Date: Sunday, January 20, 2013 Time: 1 p.m. Location: Gainesville, Fla. Arena: Stephen C. O'Connell Center (12,000) TV: FSN Florida, Fox College Sports Atlantic (Mick Hubert, play-by-play; Mark Wise, analyst) Radio: WISW 1320 AM (Brad Muller); GamecocksOnline.com Live Stats:GamecocksOnline.com Florida Series: UF leads 20-10; In Gainesville: UF leads 8-6; In Columbia: UF leads 10-4; Neutral Site: UF leads 2-0
The last four meetings between the Gamecocks and Gators have each been decided by five points or less with the teams splitting the four outcomes. Florida scored a three-point victory in 2010 and a two-point win in 2011. South Carolina responded with five-point and four-point wins to sweep the home-and-home series last season.
The Gamecock defense has held 13 of its 18 opponents to less than 60 points, including each of the last four SEC foes, to rank third in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 47.8 points per game. South Carolina has allowed just more than 60 points just once this season.
Senior guard Ieasia Walker scored her 1,000th career point as part of her 24-point outing against LSU (Jan. 17). She is the 28th member of that club and just the 12th to also compile at least 200 career steals. She is sixth all-time in career steals with 216, thanks to a five-swipe effort against the Lady Tigers.
Sophomore forward Aleighsa Welch and senior guard Ieasia Walker have provided the ideal inside-outside threat combination over the last four games, during which South Carolina is 3-1. The pair of combined to score 49.1 percent of the team's 230 points during the stretch, averaging 15.5 and 14.3 points, respectively. Both rank among the SEC's top 25 scorers in league games - Welch 16th at 13.6 ppg and Walker 24th with 12.2 ppg.
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 32 to achieve that plateau.
A South Carolina Win Would...
Make the Gamecocks 4-2 in SEC play for the first time in five seasons under head coach Dawn Staley and the first time since the 2001-02 team opened league play at 5-1.
Be the Gamecocks' third straight over Florida after last season's two-game sweep of the Gators.
By the Numbers 2 Gamecocks averaging double-figure points this season - Aleighsa Welch (12.7) and Tiffany Mitchell (10.6) 3 Gamecocks that rank among the SEC's top 20 in rebounding - Aleighsa Welch (8.3, 7th), Ashley Bruner (7.3, 10th) and Tiffany Mitchell (6.2, 18th) 4 Gamecocks to score in double figures against LSU (Ieasia Walker 24, Aleighsa Welch 14, Ashley Bruner 13, Tiffany Mitchell 12) - just the third time this season and the first in SEC action that has happened 6 Statistical categories in which the Gamecocks rank among the nation's top 25 - scoring defense (47.8 ppg, 3rd), rebound margin (+11.2, 8th), fewest fouls per game (13.4, 19th), field goal percentage defense (.345, 27th), won-lost percentage (.833, 25th) and fewest turnovers per game (14.2, 25th) 7 SEC teams with an RPI in the top 40, including South Carolina at 24 12 Gamecocks all-time who have amassed 1,000 career points and 200 career steals after senior guard Ieasia Walker joined the club with her 24-point outing against LSU (Jan. 17) 14 Opponents South Carolina has held under 60 points in the team's 18 games this season, including its last four SEC opponents 14 Weeks out of the last 21 possible that the Gamecocks have been ranked in at least one of the two major top 25 polls 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 15.5 Points per game over the last four outings scored by sophomore forward Aleighsa Welch 22 Rebounds needed by senior forward Ashley Bruner to move into the program's top 20 in career rebounds. She is already one of just 26 Gamecocks to reach the 500-rebound plateau. 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 42 Points scored by then-# 13/12 Georgia (Jan. 13), the fewest the Gamecocks have ever allowed in a losing effort 76 Offensive rebounds by Aleighsa Welch this season, more than half of her total of 149, to lead the SEC in offensive rebounding (4.2 per game) 77.0 Percent of the team's 1,111 points this season scored by the starting lineup
The Florida Series
The Gators lead the series 20-10, but the Gamecocks snapped a five-game skid to Florida by sweeping both games of the series last season. Both games went down to the wire, but South Carolina followed a nail-biting 49-44 win in Gainesville (Jan. 8) with a 62-58 victory at Colonial Life Arena (Feb. 12).
South Carolina is 6-8 all-time against Florida in Gainesville.
The Gamecocks are 191-232 (.452) all-time in games on enemy territory, including a 16-27 (.372) mark under head coach Dawn Staley.
South Carolina is 180-179 (.501) all-time in the month of January, including a 19-21 (.475) record under fifth-year head coach Dawn Staley. The Gamecocks are 106-75 (.586) in home games during the first month of the calendar year, including a 30-55 (.352) mark at Colonial Life Arena. South Carolina is 61-96 (.389) in January road games and 4-0 at neutral sites during the month.
Posts Up - Spurs Up
Forwards Aleighsa Welch and Ashley Bruner have been an integral part in the team's 15-3 start this season, averaging 12.7 and 9.2 points, respectively. Welch is shooting a team-best 66.7 percent from the field on the season and leads the SEC in field goal percentage in league games at 63.4.
The duo are among the league's top 10 rebounders with Welch ranking seventh at 8.3 per game and Bruner coming in 10th at 7.3. Both are especially proficient on the offensive glass, ranking first and seventh, respectively, in the league. More than half of Welch's 149 total rebounds have come on the offensive end (76), while 43.2 percent of Bruner's 132 have come on a Gamecock miss.
Walkin' on Sunshine
Senior guard Ieasia Walker has shown tremendous leadership in guiding this season's team that includes four newcomers among its nine active players to a 15-3 record. Walker showed patience through the non-conference season, stepping out of the spotlight to allow her younger teammates to find their way on offense while still providing dominant defense borne of quick hands and lightning fast reflexes.
In SEC play, however, Walker as re-asserted herself offensively raising her overall scoring average by an entire point over the last five games. With a 12.2 scoring average in league play, which ranks among the 25 best in the SEC, she has poured in 14.3 points per game over the last four outings. Walker turned up the scoring while still contributing 2.3 assists and 3.8 steals per game over the stretch.
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 566, she can move into the top 20 with 22 more boards, which would tie her for the 20th spot with Ilona Burgrova (2005-08). With 34 more rebounds this season, Bruner will join just 17 other Gamecocks to reach 600 career boards.
Walker joined the 1,000-point club 18 points into her 24-point performance against LSU (Jan. 17) at Carolina Coliseum. She is just the 28th Gamecock to reach the plateau and is one of just 12 in the group to pair the milestone with at least 200 career steals. Walker hit that mark with five against Western Carolina (Dec. 29). She moved into the program's top 10 in that category on the same night she scored her 1,000th point, swiping five steals from the Lady Tigers to get to 216 and climb into sixth place in school history. She needs 11 more to tie Cristina Ciocan (2000-04) in fifth place.