Date: Thursday, January 26, 2012 Time: 7 p.m. Location: Columbia, S.C. Arena: Colonial Life Arena (18,000) Tickets: $7 adult, $4 youth (17 & under)>br?
TV: Fox Sports Network/SportsSouth (Dave Baker and Debbie Antonelli); ESPN3 Radio: WISW 1320 AM (Brad Muller and Marcy Girton); GamecocksOnline.com Live Stats:GamecocksOnline.com Ole Miss Series: Ole Miss leads 17-14; In Oxford: Ole Miss leads 8-4; In Columbia: SC leads 8-4; At Neutral Site: Ole Miss leads 5-2
South Carolina Notables
This is the 38th season of women's basketball at South Carolina and the Gamecocks' 21st season in the SEC.
South Carolina is second in the SEC in rebounding margin in conference games (+7.0) and has two players ranked among the league's top 20 rebounders in league games - Aleighsa Welch (12th) and Ashley Bruner (19th), despite being one of just two teams in the league with fewer than three players who stand 6-foot-1 or taller.
Through games of Jan. 22, South Carolina has an RPI of 41, which is in the top half of the SEC. Tennessee (2) lead the way with Kentucky (14), Georgia (21), LSU (29) and Florida (32) following.
South Carolina's defense, rated second in the nation in points allowed (47.4), has held an opponent to 48 or fewer points nine times this season.
The Gamecocks' five losses this season have come by an average of just 5.8 points. Three of the losses were by five or fewer points and no margin of defeat has exceeded 10 points. South Carolina's average margin of victory this season is 19.5 points.
Senior forward Charenee Stephens ranks among the program's top 25 rebounders with 521 in her career. She pulled down her career 500th as part of her six at Florida (Jan. 8), becoming just the 25th Gamecock to reach the plateau.
A South Carolina Win Would...
Be the Gamecocks' third straight over Ole Miss and their sixth in the last eight meetings.
Give the Gamecocks a 16-5 record on the season, matching the 2002-03 team's start.
Be the Gamecocks' fifth SEC win of the season, the best league start since the 2001-02 team opened 5-1 en route to a 10-4 SEC record and a spot in the NCAA Elite Eight.
By the Numbers
1 National rank for the Gamecocks in 3-point field goal percentage defense as they allow opponents to hit just 20.7 percent from beyond the arc
2 National rank for the Gamecocks in scoring defense
3 Categories in which freshman Aleighsa Welch ranks among the SEC's top 10 in league games - offensive rebounds (4th), field goal percentage (6th), and rebounds (10th)
4 Categories in which South Carolina ranks among the SEC's top three in league games, all of which are at least partially defense-related - scoring defense (3rd), 3-point field goal defense (1st), rebounding defense (2nd) and rebounding margin (2nd)
5 Gamecocks who average at least 4.0 rebounds per SEC game - Aleighsa Welch (6.9), Charenee Stephens (5.0), Ieasia Walker (4.9), Sancheon White (4.6) and Ashley Bruner (4.0)
6.9 Rebounds per game more for South Carolina than its SEC opponents this season, which ranks second in the league behind just Tennessee
7 Overtime games South Carolina has played in the Dawn Staley era, posting a 4-3 record, including this season's 65-60 win at then-#25/22 Vanderbilt (Jan. 22)
8 Points by which the Gamecocks trailed before rallying to victory at then-#25/22 Vanderbilt (Jan. 22), which was tied for the largest deficit overcome to win this season
9 Games in which South Carolina's bench has outscored its starters, during which it is 6-3
10 Starts by La'Keisha Sutton needed for her to become just the 11th player in school history to start 100 career games
11 Games in which South Carolina has allowed under 20.0 percent shooting from 3-point range, including both games against Vanderbilt which led the nation in 3-point percentage until this week
15 Games this season in which the Gamecock defense has allowed no more than 55 points
17 Games in which South Carolina has had a lead at halftime, during which the Gamecocks are 14-2
23 Career games in which senior guard La'Keisha Sutton has handed out five or more assists, including three this season, during which the Gamecocks are 14-9
29 Total points by which South Carolina has been outscored in its five losses this season, making its average margin of defeat 5.8 points compared to a 19.5-point average margin of victory
Last Time Out
South Carolina snapped a three-game skid with a gutsy 65-60 overtime win at No. 25/22 Vanderbilt, handing the Commodores their first home loss of the season. Senior guard La'Keisha Sutton led the way with 20 points, including five of the team's nine in the decisive overtime period. Defense ruled the day, however, as the Gamecocks got crucial blocked shots and stops in the waning moments of both regulation and overtime. For the second time in as many meetings, the Gamecocks held the nation's most efficient 3-point shooting team under 20.0 percent from beyond the arc. In this game, South Carolina hit eight 3s to Vandy's three en route to its 15th win of the season.
Ole Miss Series Notes
The Rebels lead the series 17-14, but the Gamecocks have won the last two meetings and five of the last seven matchups. South Carolina topped Ole Miss in the first round of the 2011 SEC Tournament after escaping Oxford with a 63-58 overtime win earlier that season. The Gamecocks hold an 8-5 edge over the Rebels in Columbia.
Three Gamecocks average double-figure points in their careers against Ole Miss. La'Keisha Sutton's 11.5 points per game leads the way, but Ieasia Walker was the top scorer in both games against the Rebels last season. The now junior guard posted a double-double in the OT win in Oxford, posting 20 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. In the SEC Tournament win, Walker went for 15 points and nine rebounds, to raise her career average against the Rebels to 10.3 points per game. Markeshia Grant rounds out the trio with 10.0 points per game against Ole Miss last season.
South Carolina won the most recent matchup with the Rebels in Columbia, posting a 64-50 victory on Jan. 28, 2010, behind four Gamecocks scoring in double figures and the team shooting 47.4 percent from the field.
Home Sweet Home
South Carolina has won 69.6 percent of its home games since the 1976-77 season (records did not include the site of games for the first two seasons of women's basketball). That 345-151 mark includes a 101-54 mark in Colonial Life Arena.
The Gamecocks turned in their most productive home season in 2001-02, winning 17 of their 18 contests in their final season playing at Carolina Coliseum. The team's best home record at Colonial Life Arena came in 2006-07 when South Carolina went 15-5. Last season, South Carolina was 14-5 at home, the fourth-most home wins in school history. So far this season, the Gamecocks are 8-2 at Colonial Life Arena.
Life in the League
South Carolina is 85-189 all-time in its 21st season SEC regular-season play. The Gamecocks are 55-82 in SEC games played in Columbia with a 30-107 record on the road. The Gamecocks are 19-20 in conference play since head coach Dawn Staley's first season in the league yielded a 2-12 mark. This season's 3-2 start to league action matched that of the 2009-10 squad as the best five-game open since the 2001-02 squad went 4-1. Overall, Staley boasts a 120-57 record in league play, including eight seasons leading her Temple teams to a 99-25 Atlantic 10 mark.
The Gamecocks are 176-177 (.499) all-time in the month of January, including a 102-74 (.580) record at home. Under head coach Dawn Staley, South Carolina is 14-19 in the first month of the year. The Gamecocks went 2-6 in Staley's first year at the helm (2008-09) and were 4-5 in each of the last two seasons. The Gamecocks are 4-3 so far this month.
Yin-Yang of 3-Point Land
Head coach Dawn Staley is fond of theorizing that the thing a team does best is also the thing it does not handle well. The inverse seems to be true for the Gamecocks when it comes to 3-point shooting this season. The Gamecocks currently lead the nation in 3-point field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to hit just 20.7 percent from the arc, but they are last in the SEC in 3-point shooting, hitting just 24.9 percent from long range.
The dichotomous relationship with the arc has not hindered South Carolina's success as its strength has overcome its weakness. The Gamecocks are 11-3 this season when making more 3-pointers than their opponent. They have shot more accurately than their opponent 12 times in 20 games this season, coming out with a 9-3 record in those outings.