Women's basketball closes regular season in Sunday matchup on FSN and ESPN360.
Feb. 27, 2010
Game Notes in PDF Format
VU leads 20-5; In Nashville:
VU leads 11-1; In Columbia:
VU leads 7-4; At Neutral Site:
VU leads 2-0
WISW 1320 AM and GamecocksOnline.com (Brad Muller and Marcy Girton)
FSN (Dave Baker and Teresa Edwards)
South Carolina Notables
- This is the program's 36th season as a varsity sport.
- In SEC play, Carolina is 1-4 when failing to win the points in the paint battle and 1-7 when opponents net the same amount or more points off turnovers.
- Kelsey Bone's eight double-doubles are the most by a Gamecock freshman since Sheila Foster posted 13 in 1978-79.
- Sophomore La'Keisha Sutton leads the team with 2.9 assists per SEC game after handing out just 1.5 assists per non-conference game.
- The Gamecocks set new season lows for points in each of the last two games - 50 at #16/16 Kentucky and 49 against #24/24 Georgia
- South Carolina has two wins over nationally-ranked teams for the first time since the 2002-03 season, during which the Gamecocks were also ranked for most of the season. South Carolina was 4-7 against ranked teams that season.
- South Carolina is 170-127 (.572) all-time in February, including a 98-37 (.731) mark at home and a 55-78 slate on the road.
A South Carolina Win Would...
- Give the Gamecocks seven SEC victories, the most since the 2005-06 squad also collected seven. The 2001-02 squad collected a school-record 10 SEC wins.
- Bring Dawn Staley within four wins of her 200th as a head coach.
- Be the Gamecocks' third over a nationally-ranked team, the most by a South Carolina team in one season since the 2002-03 squad collected four. The Gamecocks were also nationally ranked for a majority of that season.
- Snap a season-long four-game skid.
Last Time Out...
South Carolina scored a season-low points for the second-straight game in a 65-49 loss to No. 24/24 Georgia Thursday night in the Gamecocks' final home game of the season. Freshman guard Ieasia Walker tied her season high with 12 points, and junior guard Valerie Nainima got her offense back on track with 18 points. The Lady Bulldogs out-rebounded the Gamecocks 37-25 and shot 50 percent from the field.
The Vanderbilt Series
The Commodores hold a 20-5 lead in the all-time series and have won the last eight meetings between the teams. South Carolina's last win over Vanderbilt was a 66-57 triumph by the then-No. 14 Gamecocks over then No. 17 Vandy on Jan. 16, 2003, in Nashville. It was Carolina's first ever win on the Commodores' home court and was the Gamecocks' second consecutive against Vanderbilt.
Strength of Schedule
Staley stuck to her philosophy of challenging her teams in November and December as a building block for success in January and beyond. The Gamecocks face 22 games against teams that participated in the 2009 postseason, including seven non-conference outings. South Carolina plays 11 games against SEC teams that played in the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
As a result of those decisions by Staley, the Gamecocks' schedule is currently ranked as the 10th-toughest in the nation (as of Feb. 26). Only Oklahoma, Rutgers, Connecticut, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma State, Stanford and Duke have faced a more strident challenge than South Carolina this season.
Figuring Out February
South Carolina is 170-127 (.572) all-time in the month of February, thanks in large part to a 98-37 (.726) record in Columbia. The Gamecocks are 55-78 on the road and 12-7 in neutral games. (There are 10 games for which the site is unknown.) The Gamecocks have been perfect in February twice in their 35 seasons of women's basketball, the most recent was a 7-0 mark in 1991 and the first was a 9-0 stretch in 1986. This season, South Carolina is 2-4 so far this month.
Adding the inside presence of freshman Kelsey Bone has dramatically increased the Gamecocks' points in the paint production from 25.9 points per game last season to 32.9 per game this season. In fact, 51.2 percent of the total points the Gamecocks have scored (1,738) have come in the paint (890).
With the increased inside focus, the stat has become one of the most telling for this season's team. South Carolina is just 2-7 overall when not winning the scoring battle inside (at Auburn and at Charlotte). That number includes a 1-4 mark in SEC play.
Another telltale stat for South Carolina has been points off turnovers. While the Gamecocks are 10th in the league in turnover margin, they have managed to overcome the stigma of that stat by limiting the points their opponents generate off those miscues. Foes have been most successful when solving the South Carolina transition defense as the Gamecocks are 2-11 overall when opponents record an equal number of or more points off turnovers than Carolina, including a 1-7 mark in SEC action. The victories were against Ole Miss and against San Diego State.
After seeing their shooting percentage rise steadily during SEC play, South Carolina has suffered a significant set-back in the last two games, finishing with season-low points (50 at Kentucky, 49 vs. Georgia). In the first of the two-game shooting struggle, the Gamecocks hit just 32.3 percent from the field, their lowest efficiency rating since Penn State allowed them to shoot 30.2 percent in the home opener. In SEC play, South Carolina is 2-7 when shooting under 40 percent from the field.
Adding to the difficulties Sunday was the Gamecocks' 3-point percentage - a season-low 8.3 percent, a number highlighted by Valerie Nainima's first game without an outside field goal in a South Carolina uniform. The Gamecocks' 3-point "Mendoza Line" appears to be 35.0 percent, which is also their season percentage. South Carolina is 9-5 when shooting 35.0 percent or higher but just 4-9 when hitting below that mark from 3-point range. In SEC play, the difference is even more striking as the Gamecocks are just 1-6 when shooting under 35.0 percent from outside the arc. The lone victory was on Feb. 7 at Georgia, during which South Carolina shot 26.7 percent from 3-point range.
South Carolina is 47-182 all-time against nationally-ranked teams, including a 2-9 mark this season. The Gamecocks are 14-86 all time in road games against top-25 teams, including a 1-3 record this season. Under current head coach Dawn Staley, the Gamecocks are 2-16 against ranked opponents.
Against ranked opponents this season, the Gamecocks have scored 58.5 points per game on 38.8 percent field goal shooting, including 29.3 percent from 3-point range, and are being out-rebounded by 1.6 boards per game. Ranked opponents are netting 68.8 points per game against the Gamecocks, hitting 44.0 perent from the field, including 35.4 percent from 3-point range.
By comparison, South Carolina has scored 68.4 points per game against unranked foes shooting 42.6 percent from the field, including 38.9 percent from 3-point range, and out-rebounding opponents by 4.6 boards per game. Unranked teams are scoring 61.7 points per game on 39.2 percent shooint, including 27.2 percent from outside the arc.
Heavenly at 70 ... SEC Seeing 60
South Carolina has scored in the 70s five times this season and is a perfect 5-0 in those games. In fact, 70 points appears to be an critical threshold for the Gamecocks, who are 6-2 when reaching the plateau. Since Dawn Staley took the reins of the program, South Carolina is 10-3 in games in which it scores at least 70.
As the Gamecocks' defensive pressure has ramped up in SEC play, South Carolina's offensive magic number falls in the 60s. Since league play began on Jan. 3, the Gamecocks are 5-2 in games in which they have scored at least 60 points, compared to a 1-4 mark when scoring less than 60.
Bone Chilling - for Opponents That Is
South Carolina center Kelsey Bone has proven to be among the SEC's top freshmen, leading the conference in rebounding (9.3) and ranking ninth in scoring (13.9), the highest-ranking first-year player in both categories. Bone's rebounding average ranks 47th in the country and fifth nationally among freshmen. She has eight double-doubles this season and has snagged double-digit rebounds 12 times. Bone has scored in double figures 19 times, including five 20-point affairs and her career-high 32 at Clemson in the second game of the season.
In the 15 games played since turning the calendar to 2010, sophomore Charenee Stephens has been in double figures in either points or rebounds nine times, including double-doubles against Mississippi State and, most recently at Kentucky. That production has put her among the SEC's best as she ranks 10th in rebounding at 7.1 boards per game and is third in the league in field goal percentage (.591).
Gamecocks on TV
South Carolina will play at least 14 games on television in 2009-10, including a pair of SEC contests on the ESPN family of networks. So far this season, the Gamecocks are 5-7 in live television games.