Date: Monday, November 14, 2011 Time: 7 p.m. Location: Columbia, S.C.. Arena: Colonial Life Arena (18,000) Tickets: $7 adults, $4 youth (17 and under) TV: None Radio: WISW 1320 AM (Brad Muller and Marcy Girton) Live Stats:GamecocksOnline.com Live Video:www.GamecocksOnline.com (Free) Alabama A&M Series: SC leads 1-0; In Columbia: SC leads 1-0; In Huntsville: Never met; Neutral Site: Never met
South Carolina Notables
This is the Gamecocks' 38th season as a varsity sport.
The 2011-12 season is the fourth at the helm for South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley. Her teams have improved by four wins each of the last two campaigns, capped by last season's 18-15 mark.
South Carolina's 71 points at Illinois were its highest offensive production since netting 77 against NC State on Dec. 12, 2010.
Counting both points and points scored off assists, senior guards Markeshia Grant and La'Keisha Sutton contributed to 34 of the Gamecocks' 71 points at Illinois (45.1 percent).
The Gamecocks' 65.2 percent field goal shooting in the second half at Illinois was its most efficient half since Dec. 2, 2009.
A South Carolina Win Would...
Give the Gamecocks a 2-0 record for the first time since the 2007-08 season.
Make the Gamecocks 26-10 in home openers (game site is not available for first two seasons).
Stretch the Gamecocks' regular-season non-conference home win streak to 10 games, dating back to last season's season opener.
Keep the Gamecocks undefeated against Southwestern Athletic Conference teams (4-0).
By the Numbers .652 Gamecocks' second-half field goal percentage at Illinois, their highest in a half since knocking down the same percentage (both 15-of-23) in the second half against High Point on Dec. 2, 2009 2 Gamecocks that stand over six-feet tall - Elem Ibiam (6-3) and Pamela Decheva (6-1) 4 Wins away from 100 at Colonial Life Arena 5 Newcomers that will take the court for the Gamecocks this season 8 Letterwinners that the Gamecocks returned from last season's Women's NIT second round team 18 Offensive rebounds for South Carolina at Illinois, more than half its total of 34, which helped the Gamecocks to 19 more possessions than the Illini 19 Margin of victory at Illinois, the most decisive road win of the Dawn Staley era and the highest margin on the road since the Gamecocks topped Clemson 64-43 on Dec. 22, 2008 50.7 Percent of points scored by the bench in the season opener at Illinois (36 of 71)
Last Time Out
South Carolina snapped a four-game non-conference road losing streak with a decisive 71-52 victory at Illinois in the season opener for both teams. The Gamecocks overcame turnovers and poor shooting in the first half to take control of the game in the second period. The team shot 65.2 percent in the second half, and Ashley Bruner netted 12 of her 14 points in the final 20 minutes of action. The Gamecocks led by as many as 30 points with seven minutes to play, which allowed head coach Dawn Staley to give her newcomers extended minutes down the stretch.
Home Sweet Home
South Carolina has won 69.3 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 337-149 mark includes a 93-52 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. Last season, South Carolina was 15-4 at home, the fourth-most home wins in school history.
In the Gamecocks' 37 seasons of women's basketball, the program is 25-10 in its first home game of the season. (The site of games is not available for the program's first two seasons.) Two of the 10 losses have come in the last three seasons, including last season's loss to then-No. 5 Xavier in the season opener. The Gamecocks followed up Staley's home debut loss in 2008 with a 63-56 win over Penn State to kick off the home slate in the 2009-10 campaign.
Hitting a High Note
The Gamecocks' 71 points at Illinois were their most since posting 77 against NC State in Colonial Life Arena on Dec. 12, 2010, and the most on the road since a 73-70 win at then-No. 22 Vanderbilt on Feb. 28, 1010. South Carolina netted 70 or more points three times last season - 77 vs. NC State (Dec. 12), 75 vs. Charleston Southern (Dec. 1) and 73 vs. Clemson (Nov. 18) - and won all three contests. In fact, the Gamecocks are 15-3 in the Dawn Staley era when reaching the 70-point plateau.
Every Which Way
All 13 players available on the Gamecock roster saw the court at Illinois with all but two scoring at least one field goal in the outing. South Carolina's offense showed just the versatility head coach Dawn Staley was hoping for it posted 71 points by all manner of scoring. The Gamecocks netted 26 points in the paint, 18 from 3-point range and 18 from the free-thow line. They posted 18 second-chance points off 18 offensive rebounds and scored 27 points off turnovers. And, finally, 14 of South Carolina's 24 field goals were assisted.