Last Time Out
South Carolina junior Brionna Dickerson scored nine straight points in a 90-second span to spearhead an 86-47 victory over Savannah State Sunday afternoon at the Colonial Center. The Tigers battled the Gamecocks early, trailing just 18-22, before Dickerson sparked the Gamecocks on offense and the Carolina defense yielded just two points over the final seven minutes of the first half.
The Crimson Tide leads the series 14-10, but the Gamecocks have won seven of the last eight meetings, including each of the last three. South Carolina picked up a 95-35 victory over Alabama on Jan. 14, 2007, marking the largest margin of victory for the Gamecocks in a SEC game. South Carolina is 4-7 against the Tide in Tuscaloosa since the series began in 1979.
A South Carolina Win Would ...
Be the Gamecocks' fourth straight over Alabama
Be the Gamecocks' first in an SEC opener since knocking off No. 15 Mississippi State 83-79 on Jan. 9, 2003.
Give the Gamecocks a 4-7 record in SEC openers under head coach Susan Walvius.
Improve Susan Walvius' SEC regular-season record to 48-93.
South Carolina head coach Susan Walvius made a commitment to helping her team reach the NCAA Tournament this season by putting together one of the most difficult schedules in her 11 years at the helm of the Gamecock program. Her effort has paid off as South Carolina is 50th in the most recent RPI, which includes games of Jan. 8. The Gamecocks have the fifth-highest RPI in the SEC. Tennessee leads the nation, while Georgia comes in at 17. LSU is 22nd, and Vanderbilt stands at 38th. Three other teams come in under 100, and two others fall into the top 115.
After a 2006-07 season that ended with no Gamecocks averaging double-figure points, three players are currently at the mark this season. Freshman Jordan Jones leads the way with 13.1 ppg, while junior Brionna Dickerson is just behind with 12.1 ppg and Demetress Adams completes the group with 11.9 ppg. Seniors Lakesha Tolliver and Ilona Burgrova are on the verge of adding to the list, scoring 9.7 and 9.2 ppg, respectively.
Since finding her offensive rhythm with a career-high-tying 17 points against Charleston Southern, senior Ilona Burgrova has reached double-figure points in five of the next seven games. She missed extending her streak eight games by one point against UNC Asheville. Burgrova's offensive surge has come against some of the tougher opponents on the Gamecocks' schedule, which bodes well for South Carolina heading into SEC play. The center from the Czech Republic scored 11 points at No. 2 UConn and netted 15 at No. 9 Oklahoma.
Round, Round, Get Around
Junior Demetress Adams has been a multi-dimensional player for the Gamecocks and has been the team leader in either points, rebounds or assists in at least two games this season. The many facets of her game have been on full display in three of the team's last four outings. In South Carolina's 64-43 victory at arch rival Clemson on Dec. 22, she recorded her fifth double-double of the season while also matching her career high with five blocked shots and swiping a career-high six steals. Two games later, against UNC Asheville on Jan. 3, the forward narrowly missed a double-double with a team-high 12 rebounds and eight points to go along with five assists and five blocks. Adams matched that rebound total on Jan. 6 against Savannah State while also completing a her sixth double-double of the season with 11 points and adding five steals and three blocks.
Keeping Up With the Joneses
Senior Ebony Jones and freshman Jordan Jones have combined to give South Carolina outside scoring punch this season. The pair has combined to hit 61-of-147 (.415) from outside the arc this season. The duo was on fire against Jackson State. The Joneses shot 7-of-10 from 3-point range in the Dec. 7 outing, marking the third-highest team 3-point percentage in school history and the third-best in the SEC this season. In that game, each player took five shots from long range with Ebony hitting a career-high four.
Junior Demetress Adams has recorded 10 career double-doubles, and the Gamecocks are 10-0 in those games. The forward has reached the mark six times this season, leading to nearly half of the Gamecocks' victories. South Carolina is also undefeated in Adams' three career games with five or more blocked shots, including two this season, and her four career games with five or more assists, including three this season.
The Game On the Line
As a team, the Gamecocks have struggled from the free-throw line this season, hitting just 66.4 percent of their attempts. But, when the game is on the line (quite literally), South Carolina has been able to sink them, hitting 77.6 percent in the last five minutes and 83.3 percent in the final two minutes of games. The five regular starters have missed just two free throws in 17 attempts in the game's final two minutes and have hit 27-of-34 (79.4 percent) at the under five-minute mark. (See box on Page 4 for player-by-player breakdown.) Overall, that starting group is hitting just 64.2 (129-of-201) on the season.
The Gamecocks tied a school record when they held Charleston Southern to just 26 points on Dec. 4. The Lady Bucs' limited offense matched that of Bethune-Cookman on Dec. 21, 2005. South Carolina allowed Charleston Southern to shoot just 16.7 percent from the field, the second-lowest efficiency by an opponent in Gamecock history, trailing Bethune-Cookman's 14 percent accuracy.
South Carolina entered the season with a lofty defensive reputation, and having held opponents to just 34.7 percent shooting this season to rank 16th in the nation and third in the SEC, the Gamecocks are living up to those expectations. In the season opener, Saint Francis (Pa.) netted just 33 points, and the Gamecocks held Charleston Southern to a school-record tying 26 points on Dec. 4.
South Carolina allowed 70 or more points just four times this season, including two games against nationally-ranked opponents, while holding nine foes to 60 or fewer points. Last season, South Carolina yielded 70 or more points just eight times in 33 games, including six games against nationally-ranked teams, and held opponents to 60 or fewer points 16 times, including No. 7 LSU. The 2005-06 team set a school record by allowing opponents just 56.8 points per game. That season, 16 games saw opponents net 60 or fewer points while seven reached the 70-point plateau.
It's a Block Party!
Through games of Jan. 6, South Carolina was seventh in the nation with 6.53 blocked shots per game, a number that leads the SEC. The Gamecocks trail North Carolina's NCAA-best 7.9 blocks per game.
South Carolina senior Lakesha Tolliver leads the SEC in blocks per game with 2.50, a number that ranks her 20th in the nation behind Louella Tomlinson of St. Mary's (Calif.), who has swatted away 5.1 per game. Gamecock forward Demetress Adams is 36th in the country and tied for fourth in the SEC with 2.20 blocks per game.
From Way Downtown - Bang!
Freshman Jordan Jones leads the SEC and is ranked 18th in the nation with 2.87 3-point field goals made per game. The first-year guard, who has spent much of the last month at the point guard spot, is third in the league and 31st in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage, hitting 43.0 percent of her long-range shots. Robert Morris' Sade Logan lead the nation with 3.9 3-point field goals per game, while Andrea Lightfoot of Idaho State is the country's most efficient 3-point shooter at 55.4 percent (36-of-65). Karen Middleton holds the South Carolina record for 3-point field goal percentage by a freshman after hitting 43.4 percent (75-of-163) in 1987-88. Middleton holds the four best 3-point percentages in school history, including the record 46.9 percent (76-of-162), which she set as a junior in 1989-90.
As a team, the Gamecock are 24th in the nation, fourth in the SEC, with a 3-point field goal percentage of .379, trailing Maryland's NCAA-best 45.3 percent (126-of-278).
After a 2006-07 campaign that saw the Gamecock frontcourt carrying the load, South Carolina's offense this season has been more of a balance between inside and outside play. The inside quartet of Demetress Adams (179 pts), Ilona Burgrova (138 pts), Jewel May (45 pts) and Lakesha Tolliver (136 pts) has provided 33.2 of the teams 71.6 points per game (46.4%). Last season, the frontcourt accounted for 39.5 of the team's 68.6 ppg (57.8%).
Like a Broken Record
One game after etching her name in as the school record holder for blocked shots in a game with seven against UNC Wilmington on Dec. 1, senior Lakesha Tolliver completed her trifecta of blocked shot records by becoming the South Carolina career record holder with five swats against Charleston Southern on Dec. 4. Just nine games into her senior season, Tolliver's 165 career blocks has eclipsed the Michelle Murray's previous record of 148. Tolliver set the school record for single-season blocked shots in 2006-07 with 60. She has 35 so far this season.
The Adams Family
Junior Demetress Adams (Bishopville, S.C./Lee Central) leads the Gamecocks and ranks ninth in the SEC with 8.7 rebounds per game and is third on the team at 11.9 ppg ... has been the team's leading scorer three times and the leading rebounder in nine games ... has reached double figures in points in 12 games and recorded six double-doubles ... collected her sixth double-double of the season with 12 rebounds, including a career-high eight on the offensive end, and 11 points against Savannah State, adding five steals and three blocks as well ... narrowly missed a double-double against UNC Asheville with a team-high 12 rebounds and eight points to go with a team-high five assists and five blocked shots ... added a career-high six steals and a career-high tying five blocks to her 10-point/12-rebound effort at Clemson ... netted 12 points and grabbed six rebounds while handing out four assists, blocking four shots and swiping four steals against Alabama A&M ... shot a perfect 3-of-3 for nine points at No. 2 UConn ... narrowly missed a triple-double with a career-high eight assists, 13 rebounds and 12 points against Jackson State ... posted her second double-double in as many games with 11 points and 11 rebounds against Charleston Southern ... pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds and added 11 points for her second double-double of the season against UNC Wilmington ... also handed out a team-high five assists against the Seahawks to match her career high ... was a perfect 4-of-4 from the field at Florida International ... swiped four steals against Illinois while leading the team with 14 points and tying for team-high honors with five rebounds ... sank a career-high eight shots against Penn State en route to a team-high 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds as well ... just missed out on team-high honors with seven rebounds against Buffalo ... scored a career-high 21 points against Saint Francis (Pa.), including going 7-of-8 from the free throw line, and completed the double-double with a career-high tying 12 rebounds.
Know Your ABCs
Freshman Ashlie Billingslea (Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson) continues to rehab after surgery on her left knee in mid-September ... will have her progress evaluated soon to determine her status for the rest of the season.
That's Czech Mate
Senior Ilona Burgrova (Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic) is second on the team in rebounding with 6.9 boards per game and is adding 9.2 points per contest ... has scored double-digit points in seven of the last nine games ... has led the team in rebounding four times this season and has recorded five games of double-digit boards ... grabbed 10 rebounds and added seven points and a season-high three blocked shots against Savannah State ... narrowly missed her first double-double of the season with 10 boards and nine points against UNC Asheville ... scored 13 of her 15 points in the second half at No. 9 Oklahoma and handed out three assists ... added 10 points on 5-of-7 seven shooting at Clemson ... had a solid all-around game against Alabama A&M with 15 points, eight rebounds, three assists and a career-high four steals ... scored nine of her 11 points in the second half at No. 2 UConn ... hit 6-of-8 from the field for 12 points against Jackson State ... tied her career high with 17 points on 8-of-9 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds against Charleston Southern ... scored a season-high 10 points against UNC Wilmington ... grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds at Florida International, one shy of her career high, and tied her season high of eight points ... also matched her career high with a team-high four assists at FIU ... pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds against Penn State, including five on the offensive end, and tied her season high with eight points ... reached double figures with 10 rebounds against Virginia ... was solid in the season opener with eight points on 4-of-5 shooting and seven rebounds against Saint Francis (Pa.).
What Do You Serve With Brie?
Junior Brionna Dickerson (Columbia, S.C./Heathwood Hall) is second on the team with 12.1 ppg ... picked up her second-straight 18-point game with 5-of-10 shooting against Savannah State, adding a career-high six free throws ... had her most productive game since returning from her foot injury, scoring a team-high 18 points on 9-of-15 shooting against UNC Asheville ... handed out four assists to go with 10 points at Clemson ... hit 5-of-8 from the field for 12 points and swiped a career-high four steals against Alabama A&M ... returned to the lineup at No. 2 UConn after missing all or most of the previous five games with a foot injury, scoring seven points and leading the team with a career-high seven rebounds ... has reached double-figure points in three of five games this season ... scored 11 points and tied her season high with four rebounds against Penn State ... set a career-high with 27 points on 10-of-19 shooting, including 5-of-7 from 3-point range, against Virginia ... opened the season with a 17-point outing against Saint Francis (Pa.), shooting 8-of-16 from the field and handing out four assists.
My Friends Call Me Coco
Redshirt freshman Lauren Falohun (Atlanta, Ga./Pace Academy) has come off the bench in eight games ... saw a career-high 13 minutes against Savannah State, scoring her first career point on a free throw ... played a season-high nine minutes against Illinois ... grabbed a pair of rebounds in her college debut against Saint Francis (Pa.).
Senior Ebony Jones (Aiken, S.C./Aiken) has played in 13 games, including four starts ... is scoring 4.6 ppg and is the team's second-best 3-point shooter at 38.3 percent (18-of-47) ... posted eight points, including the first six of the game on back-to-back 3-pointers, and tied her career high with three rebounds against UNC Asheville ... was 3-of-5 from 3-point range in just 13 minutes against Alabama A&M ... hit a pair of 3-pointers in just 11 minutes at No. 2 UConn ... hit a career-high four 3-pointers against Jackson State, including three to stave off a Lady Tigers' rally, for a career-high 12 points ... added eight points, including two 3-pointers, against Charleston Southern ... made her first career start at Florida International and responded with career-high numbers in points (9), field goals (3), 3-point field goals (3), assists (3), steals (2) and minutes (30) ... tied her then-career high with six points on two 3-pointers against Illinois ... made her season debut against Saint Francis (Pa.).
J.J. is Dy-no-mite
Freshman Jordan Jones (Suwanee, Ga./Collins Hill) leads the team in scoring at 13.1 ppg and is shooting 43.0 percent from 3-point range ... leads the SEC and ranks 18th in the nation with 2.87 3-point field goals made per game ... has scored double-figure points in 11 games and has led the team in scoring five times, during which the Gamecocks are 4-1 ... hit 4-of-8 from 3-point range en route to 16 points and a career-high six rebounds against Savannah State before leaving with a knee injury ... netted a game-high 18 points playing the full 40 minutes at No. 9 Oklahoma ... scored a game-high 16 points, including 4-of-8 shooting from 3-point range, at Clemson ... matched her season high with 20 points against Alabama A&M, hitting a career-high six 3-pointers, one shy of the Colonial Center record ... ended her streak of nine games with at least one 3-pointer at No. 2 UConn ... reached the 20-point plateau for the first time in her career, hitting 3-of-5 3-pointers and 7-of-8 from the free-throw line against Jackson State ... scored 19 points on 4-of-9 shooting from 3-point range while grabbing four rebounds and swiping three steals against Charleston Southern ... played a tick under 40 minutes against UNC Wilmington, adding 13 points to the victory ... was named to the FIU Thanksgiving Classic All-Tournament team ... netted 18 points on 5-of-11 shooting and 6-of-7 free-throw accuracy at Florida International ... scored 13 points and grabbed two offensive rebounds against Illinois ... added 11 points to go with five rebounds against Buffalo ... exploded onto the scene with 15 points, including four 3-pointers, four assists and four steals in the season-opener against Saint Francis (Pa.), an effort that garnered SEC Freshman of the Week honors.
The Kennedy Legacy
Freshman Samone Kennedy (Birmingham, Ala./Ramsay) has played significant minutes in all 15 games, including three starts ... leads the team with 59 assists, ranking eighth in the SEC, and has scored 4.3 ppg ... handed out five assists and swiped three steals to go with six points against Savannah State ... added six points and a season-high four rebounds to the win over UNC Asheville ... handed out a team-high four assists and swiped four steals at No. 9 Oklahoma ... tied for team-high honors with four assists and added two steals to the victory at Clemson ... handed out a season-best eight assists, the fifth-most by a freshman in Gamecock history, against Alabama A&M ... grabbed three rebounds and handed out two assists at No. 2 UConn ... swiped a season-high five steals to go with five assists and six points against Jackson State ... dished out a season-high six assists against Charleston Southern ... handed out four assists against UNC Wilmington and added six points, all from the free throw line in the final two minutes of the game ... hit 5-of-7 free throws, including 3-of-4 in the final two minutes, at Florida International ... made her first career start against Illinois and handed out a season-high five assists ... netted eight points and grabbed three rebounds in a season-high 29 minutes against Penn State ... scored 13 points, handed out three assists and swiped three steals in just 20 minutes in her collegiate debut against Saint Francis (Pa.).
Jewel of the Nile
Freshman Jewel May (Conyers, Ga./Heritage) has come off the bench in 11 games and has grabbed 2.2 rebounds per game ... is scoring 4.1 points per game ... netted a season-high 14 points in just 18 minutes against Savannah State, hitting 8-of-10 from the free throw line, and grabbed four rebounds ... scored eight points on 4-of-6 shooting in 21 minutes against UNC Asheville ... scored four points on a perfect shooting afternoon (1-1 FG, 2-2 FT) at No. 9 Oklahoma ... tied her season high of three rebounds and added four points in just eight minutes at Clemson ... matched her season high with three rebounds in just nine minutes against Alabama A&M ... netted her only field goal attempt and both her free throws for six points against Jackson State ... scored a season-high five points and snagged three rebounds against Charleston Southern ... pulled down three rebounds in just three minutes at Florida International ... matched her season-high with two boards against Illinois ... added two points and two rebounds in nine minutes of action in the season opener against Saint Francis (Pa.).
A Newton of Force
Freshman Courtney Newton (Flowery Branch, Ga./Flowery Branch) suffered a knee injury against Illinois and is undergoing rehab ... has started four of five games prior to her injury ... led the team with a season-high 17 points, on 6-of-11 shooting, including three 3-pointers, and handed out four assists against Buffalo ... dished out four assists against Virginia ... opened her college career with six assists against just one turnover and scored three points against Saint Francis (Pa.).
Set the Pace
Junior transfer C.J. Pace (Snellville, Ga./Chipola College) has played in 14 games, including one start, and has scored 3.8 ppg ... snagged eight rebounds against Savannah State ... exploded for 15 points in 15 minutes against UNC Asheville, hitting 6-of-10 from the field, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range ... hit both her field goal attempts at Clemson ... crashed the boards with a game-high nine rebounds against Alabama A&M ... grabbed three rebounds at No. 2 UConn ... made her first career start against Florida International and delivered nine points on 4-of-8 shooting and swiped two steals ... grabbed a pair of rebounds against Illinois ... scored four points and pulled down two offensive rebounds against Buffalo ... made her Gamecock debut against Saint Francis (Pa.), adding four points.
And All That Jas
Freshman Jasmine Payne (Bay Springs, Miss./Stringer) has come off the bench in 12 games and averages 3.7 points and 2.0 rebounds ... added six points in just eight minutes against Savannah State ... scored six points and grabbed a season-high four rebounds in just 13 minutes against Jackson State ... played a season-high 22 minutes, adding four points, three rebounds and two blocked shots against Charleston Southern ... poured in a season-high 11 points, including 5-of-6 free throws, and grabbed four rebounds in 19 minutes against UNC Wilmington ... scored eight points, grabbed five rebounds and swiped three steals in 16 minutes off the bench against Illinois ... netted her first career points with a pair of field goals in just three minutes against Penn State ... made her collegiate debut against Saint Francis (Pa.) and picked up a steal.
Senior Lakesha Tolliver (Columbia, S.C./Dreher) has missed the last two games due to a medical condition and will be out at least one more week ... is third on the team in rebounding at 5.7 rpg and is fourth in scoring at 9.7 ppg ... became the school record holder for career blocked shots against Charleston Southern ... has reached double-figure points in seven games ... was limited by illness to just seven minutes against UNC Asheville ... scored 13 points and snagged a team-high seven rebounds at No. 9 Oklahoma ... was second on the team with seven rebounds at Clemson ... blocked four shots against Alabama A&M ... was limited to just 14 minutes by foul trouble at No. 2 UConn ... hit 4-of-5 from the field for 10 points to go with five rebounds and three blocks against Jackson State ... grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds against Charleston Southern while blocking five shots in just 22 minutes ... swatted away a school and Colonial Center record seven shots against UNC Wilmington ... also led the team with 18 points and snagged six rebounds in a career-high 30 minutes ... poured in a career-high 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting and added seven rebounds against Florida International ... hit her first 3-pointer of the season as part of a 10-point, four-assist effort against Penn State ... scored 13 points, including a perfect 7-of-7 from the free-throw line, against Buffalo ... collected her first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds against Saint Francis (Pa.).