Date: Sunday, January 13, 2013 Time: 1 p.m. Location: Athens, Ga. Arena: Stegeman Coliseum (10,523) TV: CSS (TV: CSS (Matt Stewart, play-by-play; Joe Ciampi, analyst); ESPN3 (Outside the U.S.? Click here to watch) Radio: WISW 1320 AM (Brad Muller); GamecocksOnline.com Live Stats:GamecocksOnline.com Georgia Series: GA leads 32-7; In Athens: GA leads 14-2; In Columbia: GA leads 14-3; Neutral Site: GA leads 4-2
The Gamecock defense has held 12 of its 16 opponents to less than 50 points to rank fourth in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 47.4 points per game. South Carolina has allowed just more than 60 points just once this season.
South Carolina has found success by limiting its opponents offensive opportunities. While allowing foes to shoot 33.6 percent from the field, the Gamecocks are taking 7.0 more shots per game than their opponents. Last season's defensive effort held opponents to just 51.1 field goal attempts per game with the Gamecocks taking 6.8 more shots per contest over the course of the season.
Senior guard Sancheon White has thrived since the beginning of SEC play, averaging 7.7 points per game and a team-best 7.0 rebounds per outing. In non-conference action, she posted 5.8 points and 3.7 boards per game.
Sophomore forward Aleighsa Welch is fifth in the SEC in rebounding (8.6 rpg) and leads the league on the offensive glass (4.4). She is fourth in the conference with six double-doubles, the first of her career.
Senior guard Ieasia Walker swiped five steals against Western Carolina (Dec. 29) to become just the 13th Gamecock to amass at least 200 in her career. The three-year starter is also on track to reach the 1,000-point plateau this season, needing just 25 points to reach the mark.
Senior forward Ashley Bruner is one of 26 Gamecocks to amass 500 career rebounds and has a chance to become just the 18th to record at least 600, needing 54 to achieve that plateau.
A South Carolina Win Would...
Be the Gamecocks' second straight over Georgia, marking just the second time in school history South Carolina has won back-to-back games against the Lady Bulldogs
Make this the second season in a row that the Gamecocks opened the SEC schedule 3-1
Make it the first time since 2001-02 that the Gamecocks won their first two SEC road games.
By the Numbers
3 Categories in which senior guard Sancheon White ranks among the SEC's top 15 in league games - steals (7th, 2.0), rebounding (14th, 7.0) and blocked shots (15th, 1.0) 4 Rank in the nation for South Carolina in scoring defense as the Gamecocks have allowed just 47.4 points per game, which leads the SEC 10.0 Points per game scored by senior guard Ieasia Walker in SEC action this season after entering league play at 8.5 points per game 12 Opponents South Carolina has held under 60 points in the team's 16 games this season, including its last two SEC opponents 14 Deficit at halftime for the Gamecocks against Drexel before coming back to win in overtime, the largest deficit South Carolina has overcome since rallying from 18 points down with 8:15 to play in the first half against LSU on Jan. 6, 2011 and the largest second-half deficit overcome by the Gamecocks in the Dawn Staley era 25 Points needed by senior guard Ieasia Walker to reach 1,000 in her career 32 Free throws made by the Gamecocks at Mississippi State (Jan. 6), the most in the Dawn Staley era, the fourth-most in school history and the most ever in a road game 53.3 Percent of the Gamecocks' 60 points at Mississippi State (Jan. 6) that came from the free throw line, compared to 21.5 percent of the team's points this season coming from the charity stripe 70 Offensive rebounds by Aleighsa Welch this season, more than half of her total of 137, to lead the SEC in offensive rebounding (4.4 per game) 75.0 Percent of the team's 1,005 points this season scored by the starting lineup 546 Career rebounds by senior forward Ashley Bruner, placing her among just 26 Gamecocks to achieve the 500-rebound plateau. She needs 42 more to make the program's top-20.
The Georgia Series
The Lady Bulldogs lead the series 32-7, including a 14-2 edge in Athens, but the teams have split their last four meetings and three of the Gamecocks' seven victories have come in the Dawn Staley era, which includes a total of eight games against Georgia. South Carolina won the most recent matchup - a 59-55 decision in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals on March 2, 2012. The victory avenged the Gamecocks' narrow regular-season loss to the Lady Bulldogs, a 61-59 decision at Colonial Life Arena (Feb. 16, 2012) and the previous season's SEC Tournament quarterfinal loss (66-34). The Gamecocks last defeated the Lady Bulldogs on their home court on Feb. 7, 2010, by a score of 52-42 for what was the first win over a top-15 team in Staley's tenure.
Gamecocks' Five-Second Count
With a complementary blend of youth and experience, South Carolina opened a season 10-0 for the first time since the 1981-82 team also won its first 10 contests. The Gamecocks, now 14-2, have shown they have both inside and outside offensive options and are dominant on the glass this season while the defense has dropped off very little from last season's NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 effort. Two Gamecocks average double-figure points with three others netting 6.0 or more points per game. South Carolina ranks fifth in the nation with a +11.8 rebounding margin and has two players ranked among the SEC's top 10 rebounders. Defensively, the Gamecocks are fourth in the nation in scoring defense, yielding just 47.4 points per game. South Carolina has held 12 of its 16 opponents this season under 50 points and limited six of the 16 to under 30 percent field goal shooting, including Hampton (Nov. 22), which hit just 19.3 percent (11-57) from the field for the second-lowest opponent field goal percentage of the Staley era, and Vanderbilt (Jan. 10), which shot just 26.5 percent after coming into the game with the SEC's second-highest field goal accuracy at 45.2.
The Gamecocks are 191-231 (.453) all-time in games on enemy territory, including a 16-26 (.381) mark under head coach Dawn Staley.
South Carolina is 179-178 (.501) all-time in the month of January, including an 18-20 (.474) record under fifth-year head coach Dawn Staley. The Gamecocks are 105-75 (.583) in home games during the first month of the calendar year, including a 30-55 (.352) mark at Colonial Life Arena. South Carolina is 61-95 (.391) in January road games and 4-0 at neutral sites during the month.
Twice as Nice
South Carolina's Aleighsa Welch earned a spot on the 2012 SEC All-Freshman Team despite lacking a key resume bullet for forwards - a double-double. The sophomore has made up for last season's missing ingredient by amassing six through the team's first 16 games this season to rank second in the SEC. After narrowly missing the mark in the season opener, Welch picked up her first career double-double two games laster with a 13-point, 12-rebound effort against Savannah State (Nov. 15). She added two more at the Paradise Jam against Hampton (Nov. 22) and Florida Gulf Coast (Nov. 24) and tacked on her fourth against Drexel (Nov. 28). She made it four in five games with a 14-point/10-rebound effort at Seton Hall (Dec. 2). Welch continued her balanced dominance with a 16-point, 14-rebound effort against SC State just before the holiday break.
Welch leads the team and is third in the SEC with seven double-digit rebound games this season and also paces the Gamecocks in double-figure scoring outings with 11.
Senior Sancheon White has answered the challenge of SEC competition this season, crediting the experience she gained last year when she played just 14.8 minutes per conference contest, adding 3.6 points and 2.6 rebounds per outing. A lightning-quick, aggressive defender, White has put her mark the Gamecocks' SEC foes on both ends of the floor so far this season. She leads the team and is 14th in the league with 7.0 rebounds per SEC game while also adding 7.7 points per contest after closing out non-conference action with a 5.8 average. Defensively, White has reached her prime, swiping three steals in each of the last two games (2.0 steals per SEC contest to rank seventh in the league) and swatting away three shots against Vanderbilt (Jan. 10).
Jane of All Trades
Senior guard Ieasia Walker's ability to adapt her game to the needs of her team has been a key factor in the team's success in her four seasons in the Garnet and Black. After coming off the bench most of her freshman year, the guard's offense exploded in 2010-11 as the team's predicted offensive weapons faltered. Walker more than doubled her scoring output to a team-high 12.2 points per game, including 13.3 points per SEC contest. As a junior, the point guard shifted her focus to conducting the team, both offensively and defensively. While her scoring average dropped to 7.9 points in 2011-12, her overall productivity did not. Walker led the team with 3.2 assists per game, which helped the team generate another 6.9 points per game. In all, her offensive prowess generated 25.4 percent of the team's 61.2 points per game.
This season, Walker has shown her versatility, adding another component to her on-court effort - leadership. With six underclassmen on the roster, Walker showed patience through the non-conference season, stepping out of the spotlight to allow her younger teammates to find their way. Still, the senior has scored in double figures seven times, paced the team in assists nine times and ranks ninth in the SEC in steals per game (2.3). Her ability to read the team's needs, has yielded a box score that has two post players and a freshman guard among the team's top three scorers so far this season - a first in the Dawn Staley era. As the SEC schedule began, Walker has started to ramp up her individual offensive effort, scoring in double figures in two of the first four games to average 10.0 points in league play while handing out 3.0 assists per SEC contest.
Movin' On Up
South Carolina seniors Ashley Bruner and Ieasia Walker have made the most of their time in the Garnet and Black, posting and heading toward significant milestones while moving up the all-time leaderboards in several categories.
Bruner made the first move by becoming just the 26th Gamecock to pull down at least 500 career rebounds, hitting the mark as part of her seven-rebound outing at Seton Hall (Dec. 2). Currently 25th on the total rebounding list with 546, she can move into the top 20 with 42 more boards, which would tie her for the 20th spot with Ilona Burgrova (2005-08). With 54 more rebounds this season, Bruner will join just 17 other Gamecocks to reach 600 career boards.
Walker became just the 13th Gamecock to amass at least 200 career steals with her five against Western Carolina (Dec. 29). Currently with 205 steals, she needs just seven more to join Shaunzinksi Gortman (1999-2002) and Sharon Rivers (1980-83) in the all-time top 10. With 975 career points, Walker is on track to join the Gamecocks' 1,000-point club as the 28th member, only 11 of whom have also posted at least 200 steals.