Women's Hoops to Close Sunday Doubleheader Against No. 14/16 Texas A&M
Gamecocks host top-15 matchup at 3:30 p.m. at Colonial Life Arena.
Feb. 9, 2013
South Carolina Game Notes
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Colonial Life Arena (18,000)
$7 adult, Free youth (17 & under)
Live Video: GamecocksOnline.com
WISW 1320 AM (Brad Muller); GamecocksOnline.com
Live Stats: GamecocksOnline.com
Texas A&M Series:
- Both the men's and women's teams are accenting in pink today as part of Academy Sports Pink Game to raise awareness about breast cancer. Fans will notice various pink decorations around the arena, and the first 5,000 fans will receive a pink ribbon. Cancer survivors are invited to join Cocky in his halftime dance as well.
- While assistant coach Nikki McCray is on maternity leave following the birth of her son on Feb. 1, director of basketball operations Cynthia Jordan will be the Gamecocks' third assistant coach. There is no definitive timeline for McCray's return to the bench.
- South Carolina's No. 15 ranking in last week's Associated Press poll, which matches this week's entry, is the program's highest mark since coming in at No. 15 the week of Feb. 10, 2003.
- Through 23 games, the Gamecock defense has allowed just one opponent to score 60 or more points in a game to rank third in the country in scoring defense. South Carolina is allowing just 47.7 points per game, including just 50.6 points per SEC contest. No Gamecock opponents has scored its season average entering the game, and only four have come within 10 points of their season average. Seven have been held 30 or more points below their average, including two SEC opponents on their own home courts.
- Senior guard Ieasia Walker is swiping 2.9 steals per conference game this season to rank second in the SEC.
- With her eighth career double-double coming at Alabama (Feb. 7), senior forward Ashley Bruner became just the 18th Gamecock in school history to record at least 600. She is currently 18th all-time with 602 career boards.
A South Carolina Win Would...
- Be the Gamecocks' 100th regular-season SEC victory.
- Make the Gamecocks 9-2 in SEC play for the first time since the 2001-02 team opened league play with a 9-2 mark.
- Match the 2001-02 team's overall 21-3 start to the season.
By the Numbers
1 Offensive rebounds needed by sophomore forward Aleighsa Welch for 100 on the season, which would be just the ninth time a Gamecock reached the mark since the statistic was first collected in 1987-88 - Welch would be just the fifth individual Gamecock to get to the century mark.
4 20-win seasons for South Carolina since joining the SEC for the 1991-92 season, including this season, which is the second consecutive 20-win effort under head coach Dawn Staley
18 Gamecocks all-time who have collected 600 career rebounds since senior forward Ashley Bruner joined the group on Feb. 3 at Alabama
10 RPI for South Carolina - one of six SEC teams among the top 40
12 Points by Elem Ibiam at Alabama (Feb. 7), a career high for the sophomore, who scored all of them in an eight-minute stretch of the second half to help the Gamecocks build a 20-point lead with 7:47 to play
14 Of the last 24 Associated Press polls that have included the Gamecocks, dating back to Jan. 9, 2012, and including this week's appearance at No. 15 (the highest since Feb. 10, 2003)
29 More rebounds by the Gamecocks than the Crimson Tide (Feb. 7), a Dawn Staley era record for rebounding margin
31 Wins by South Carolina over a team ranked in the Associated Press top 15 in school history, including 18 at home and five in the Dawn Staley era
43 Points scored by the Gamecocks' four post players at Alabama (Feb. 7) - Aleighsa Welch 16, Ashley Bruner 15, Elem Ibiam 12 and Wilka Montout 0
75.7 Percent of the team's 1,385 points this season scored by the starting lineup
The Texas A&M Series
South Carolina and Texas A&M have never met in women's basketball. The Aggies' head coach Gary Blair is familiar with the Gamecock program, however, from his 10 seasons at Arkansas. In his tenure (1993-94 through 2002-03), during which Arkansas advanced to five NCAA Tournaments and missed the postseason just twice, the Razorbacks posted an 11-3 record against South Carolina.
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 20-3 overall and 8-2 in SEC action, 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. Four Gamecocks average more than nine points with two others netting 5.0 or more per game. South Carolina ranks 10th in the nation with a +10.1 rebounding margin and has three players ranked among the SEC's top 20 rebounders. Defensively, the Gamecocks are third in the nation in scoring defense, yielding just 47.7 points per game. South Carolina has held 16 of its 23 opponents this season to 50 or fewer points and limited seven of the 22 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.
Home Sweet Home
South Carolina is in its 11th season at Colonial Life Arena and enjoys a 115-57 (.669) record in that time. Overall, the Gamecocks are 360-154 (.700) all-time in home games. Head coach Dawn Staley has amassed a 50-24 (.676) home record in her fifth season at the helm.
South Carolina is ranked 29th in the country in turnovers, committing just 14.1 per game. The Gamecocks have committed 10 or fewer turnovers seven times this season, including a pair of seven-turnover games that rank among the top five in the Dawn Staley era. South Carolina has turned it over more than 15 times in a game just seven times, while the defense has forced more than 15 turnovers 15 times. The Gamecocks' 14.1 turnovers per game narrowly beats last season's mark of 14.2 as the lowest average by the program since the 1983-84 team set the school record of 8.2.
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 20-3 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 scoring average from 8.5 in non-conference play to 10.5 in SEC action. She turned up the scoring while still contributing 2.8 assists and 2.9 steals per game in league play.
In evidence that she has spent her career as an all-around contributor, Walker joins Kentucky's A'dia Mathies and Georgia's Jasmine James as the only active SEC players to have amassed at least 1,000 points in combination with 200 career assists and 200 career steals. In South Carolina history, just 11 Gamecocks have reached all three plateaus. Only five of those have more career rebounds than Walker's 441, including two who played prior to the Gamecocks joining the SEC.
Posts Up - Spurs Up
Forwards Aleighsa Welch and Ashley Bruner have been an integral part in the team's 20-3 start this season, averaging 12.2 and 9.4 points, respectively. Welch is shooting a team-best 63.9 percent from the field on the season. The duo are among the league's top 10 rebounders with Welch ranking seventh at 8.1 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 186 total rebounds have come on the offensive end (99). She is already in the program's single-season top 10 with 99 offensive boards, looking to have just the ninth season of 100 or more offensive rebounds in school history. Just five Gamecocks all-time have hit that mark.