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Gamecocks Open WNIT Play with Appalachian State Wednesday

 

March 15, 2011

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Coach Staley - Tuesday Media Availability
 
Jewel May - Tuesday Media Availability
 

Game Information

Date: Wednesday, March 17, 2011
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Columbia, S.C.
Arena: Colonial Life Arena
Tickets: $8 adult, $5 youth (17 & under)
Appalachian St. Series: SC leads 10-4; In Columbia: SC leads 4-1; In Boone: SC leads 4-0; At Neutral Site: ASU leads 1-3
Radio: WISW 1320 AM (Brad Muller and Marcy Girton); GamecocksOnline.com
Livestats: a href="http://gamecocksonline.cstv.com/gametracker/launch/gt_wbaskbl.html?event=987854&school=scar&sport=wbaskbl&camefrom=&startschool=&">GamecocksOnline.com

South Carolina Notables

  • South Carolina is making its fourth appearance in the Postseason Women's NIT. The Gamecocks have advanced as far as the third round of the event (2007).
  • This is just the second Postseason Women's NIT appearance for South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley. Her Temple team suffered an opening-game 59-57 loss to James Madison on March 15, 2001, in her debut in the event. Overall in postseason events, excluding conference tournaments, Staley is 2-7.
  • South Carolina and Appalachian State have not met since the 2003-04 season.
  • The Gamecocks' five turnovers against Ole Miss in the SEC Tournament's first round were the fewest for South Carolina since handing it over to Charlotte five times on Dec. 10, 1987.
  • Overall this season, junior guard La'Keisha Sutton's scoring and assists have generated 31.9 percent of the team's points - 10.5 ppg by her and 8.4 ppg by teammates from her assists.
  • In SEC games, sophomore guard Ieasia Walker ranked among the league's top 10 in points per game (9th, 13.3) and steals per game (3rd, 2.8). The effort earned her a spot on the All-SEC Second Team.
  • In the last three seasons, Jewel May has started all but three of the 88 games the Gamecocks have played. She has started 61 of the last 62 games, anchoring a frontcourt that saw six different players join her there at the opening tipoff during that time.

Notes

A South Carolina Win Would...
  • Be its 18th of the season, the most since the 2006-07 squad posted an 18-15 overall record.
  • Be its first posteason victory since a 102-74 victory over North Carolina A&T in the Women's NIT on March 21, 2008.
  • Be head coach Dawn Staley's first postseason victory since taking the helm for the Gamecocks.

By the Numbers
1 Gamecock who has started every game this season - Jewel May
2 Games in which one Gamecock has led the team in points, rebounds and assists - Markeshia Grant vs. Georgia (March 4) and Ieasia Walker vs. Ole Miss (March 3)
3.5 Assists per game by junior guard La'Keisha Sutton, the most by a Gamecock since Cristina Ciocan handed out 5.3 per game in 2003-04
4 Overtime games (all in SEC play) South Carolina has played this season, in which it is 2-2
15.3 Turnovers per game by the Gamecocks, who turned it over a season-low five times in the first-round SEC tournament game against Ole Miss
22 Games in which sophomore guard Ieasia Walker has scored 10 or more points (during which the Gamecocks are 13-9), including 14 of 16 SEC games
26 Games in which the Gamecocks have held their opponent below its scoring average, during which South Carolina has a 17-9 record

The Appalachian State Series
South Carolina leads the series 10-4, although the teams have not met since the 2003-04 season. The Gamecocks have won the last five meetings, including an 82-66 victory in the most recent matchup on Nov. 24, 2003, and are 4-1 against the Mountaineers in Columbia. Tonight's game is just the second between the two teams in Colonial Life Arena. The last ASU victory in the series was a 70-64 decision on Dec. 30, 1994, in Orlando, Fla.

Scouting the Mountaineers
Appalachian State brings a 25-6 overall record to Colonial Life Arena tonight, including a league-best 17-3 mark in Southern Conference play. The Mountaineers narrowly missed out on the SoCon's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament as Samford mounted a late rally to win the SoCon Tournament championship 57-54. Three Mountaineers average double-figure points, led by Ashlen Dewart's 15.9 per game. An All-SoCon selection, the 6-foot-3 sophomore forward shoots 53.4 percent from the field and is second on the team with 6.4 rebounds per outing. Close behind Dewart is SoCon Player of the Year Sam Ramirez, a 5-foot-8 senior guard who averaged 15.7 points on 43.2 percent shooting, including 37.2 percent accuracty from 3-point range. She also leads the Mountaineers with 4.2 assists per game. SoCon Defensive Player of the year Anna Freeman rounds out the trio with 14.4 points per game to go with her team-best 7.0 rebounds per outing. The 6-foot sophomore forward is 12th in the nation with 3.1 steals per game and is second on the team with 4.0 assists per game. Appalachian State head coach Darcie Vincent is in her third season at the helm of the Mountaineers, guiding the program to a 57-40 record. She is 321-141 overall in her 15th season as a head coach.

Tournament Tidbits
This is South Carolina's fourth appearance in the Postseason Women's NIT. The Gamecocks are 2-3 all-time in the event with their last appearance coming in 2008. The program is 2-1 in WNIT games played on its home court South Carolina has gone as far as the Round of 16 at the event, which it achieved in 2007. After a first-round bye, the Gamecocks knocked off Hartford 81-40 in the second round before falling to Hofstra 64-59.

Home Sweet Home
South Carolina has won 69.4 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 336-148 mark includes a 92-51 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 13-4 at home this season.

Awards Season
South Carolina sophmore guard Ieasia Walker earned All-SEC honors from both the league's coaches and the Associated Press. The Amityville, N.Y., native captured a spot on the coaches' second team and was an honorable mention selection by the AP. Walker ranked among the SEC's top 10 in both points (13.3) and steals (2.8) in league games, turning in double-figure points in 14 of 16 SEC contests this season. She was third on the team in rebounding in league games and was second in assists. Overall this season, Walker leads the team with 12.4 points and 2.4 steals per game, which rank 13th and third, respectively in the SEC. She netted double figures 22 times this season, during which the Gamecocks went 13-9, and has four 20-point games on her resume. Walker was the team's high scorer a team-high 13 times and paced the squad in assists nine times. With 20 points and 11 rebounds at Ole Miss, she recorded the program's first points-rebounds double-double by a guard since Kellindra Zachery turned in 28 points and 11 boards against NC A&T on Nov. 17, 2006.

Dropping Dimes ... And Buckets
Junior La'Keisha Sutton is on track to finish her season among the most well-rounded guards in South Carolina history. She is already among the top playmakers in recent years as her 3.5 assists per game are the most by a Gamecock since Cristina Ciocan handed out 5.3 per game in 2003-04. Adding 10.5 points per game to that assist average, Sutton could become just the 13th player at South Carolina to close her season with that many assists per game while also averaging double-figure points.

Bigger on the Boards
Statistically the most undersized team in the SEC, South Carolina is the only team in the league without a player taller than 6-foot-1. Still, the Gamecocks battled their way into the top half of the league in rebounding margin in league play (6th, -0.3). South Carolina was out-rebounded just six times in conference play, and only Tennessee managed to pull down a double-digit advantage. In fact, taking out the two games against the Lady Vols, who boast four players standing 6-foot-3 or taller, the Gamecocks had a +2.6 rebounding margin in SEC action.

Precious Gem
South Carolina has taken care of the ball this season better than any other under Dawn Staley. The Gamecocks' 15.4 turnovers per game are the lowest of the Staley era, and, in fact, are the lowest since the 1994-95 squad turned it over 15.3 times per game. In the SEC Tournament opener against Ole Miss, the Gamecocks suffered just five turnovers, making it the first single-digit turnover game since the 2010 SEC Tournament game against the Rebels when they committed nine. Five turnovers are the fewest the Gamecocks have committed in a game since handing it over to Charlotte five times on Dec. 10, 1987.

Front Runners
South Carolina has had little trouble playing from the front this season, posting a 15-4 record in games it has led at halftime. The team missed the mark after leading at UC Davis (Nov. 28), at then-No. 19 Kentucky (Jan. 13), at LSU (Feb. 24) and against Vanderbilt (Feb. 27). 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 33-10 after leading at halftime and 2-4 when tied at the midway point.

Five for Fighting
After a non-conference season that saw just one game decided by 10 or fewer points, South Carolina experienced much tighter games in SEC play. In fact, the closer the better for the Gamecocks who were 4-2 in SEC games decided by five or fewer points, compared to 4-6 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), 15-16 in games decided by 11 to 20 points (8-4 this season) and 4-9 in games settled by more than 20 points (2-5 this season).

Help Thy Neighbor
With arguably the best point guard in international women's basketball history at the helm, South Carolina has been at its best when its assist numbers are highest. In the Dawn Staley era (2008-09 through present), the Gamecocks are 30-15 when handing out 10 or more assists, including a 14-5 mark this season. When missing the 10-assist plateau, South Carolina is just 11-32 overall with Staley, including a 4-20 mark in SEC action. Those records include this season's 3-9 overall slate and 2-5 ledger in league play.

Managing March
The Gamecocks are 56-47 (.544) all-time in the month of March, including a 15-6 (.714) record at home. With most March games coming in postseason action, South Carolina is 28-30 (.483) in neutral site games in the third month of the year. Under head coach Dawn Staley, South Carolina is 1-4 in March. The Gamecocks went 0-2 in Staley's first year at the helm (2008-09), were 0-1 last season and are 1-1 so far this March.

 

 

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