented, five-on-five type of stuff.

What was the experience of living in Spain like?

I had never lived overseas before so it was quite interesting. I don't speak Spanish so having to transition to understanding Spanish was big. My first day there - just going to the grocery store - everything was so different. But I got the hang of it and now I can go in and understand exactly what the cashier is telling me.

Are you fluent in Spanish now?

Enough to get by. At basketball, I can understand what's going on, but just speaking I know enough to get by.

Any other Americans on the team?

On the first team I played on, Melissa D'Amico - she's a post player from Notre Dame. She was one American on that team, but on my new team, I'm the only American.

What city in Spain is it?



What is your living situation like?

My roommate and I share an apartment - she's a teammate of mine from Latvia. She speaks English which is good. We have a lot of fun and we're both post players so we have a lot to talk about. She's very insightful - she's a little bit older. It's good to learn about her culture and what's different in her country.

What made you come back to the States this week?

We had a five-day break and I bought a ticket because I just needed to come back for a bit. It was good to see the coaches.  A lot of stuff as a player, you can't see yourself. This was my chance to come home and get some basketball knowledge.

Do you think it will help you to be in mid-season shape?

I think it will help me. I was talking to my friend Rashanda McCants who plays for Minnesota on Facebook and asked her what I need to know. The coaches have been great and just told me that I need to be in the best possible shape because training camp is going to be so demanding. Right now I'm just working on drills and getting in shape.
What is your preparation plan for training camp? 

I'm lifting hard, shooting, getting my footwork prepared, defensively - I'm going harder in practice. I'm just going to mentally turn myself up because that's what I'll need to do in camp.

What kind of advice have you received from South Carolina's coaching staff?

They just told me that I've got to go hard in camp. For them, it's more small things like reading the defense and they are just giving me the small technical critiques.

Would you return to play in Europe?

Europe is great. If I don't make the Dream, my team will still be in the playoffs so I'll still have the opportunity to finish out with them. I'm still going to work and still going to get better. This opportunity is something I want and if by some chance, it doesn't work out, I'm still going to get better and put myself on the market for next year.

Dawn Staley in Jet Magazine

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South Carolina women's basketball coach Dawn Staley was recently spotlighted in Jet magazine:

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SEC Legends at 2010 SEC WBB Tournament

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At the 2010 SEC Women's Basketball Tournament, the SEC and Chick-Fil-A are honoring an individual from each institution as an SEC Legend. South Carolina's Legend is former volleyball player Ashley Edlund. Former Tennessee Vol and current assistant coach for the Gamecock women's basketball team Nikki McCray will be honored as well, representing Tennessee.

Edlund was a three-time first-team All-SEC setter in volleyball and four-time all-region. She led the Gamecocks to three NCAA Tournament appearances. Edlund was South Carolina's nominee for the 1999 H. Boyd McWhorter Postgraduate Scholarship and named Student-Athlete of the Year for the school in 1999. Named to the 1998 CoSIDA Academic All-District team and a three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll member, Edlund still ranks among the SEC career leaders in assists.

McCray started 101 of her 127 games at Tennessee and was named to a total of 11 All-American teams. McCray was a two-time SEC Player of the Year (94, 95) and helped Tennessee to three SEC regular season titles. She was a two-time Olympic gold medalist and played nine years in the WNBA. McCray was a three-time All-Star in the league.

WBB SEC Tournament: Gamecocks vs. Rebels

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The No. 8 seeded South Carolina Gamecocks play the opening game of the 2010 SEC Women's Basketball tournament today against the No. 9 Ole Miss Rebels. Tip-off is at noon. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Net and


Radio: 1320 AM (Columbia) or

Web Coverage:  Twitter,

Top of the Key: WBB vs. Vanderbilt

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The Gamecocks travel to Nashville, Tenn. to play in their last conference game against the Lady Commodores before they enter the first round of the SEC Tournament. Tip off is set for 1 p.m.


1320 AM (Columbia) or

Web Coverage:
Live Stats, Live Audio, Twitter, 

WBB Post-Game Blog: Distant Memory

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Once the buzzer signaled South Carolina's 65-49 loss to visiting No. 24 Georgia on Thursday night at Colonial Life Arena, head coach Dawn Staley took the microphone and addressed the crowd.

After asking the fans to honor Lauren Falohun one last time, Staley thanked the fans for their support and spoke about sticking with the Gamecocks.

"Please stick with us and times like these will be a distant memory," she said as the crowd applauded.

As Staley and the Gamecocks continue to lay the bricks of building this program, growing pains like the recent losing stretch will hopefully turn into lessons for the players.

"We'll take this and hopefully learn some things from it," said junior guard Valerie Nainima. "Hopefully, this will strengthen our bond as a team. We've just got to stay together, stay strong and keep playing hard."

"To remain disciplined, you've got to continue to do what you," said Staley. "You can't just abandon what you've been doing all season."

Few could argue that South Carolina has shown improvement since last season's 2-12 mark in the SEC. The Gamecocks have been in nearly every game they've played this season and have tripled last year's conference win total.

While losses like like Thursday's still sting, the future remains bright for the Gamecocks. South Carolina returns ten players next year from the 2009-2010 squad, including every regular starter. Perhaps times like this will be distant memories sooner rather than later.

Key Box Score
  Total FG-FGA 3 pt FG-FGA FT-FTA Rebs Pts Assts TO Blk Stl Min
G Ieasia Walker 5-13 1-5 1-2 1 12 1 1 1 2 27

The freshman guard tied her career-high in points with 12 against Georgia tonight. She scored 12 against North Carolina on Dec. 20. Her last double-digit scoring performance came against Mississippi State on Feb. 11.

Key Quote

"We're just struggling to maintain some energy. We're in a rut right now." - Dawn Staley

Top of the Key: WBB vs. No. 24 UGA

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The Gamecocks host the No. 24 Bulldogs for their final regular-season game at Colonial Life Arena on Thursday. Tip off is set for 7 p.m. South Carolina will honor Lauren Falohun as part of Senior Day prior to tip-off.

Radio:1320 AM (Columbia)

Web Coverage: Live Stats, Live Audio, Twitter

Know a Gamecock: Lauren Falohun

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Today's Know a Gamecock features women's basketball guard Lauren Falohun. A 5'9 player from Atlanta, Georgia, Falohun will be honored before Thursday's game against Georgia as part of Senior Day activities. Falohun, also known as "Cocoa", is majoring in sport & entertainment management.


What is a talent you would most like to have?

Probably to be the best dancer in the world. I dance all the time. Or to be the best fitness model in the world because every time I'm in the weight room I'm looking at my muscles.

What is your most treasured possession?

My cocoa butter, hence the nickname. I have been using it since 7th grade. It ties into everything with my personality, my hair, just everything.  [Editor: So that's the basis for your nickname?] That and my cocoa chocolate skin.

What is your greatest fear?

Losing my mom.

What do you consider your greatest achievement so far?

Graduating. One more class is all I need. Sometimes you struggle so much and then it's exciting when you get to point where you're at the end. [Editor: What's the next step after school for you?] I hope to be a personal trainer or work in sports performance.

What is your dream job?

Being a top personal trainer and owning the best franchise of sport training facilities.

What's one place you would like to visit?

Virgin Islands are pretty nice. Or maybe Paris, France.

What is one thing you would like to change about yourself?

Maybe that I would have longer hair.
What is your idea of the perfect meal?

Macaroni and cheese, greens. I don't really like bread, but if you've got some nice sweet cornbread, I'd have some of that. Some barbeque chicken. More macaroni and cheese. And mashed potatoes.

What is something you think fans would be surprised to know about you?

That I can sing.

What is one thing you'll take away from your time at South Carolina?

Just growing as a person and understanding that if things don't go your way, learning how to adjust and be a better person because of the situation. 

Top of the Key: WBB vs. Kentucky

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The Gamecocks will be on the road traveling to Lexington, Ky. to battle it out against No.16 Wildcats Sunday. Game time is set for 3 p.m. at Memorial Coliseum.

TV: FSN - Click here to find FSN in your area

Radio: 1320 AM (Columbia)

Web Coverage: Live Stats, Live Audio, Twitter

Staley Leads New Wave of Coaches -

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Check out this profile story about South Carolina women's basketball head coach Dawn Staley on - "Staley Leads New Wave of Coaches."

Dawn Staley was still a little steamed the day after her South Carolina women's basketball team let a big lead and a victory slip away Sunday. She definitely had not slept well. But she still maintained her sense of humor and her perspective.

Sometimes she can be a bit volcanic, when she needs to be. But she also knows there are times when that's absolutely not what is going to work.

"I have to blow my top on occasion if I feel it, but also remember to speak in their vernacular," Staley said of her players. "Because they really don't understand. If they understood, they would do differently. So you've got to take it down a few notches and put it in a way where they'll understand it.

"Sometimes, it's just experience. You've got to get through their growing pains. But I'm never going to put up with anyone disrespecting the game."

Dawn Staley on Chat Today at 4 p.m.

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South Carolina women's basketball coach Dawn Staley will be on this afternoon at 4 p.m. ET for a live chat. The chat is part of the site's tribute to Black History Month.

Click here to access the link for the live chat.

You can visit the site now and submit your questions for Coach Staley.

Pink Zone Game Raises Awareness

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For once, the home crowd at Colonial Life Arena was wearing something other than garnet and black.

As part of the WBCA Pink Zone initiative, South Carolina's contest on Sunday afternoon against Arkansas was a pink-out designed to raise awareness for breast cancer. Fans were encouraged to wear pink and the first 1,000 through the door received a free pink t-shirt.

WBB Post-Game Blog: Slip Away

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After a stinging loss to Mississippi State on Thursday afternoon, the Gamecocks lost another tough one Sunday at the Colonial Life Arena.

But this one might hurt worse than the last.

Arkansas rallied from a 16-point deficit in the game's closing minutes to shock the Gamecocks 72-68.  The Razorbacks chipped away with strong interior play while South Carolina could only mange seven points in the final 8:11.

"We were up big and they just kept playing," said junior guard Valerie Nainima. "They did a great job driving to the basket and executing."

"They applied a lot more pressure and we just didn't handle it," said junior Samone Kennedy.

An inability to finish off the Razorbacks doomed the Gamecocks in the end.

"We had control of the game, but we just played not to lose," said Head Coach Dawn Staley. "Arkansas was continuing playing and fighting."

As this young team continues to grow, the Gamecocks need a player to become the leader to rally the team when faced with a scenario like Sunday's.

"We don't have a leader that understands when it's time to bear down and play and get the team together," said Staley. "It's been our struggle all season long."

Key Box Score

  Total FG-FGA 3 pt FG-FGA FT-FTA Rebs Pts Assts TO Blk Stl Min
C Kelsey Bone 6-10 0-0 0-2 12 12 1 2 1 0 29

Bone posted her eighth double-double of the season with 12 rebounds and 12 points. It was the 12th time this season she has pulled down double-digit boards and the sixth time in SEC play. 

Key Stats
-The Gamecocks won the rebound battle, pulling down 41 boards to 32 for Arkansas. The 41 rebounds tied South Carolina's season high in SEC action.
-South Carolina made just two three-pointers, tying their SEC season low. The Gamecocks were 2-of-12 from three-point range.
-South Carolina shot 48% from the field, their best shooting percentage in their last nine games.

Key Quote

"[Arkansas] wanted it more than we did and they played like it." - Dawn Staley

Top of the Key: WBB vs. Arkansas

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The women's basketball team hosts the Arkansas Razorbacks on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. at Colonial Life Arena. The first 1, 000 fans in attendance will receive a free pink t-shirt. The team will be wearing special pink jerseys, which will be up for auction after the game to raise money for breast cancer research. The game will be televised on ESPN2. Carter Blackburn and Brenda Van Lengen will have the call.


Radio: 1320 AM (Columbia)

Web Coverage: Live Stats, Live Audio, Twitter

WBB Post-Game Blog: A Hard Lesson

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It was another hard lesson for this young women's basketball team.

After a hard-earned road win against No. 14 Georgia, the Gamecocks stumbled at home against Mississippi State, falling 55-53 on Thursday night.

South Carolina turned the ball over 18 times (their highest total in eight games) and shot just 34.9% from the field (their lowest in their last five games).

"It was a very winnable game, but we didn't deserve to win," said South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley. "We lost this game with our preparation."

In a game that featured a series of mini-runs by each team, it was the Bulldogs who managed to pull away with the win.

South Carolina had an opportunity to tie the game with the final possession of regulation, but Kelsey Bone's lay-up attempt with a second to go failed to drop.

Staley had been unhappy with the team's effort in practice in the days leading up to the match-up with Mississippi State.

"It's my job to get them right and they weren't right coming into the game," she said. "Our players have a responsibility too. They have to get themselves in a position to get up and play basketball games."

An instant reaction might point to Gamecock miscues in the final minute of action as crucial, but Staley and La'Keisha Sutton said the issues were apparent throughout the contest.

"It didn't come down to those plays," Staley said. "It came down to plays where things broke down."

"Throughout the whole game, different people made different mistakes," said Sutton. "It wasn't any one mistake."

Key Box Score

  Total FG-FGA 3 pt FG-FGA FT-FTA Rebs Pts Assts TO Blk Stl Min
G Ieasia Walker 4-10 2-4 0-0 5 10 2 4 0 2 27

The freshman guard recorded an SEC-season high in minutes played with 27. Walker had her highest point output since a 10-point effort against Kentucky.

Walker shot 4-of-10 from the field, including 2-of-4 from behind the arc.

Key Stats

  • -The Gamecocks out-rebounded the Bulldogs 41-29. Kelsey Bone (13) and Charenee Stephens (10) each had double-digit rebound totals.
  • -The Gamecocks had their highest positive rebound margin (+12) since out-rebounding Brown by 20.
  • -Stephens recorded her first double-double of SEC play and her second of the season with 10 rebounds and 10 points.
  • -South Carolina turned the ball over 18 times, their highest total since 18 turnovers against Kentucky on Jan. 14.

Key Quote

"We lost as a team, we won as a team. Hopefully, we'll come back better as a team on Sunday." - La'Keisha Sutton

Know a Gamecock: Ieasia Walker

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Women's basketball freshman Ieasia Walker comes to Columbia from Amityville, NY. A 5'8 guard, Walker averages 4.5 points per game for the Gamecocks and has played in all 23 games this season.

Ieasia Walker 2010 

What is your greatest achievement so far?

Winning two national championships at the AAU level.

What is your greatest fear?

Getting injured.

What is the last song you heard?

Jay-Z - What more can I say

What is the last book you read?

Does poetry count? The last thing I read was a poetry book for English class.

What is a talent you'd like to have?

I want to be a better artist.  I've always liked to draw. I can draw good, but I can't draw people really well.  I'd like to perfect that art.

What is your dream job?

To be a coach, maybe at the high school level.

What is your most treasured possession?

My iPod.I like to do sudoku puzzles and that game is on there. I have about 800 songs, videos, everything's on there.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I wish I was taller.

What is one place you'd like to visit before you die?

Hawaii - i don't know why. That's what everyone says. It looks beautiful there though.

Name three people you'd like to meet.

Kobe Bryant, Sanaa Lathan (Love and Basketball is one of my favorite movies), President Obama.

What was your favorite TV show growing up?

Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Everyone watched that.

[The Editor: Just to tie it all together - here's a clip of the Fresh Prince playing basketball. Side note - why are basketball courts always so tiny on sitcoms?]

Top of the Key: WBB vs. Mississippi State

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South Carolina hosts Mississippi State tonight at 7 p.m. at Colonial Life Arena. The acrobat, Red Panda, will perform as the halftime act. The game will not be televised, but you can listen live on 1320 AM (in Columbia) or on Brad Muller and Marcy Girton will have the call.

South Carolina (13-10, 6-5) Notes
  • Freshman Kelsey Bone is averaging 14.5 points per game, and ranks second in the SEC in rebounding with 9.3 a game.
  • The Gamecocks hold a 7-4 edge over the Lady Bulldogs in games played in Columbia.
  • In Sunday's game against No.14 Georgia, South Carolina tied its season low for points, but also yielded a season-low points in collecting a 52-42 win.
  • Valerie Nainima was the only Gamecock to reach double-figures in Sunday's contest, netting 21 points.
  • A win against Mississippi State would bring head coach Dawn Staley within four wins of her 200th as a head coach.
  • The Gamecocks only need to win two more at home to clinch their 100th all-time home win.
Mississippi State (15-9, 6-5) Notes
  • Mississippi State is 3-2 in its last five games and is 3-2 in conference road games this season.
  • As a team, the Lady Bulldogs are averaging 73.5 points per game while limiting opponents to 60.6.
  • Mississippi State is shooting 41 percent from the field.
  • Senior Alex Rack leads the Lady Bulldogs in scoring with 19.2 points per game.
  • Mississippi State holds a 15-9 advantage in the overall series. The Lady Bulldogs have won seven of the last 10 meetings.

Valerie Nainima Feature Story

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Ron Morris of The State has a great feature story on women's basketball junior guard Valerie Nainima in today's paper. Click here to read "USC's Nainima develops into star."

Now Nainima is helping lead the resurgence of the women's program at USC. She leads the team in several categories: scoring (17.7 ppg.), minutes played per game (34.7), 3-pointers (69), assists (68) and free-throw shooting (79.2 percent). She launches 3-pointers with a picture-perfect jump shot, and she is fearless in her drives to the basket. Her ball-handling skills allow her to slide into the point-guard position when needed, and her defensive prowess is as strong as anyone on the team. Beyond all that, Nainima (pronounced Nye-KNEE-muh) possesses a work ethic that has transformed her from a "little chubby girl" recruit in Fiji to potentially the best player Staley has coached. "She really is a coach's dream," Staley says.

Sunday's WBB Fan Bus Trip a Success

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The second women's basketball fan bus trip of the season brought about 50 Carolina fans to Athens to see the Gamecocks beat the No. 14 Georgia Bulldogs 52-42 on their home court on Sunday. The Gamecock faithful met at the Basketball Practice Facility and were greeted with a boxed meal from Firehouse Subs and a gift bag courtesy of South Carolina Athletics including a recyclable grocery bag, Pink Zone piggy bank, this year's media guide, a pom-pom, a women's basketball cup, and a face tattoo.

On the way to Stegeman Coliseum, everyone enjoyed their Firehouse lunch as well as cookies and fudge that a few fans brought to share with their fellow Gamecocks. During the game, the group made sure they were heard as they led the "Game - Cocks" and "U-S-C" cheer. Their efforts paid off as Carolina captured the program's first win over a top-15 team since December 13, 2005, and Coach Staley later tweeted her appreciation for the Gamecock faithful.

The excitement from the game continued on the bus, as there was a celebratory buzz on the return trip. The group watched the movie "Rudy" on the way back to Columbia, and arrived back in time for the second half of the Super Bowl. The Gamecocks look to continue their win streak this week as they host Mississippi State Thursday at 7pm and Arkansas Sunday at 3pm for the 2010 WBCA Pink Zone game.

Top of the Key: WBB vs. Georgia

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The Gamecocks head to Athens today for the first of two contests against the Georgia Bulldogs. Game time is set for 2 p.m. at Stegeman Coliseum. Listen live on 1320 AM (in Columbia) or on Brad Muller and Marcy Girton will have the call. The game is also televised on CSS.

South Carolina (12-10, 5-5) Notes
  • South Carolina's RPI is among the highest in the SEC at 32 (as of Feb. 5). Ahead of the Gamecocks are Tennessee (3), Georgia (14), Kentucky (22) and Vanderbilt (24).
  • Dawn Staley chose to use November and December as a building block for success in January by having contests against challenging teams. As a result of this, the Gamecocks' schedule is currently ranked as the eighth-toughest in the nation. Tennessee is the only team in the SEC that has faced a more strident challenge than South Carolina this season.
  • South Carolina center Kelsey Bone has proven to be among the SEC's top freshmen, leading the conference in rebounding (9.5) and ranking seventh in scoring (14.8). Bone's rebounding average ranks 39th in the nation and fourth nationally among freshmen.
  • The Gamecocks are shooting 40.9 percent from 3-point range in SEC play to lead the league.
  • South Carolina has scored in the 70s five times this season and is a perfect 5-0 in those games. Since Dawn Staley took the reins of the program, South Carolina is 10-3 in games in which it scores at least 70 points.
No. 14 Georgia (19-4, 6-4) Notes
  • The Lady Bulldogs lead the series 28-4, including victories in the last nine meetings. The last time South Carolina defeated Georgia was a 64-59 decision on Feb. 7, 2002, to close out a season sweep of the Lady Bulldogs.
  • The No. 14-ranked Georgia Lady Bulldogs look to build upon the momentum gained from a Thursday victory over No. 19 LSU. The win came after a three game losing streak.
  • Georgia's 16-0 start to begin the 2009-10 season was the Lady Bulldogs' best opening to a campaign ever.
  • Ashley Houts has played more career minutes than any other active Division I player entering 2009-10. She played 34 minutes against LSU on a sprained left ankle, and her amount of time on the court today is TBD.
  • The Lady Bulldogs fell to Auburn last weekend by 14 points. The Gamecocks swept their series with Auburn this season.

Top of the Key: WBB vs. Auburn

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The Gamecocks begin their week on the road tonight against Auburn at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum at 6 p.m. Listen live on 1320 AM (in Columbia) or on Brad Muller and Marcy Girton will have the call.

South Carolina (11-10, 4-5) Notes
  • The Gamecocks have a winning record of 5-3 against Auburn's Head Coach Nell Fortner.
  • A South Carolina victory would give the Gamecocks five SEC victories, the most since the 2008 squad collected six.
  • The Gamecocks have a 4-3 edge in the last seven meetings including the 63-49 victory in Columbia to start this season's series.
  • La'Keisha Sutton, who is hitting an SEC-best 64.7 percent from behind the arc through nine SEC contests, led the Gamecocks in points against Tennessee with 19. Sutton is third on the team in scoring at 11.3 points per game, 24th best in the SEC.
  • South Carolina guard Valerie Ninima has been the Gamecocks' leading scorer 10 times this season, during which the team has a 6-4 record. She has scored in double figures in all but one game this season.
Auburn (12-10, 3-6) Notes
  • The Tigers lead the series 19-13 and are 10-4 at Auburn.
  • The Gamecocks have not defeated the Tigers at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum since February 16, 2006.
  • Auburn is coming off a 67-53 win over ninth-ranked Georgia.
  • Tonight marks the fourth time head coach Nell Fortner has had to face another Olympic coach. She has also coached three of the four members on South Carolina's coaching staff.
  • Junior guard Allie Smalley had 12 points and 4 rebounds at South Carolina on Jan. 17, and has scored more than 20 points in each of the last two games.
  • Center senior KeKe Carrier leads the SEC in conference-only games with 3.2 blocks per game, and is coming off a 15 point, 9 rebound, 4 block effort against Georgia. She led the Tigers with 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 blocks in the last contest against USC.

Holiday Hoopla

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Here's another great gift idea for your Gamecock fan - get tickets to three basketball games, food coupons and a premium gift - all for just $58! Click here to order a Holiday Hoopla Package.

• 2 Men's Basketball tickets for Baylor, Jan. 2, 2010
• 2 Men's Basketball tickets for Vanderbilt, Jan. 16, 2010
• 2 Women's Basketball tickets for Tennessee, Jan. 31, 2010
• 2 food vouchers (hot dog, popcorn, and soda)
•1 premium gift

WBB Non-Conference: San Diego State

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Who: San Diego State Aztecs

When: November 28th, 1 p.m.

Where: U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

  • The Aztecs finished last season with a 24-9 record overall and a 13-3 mark in conference action in the Mountain West Conference. San Diego State reached the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament, losing to Stanford 77-49 after a 76-70 win over DePaul.
  • The Aztecs were picked to win the MWC this season were listed as No. 22 in Lindy's College and Sporting News' preseason polls. listed San Diego State as a "team to watch" this year.
  • San Diego State returns four starters and 10 letterwinners from last year's squad. Among the returners is last year's leading scorer and senior guard Jene Morris. Morris averaged 16.1 ppg, 2.9 rbg and 3.3 steals per game.
  • Morris was named to the preseason watch lists for both national player of the year awards the Wade Trophy and the John R. Wooden Award. She was also an honorable mention All-American last season.
  • San Diego State assistant coach Fred Chmiel was a member of South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley's staff at Temple from 2006-2008.

Season tickets for South Carolina women's basketball season tickets are on sale now at the South Carolina Athletics Ticket Office. Visit or call 800-4SC-FANS. A reserved season ticket is priced at $50. You can also purchase a pack of four general admission season tickets for just $100.

WBB Non-Conference: Notre Dame

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Who: Notre Dame Fighting Irish

When: November 27th, 1 p.m.

Where: U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

  • Notre Dame finished the '08-'09 campaign with a 22-9 record overall and a 10-6 mark in the Big East. The Fighting Irish reached the first round of the NCAA Tournament, losing 79-71 to Minnesota. Notre Dame has made 14 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.
  • Ranked at No. 4 in the first poll of the '09-'10 season, Notre Dame returns all 12 players from last year's squad that includes a starting five that has combined for 268 starts and 445 games played to date, not to mention 27 NCAA Tournament games.
  • Notre Dame was picked to finish second in the Big East behind preseason No. 1 Connecticut. Senior guards Lindsay Schrader and Ashley Barlow were selected to the preseason all Big East team. Rookie guard Skylar Diggins was an unanimous choice for Big East Preseason Player of the Year.

Season tickets for South Carolina women's basketball season tickets are on sale now at the South Carolina Athletics Ticket Office. Visit or call 800-4SC-FANS. A reserved season ticket is priced at $50. You can also purchase a pack of four general admission season tickets for just $100.

WBB Non-Conference: Oklahoma

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Who: Oklahoma Sooners

When: November 26th, 1 p.m.

Where: U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

  • From the Big 12, the Sooners finished last season with a 32-5 mark and lost to Louisville in the Final Four. Oklahoma had a 15-1 mark in conference action, but lost in the Big 12 tournament semifinals to Texas A&M.
  • Oklahoma is ranked at No. 13 in the first Associated Press poll of the season. The Sooners return three letterwinners from last year's squad, but lost superstar Courtney Paris and her sister Ashley.
  • The Paris sisters accounted for 38 percent of the Sooners' offense last year. The pair combined for over 4,000 points, 3,000 rebounds and 7,500 minutes in their careers.
  • The defending Big 12 champions were selected to finish fifth in the conference in preseason voting.
  • Oklahoma has appeared in the NCAA Tournament 10 consecutive times.

Season tickets for South Carolina women's basketball season tickets are on sale now at the South Carolina Athletics Ticket Office. Visit or call 800-4SC-FANS. A reserved season ticket is priced at $50. You can also purchase a pack of four general admission season tickets for just $100.