Date:Sunday, March 3, 2013 Time: 1 p.m. Location: Columbia, S.C. Arena: Colonial Life Arena (18,000) Tickets: $7 adult, Free youth (17 & under) TV: SportSouth (Dave Baker, play-by-play; Elizabeth Moreau, analyst) Live Video:ESPN3 (Outside SEC areas); Outside the U.S.? Use this link Radio: WISW 1320 AM (Brad Muller); GamecocksOnline.com Live Stats:GamecocksOnline.com Florida Series: UF leads 20-11; In Columbia: UF leads 10-4; In Gainesville: UF leads 8-7; Neutral Site: UF leads 2-0
South Carolina is in the midst of its second-straight 20-win season, just the fourth for the program since joining the SEC in 1991-92. The Gamecocks' 22 regular-season wins are just one shy of the school record of 23, set by the 1979-80 team en route to a 30-6 final ledger.
The Gamecocks committed a season-low five turnovers at Missouri (Feb. 28) to move up to 32nd in the nation in fewest turnovers per game (14.0).
Senior guard Ieasia Walker leads the SEC with 2.9 steals per conference game this season. She has swiped five or more steals in five SEC games (eight total this season) and has only nabbed less than three in a game five times in league play. Her 2.8 steals per game overall rank her 44th in the nation. The quarterback of the defense also steers the offense, ranking 14th in the league with 2.9 assists per SEC game, including three with at least five.
Freshman guard Khadijah Sessions drew the start in the last three games, averaging 12.0 points over the stretch. She tied for team-high honors with 14 points at Missouri (Feb. 28) after scoring 11 points in each of her first two starts (Ole Miss and Mississippi State).
A South Carolina Win Would...
Be the Gamecocks' school-record 11th SEC win of the season, surpassing last season's mark (and that of the 2001-02 team) of 10. The school record for conference wins in a season is 13 in the Metro Conference in 1989-90.
Be the Gamecocks' 23rd regular-season victory, matching the mark of the 1979-80 team for the most in school history.
By the Numbers 2 Entries by sophomore Aleighsa Welch in the Gamecocks' all-time top six in single-season offensive rebounds, including this season's entry of 113 among the top three 3 Opponents that have scored 60 or more points against the Gamecocks this season, helping South Carolina to No. 4 in the nation in scoring defense 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 5 New entries this season in the top five single-game rebounding margins of the Dawn Staley era after a +23 mark against Mississippi State (Feb. 24) came in at No. 5 7 SEC games this season in which the South Carolina defense has allowed 48 or fewer points (17 total for the season) 8 Consecutive turnovers forced by South Carolina against Mississippi State (Feb. 24) to hold the Bulldogs without a field goal attempt for the first four minutes of the game 14 Ranking of South Carolina in this week's Associated Press poll, the highest mark for the program since the Jan. 13, 2003, poll also had the Gamecocks at No. 14 18 Gamecocks all-time who have collected 600 career rebounds since senior forward Ashley Bruner joined the group on Feb. 3 at Alabama - her 640 career rebounds are 15th in school history (48 behind Iva Sliskovic in 14th) 17 Of the last 27 Associated Press polls that have included the Gamecocks, dating back to Jan. 9, 2012 29 More rebounds by the Gamecocks than the Crimson Tide (Feb. 7), a Dawn Staley era record for rebounding margin 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 37 Regular-season SEC wins among the program's 101 that have come in the last five seasons under head coach Dawn Staley 42 Points scored by then-No. 13/12 Georgia (Jan. 13), the fewest the Gamecocks have ever allowed in a losing effort 56.0 Percent field goal shooting by South Carolina at No. 9/7 Kentucky (Feb. 14), the second-highest mark of the Dawn Staley era 59 Rebounds by the Gamecocks at Florida (Jan. 20), the most in the Dawn Staley era 74 Points by the Gamecocks at No. 9/7 Kentucky (Feb. 14), the program's most in a regular-season SEC contest since a 79-71 defeat of Kentucky on Jan. 14, 2010
The Florida Series
The Gators lead the series 20-11 but the Gamecocks have won the last three, including this season's first meeting. South Carolina swept the 2011-12 season series and is looking to match that effort following a 52-44 win in Gainesville on Jan. 20, 2013.
Khadijah Sessions was the dominant offensive force in this season's first meeting, coming off the bench early in the game to score 15 points, including key free throws down the stretch to help seal the win. Aleighsa Welch and Tiffany Mitchell each pulled down double-digit rebounds as the Gamecocks out-boarded the Gators 59-41 to win the game despite shooting just 23.4 percent from the field.
The eight-point margin of this season's win was the largest between the two teams since Florida won going away on Feb. 22, 2009. The four previous meetings had been decided by five or fewer points with the two teams splitting the decisions.
The last meeting in Colonial Life Arena was on Feb. 12, 2012, and resulted in a 62-58 Gamecock victory. The Gators' last win in the series was a 65-63 decision in Columbia on Jan. 9, 2011.
This season's trio of seniors has helped lift South Carolina women's basketball to new heights. The group owns two of the program's four 20-win seasons in the SEC era and contributed to the Gamecocks' return to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 for the first time since 2003.
Four-year seniors Ashley Bruner and Ieasia Walker have contributed to more South Carolina victories (79) than any four-year class since the 1991-92 graduates finished with 82 wins as the Gamecocks made their SEC debut. In the last four years, the duo has helped the Gamecocks to more than one-third of the program's total SEC regular-season victories.
Individually, Bruner is one of just 18 Gamecocks all-time who have collected at least 600 career rebounds. Walker is one of just 11 in South Carolina history to accumulate 1,000 career points while also handing out 200 career assists and swiping 200 career steals. White has established herself as one of the top one-on-one defenders, routinely taking on the challenge of shutting down an opponent's top scorer to help the Gamecocks become the fourth-stingiest defense in the nation.
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 22-6 overall and 10-5 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 four others netting 4.0 or more per game. South Carolina ranks 11th in the nation with a +9.0 rebounding margin and has two players ranked among the SEC's top 10 rebounders. Defensively, the Gamecocks are fourth in the nation in scoring defense, yielding just 49.3 points per game. South Carolina has held its opponent to 50 or fewer points 19 times in 28 games and limited an opponent to under 30 percent field goal shooting seven times, 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 116-58 (.667) record in that time. Overall, the Gamecocks are 361-155 (.699) all-time in home games. Head coach Dawn Staley has amassed a 51-25 (.671) home record in her fifth season at the helm.
Musing on March
South Carolina is 59-52 (.532) all-time in the month of March, including a 6-7 (.462) record under fifth-year head coach Dawn Staley. The Gamecocks are 16-7 (.696) in home games during the third month of the calendar year, including a 3-3 (.500) mark at Colonial Life Arena. South Carolina is 13-10 (.435) in March road games and 30-33 (.476) at neutral sites during the month.