Women's basketball eyes fourth seed in SEC Tournament with a win in the season finale.
Feb. 26, 2011
Game Notes in PDF Format
Sunday, February 27, 2001
Colonial Life Arena
FSN (Dave Neal and Sonya Beller)
WISW 1320 AM (Brad Muller and Marcy Girton); GamecocksOnline.com
$7 General Admission
VU leads 20-6; In Columbia: VU leads 7-4; In Nashville: VU leads 11-2; At Neutral Site: VY leads 2-0
South Carolina Notables
- South Carolina's 15.9 turnovers per game are the lowest since the 1995-96 squad turned it over just 15.7 times per game. The Gamecocks' current average is 55th-lowest in the nation and second-best in the SEC (LSU is 22nd with 14.5).
- In SEC play, junior guard La'Keisha Sutton's scoring and assists have generated 32.6percent of the team's points - 11.2 ppg by her and 8.5 ppg by teammates from her assists.
- In SEC games, sophomore guard Ieasia Walker is ranked among the league's top 10 in points per game (9th, 13.2) and steals per game (3rd, 2.8).
- Senior guard Valerie Nainima averaged 10.5 points on 55.0 (11-of-20) shooting from 3-point range over the last four games. The stretch included back-to-back season-high outings of 15 points against both Tennessee and Auburn.
- In the last three seasons, Jewel May has started all but three of the 85 games the Gamecocks have played. She has started 56 of the last 57 games, anchoring a frontcourt that has seen five different players join her there at the opening tipoff during that time.
- Through games of Feb. 25, South Carolina's strength of schedule is ranked 19th in the nation. In the SEC, only Tennessee (6) and Vanderbilt (17) are rated higher. Through games of Feb. 20, the Gamecocks had an RPI of 41, which is fifth-highest in the league, trailing Tennessee (2), Kentucky (19), Georgia (23) and Vanderbilt (28).
A South Carolina Win Would...
- Be its ninth SEC win of the season, the program's most since the 2002-03 squad finished 9-5 in league play.
- Give the Gamecocks an SEC record over .500 for the first time since 2002-03 and for just the third time in their 20 years in the league.
- Be its 17th of the season, the most since the 2006-07 squad posted an 18-15 overall record.
- Be it's fifth-straight home win over an SEC team, the most since the Gamecocks joined the league for the 1991-92 season.
- Be its 14th home win of the season, tying the 2002-03 season for the second-most in Colonial Life Arena.
- Be its second straight over Vanderbilt, making it the first consecutive Gamecock victories in the series since a home win on Jan. 3, 2002, was followed by a win in Nashville on Jan. 16, 2003.
By the Numbers
1 Gamecock who has started every game this season - Jewel May
4.23 Points more than their opponent the Gamecocks have scored per 40 minutes that sophomore guard Ieasia Walker has been on the court, the highest plus-minus margin on the team
5 Statistical categories in which junior guard La'Keisha Sutton is ranked among the SEC's top 20 in league games - scoring (19th), assists (7th), free throw percentage (7th), minutes played (7th) and assist-to-turnover ratio (10th)
7 Games this season in which junior guard La'Keisha Sutton's points and assists have accounted for at least 40 percent of the team's total points - Xavier, Charleston Southern, South Carolina State, Florida, Arkansas, Auburn, at LSU
14.0 Points per game scored by sophomore forward Ashley Bruner over the last two outings
15.9 Turnovers per game by the Gamecocks, who rank 55th (fewest) in the nation and second in the SEC (behind LSU's 14.5) in the category
20 Games in which sophomore guard Ieasia Walker has scored 10 or more points (during which the Gamecocks are 12-8), including 13 of 15 SEC games
25 Games in which the Gamecocks have held their opponent below its scoring average, during which South Carolina has a 16-9 record
.550 3-point field goal percentage by senior guard Valerie Nainima (11-20) over the last four games
The Vanderbilt Series
The Commodores lead the series 20-6, but the Gamecocks snapped an eight-game skid to Vanderbilt last season with a 73-70 win in Nashville. It was South Carolina's first win over the Commodores since 2003, when the Gamecocks also won in Nashville.
In Columbia, South Carolina is 4-7 against Vanderbilt with its last win coming in a 71-52 decision on Jan. 3, 2002, when the Gamecocks still played in Carolina Coliseum.
Seeing Into the SEC Tournament
Heading into today's season finales, nearly every seed in the SEC Tournament is still up for grabs. South Carolina is included in that mix as, depending on the outcome of up to four games (including its own), the Gamecocks could be seeded anywhere between fourth and seventh. South Carolina would be the fourth seed with a win today unless both LSU and Auburn also win their game. That scenario would yield a four-way tie for fourth place in which Vanderbilt would secure the fourth seed and the Gamecocks would be fifth. Any other combination that includes a South Carolina victory would result in the Gamecocks winning the resulting tiebreakers. A South Carolina loss today would put the Gamecocks in either the sixth or seventh seed depending on whether Georgia or Kentucky end up the tournament's No. 2 seed.
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 336-147 mark includes a 92-50 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. South Carolina is currently 13-3 at home this season.
Figuring Out February
The Gamecocks are 176-135 (.564) all-time in the month of February, including a 100-37 (.730) record at home. Under head coach Dawn Staley, South Carolina is 8-12 in the second month of the year. The Gamecocks went 1-5 in Staley's first year at the helm (2008-09), were 3-5 last season and are 4-2 so far this February.
South Carolina has had little trouble playing from the front this season, posting a 14-3 record in games it has led at halftime. The lone losses were at UC Davis (Nov. 28), at then-No. 19 Kentucky (Jan. 13) and at LSU (Feb. 24). The Gamecocks are 0-1 when tied at halftime, dropping the game against Florida in the final 16 seconds. In the three seasons since Dawn Staley took over the program, South Carolina is 32-9 after leading at halftime and 2-4 when tied at the midway point.
Three, It's a Magic Number
As Schoolhouse Rock professed many years ago, three appears to be a magical number for the Gamecocks, who are 10-3 this season when three players score double figures. That record includes a 5-2 mark in SEC action and improves to 12-3 when expanded to include games with more than three players in double figures. On the other side, South Carolina is just 4-9 when fewer than three players reach the 10-point plateau.
Regular members of the triumverate are the Gamecocks' leading scorers - Ieasia Walker and La'Keisha Sutton - who account for one of the double-figure scorers in each of the 15 games with three or more 10-point contributors. In fact, both names appear on the list in eight of the 15 games. An impressive part of the stat is that five different players have completed the group for those seven outings - Marah Strickland (4), Ashley Bruner (3), Markeshia Grant (2), Charenee Stephens (1) and Valerie Nainima (1).
Five for Fighting
After a non-conference season that saw just one game decided by 10 or fewer points, South Carolina has experienced much tighter games in SEC play. In fact, the closer the better for the Gamecocks who are 4-2 in SEC games decided by five or fewer points, compared to 4-5 in league games settled by six or more points. In the Dawn Staley era (2008-09 to present), the Gamecocks are 12-12 in five-point or closer games (4-2 this season), 9-10 when the scoring margin is between six and 10 points (2-3 this season), 15-15 in games decided by 11 to 20 points (8-3 this season) and 4-8 in games settled by more than 20 points (2-4 this season).
The South Carolina defense has held 25 of its last 27 opponents below their season scoring averages (excludes season opener against Xavier), against whom the Gamecocks are 16-9. Only Stanford (Nov. 26) and Tennessee (Feb. 17) managed to reach their averages. On average, South Carolina has held its opponents 10.8 points below their season average entering the game.
In the last nine games, five opponents have recorded more than 10 points below their average, including then-#20/24 Georgia (-20.2) and then-#15/18 Kentucky (-13.2).
Be Aggressive, B-E Aggressive
Since head coach Dawn Staley took the reins prior to the 2008-09 season, the Gamecocks have been most successful when they are aggressive on the offensive end. Under Staley, South Carolina is 28-19 when it attempts more free throws than 3-pointers, including a 9-4 mark this season. In the last three seasons, the Gamecocks are 28-14 when attempting more free throws than their opponent, including a 14-4 mark this season.
Time and a Half
The Gamecocks have played three overtime games this season, the second-straight season the program has logged multiple OT contests. Prior to the 2009-10 season, South Carolina had not played multiple OT games in a season since the 1995-96 squad logged extra time in four contests, putting up a 1-3 record in those games. Under head coach Dawn Staley, the Gamecocks are 3-2 in overtime contests, including a 2-1 mark this season.