Date: Thursday, November 15, 2012 Time: 7 p.m. Location: Columbia, S.C. Arena: Colonial Life Arena Tickets: $7 Adults, $4 Youth (12 and under) TV: SportSouth (Andy Demetra and Debbie Antonelli) Radio: WISW 1329 AM (Brad Muller); GamecocksOnline.com Live Stats:GamecocksOnline.com SSU Series: SC leads 4-0 (all in Columbia)
South Carolina scored 70 or more points in its first two games this season as the team seems to be picking up where it left off in the NCAA Tournament when the Gamecocks scored 80 against Eastern Michigan before netting 72 at Purdue to advance to the Sweet 16.
The Gamecocks opened the season strong on the glass, currently holding a +17.5 rebounding margin. The team's 20-rebound advantage over Elon was the third-highest in the Dawn Staley era, trailing a 22-rebound edge over Alabama on Jan. 23, 2011, and a 21-board lead over Jacksonville on Dec. 30, 2008.
A South Carolina Win Would...
Make the Gamecocks 3-0 on the season, matching last year's start for the best of the Dawn Staley era.
Be the Gamecocks' fifth straight over Savannah State.
By the Numbers 3 Gamecocks who shared the team rebounding lead at Louisiana Tech with eight as the team out-rebounded the Lady Techsters 43-26 8 Assists handed out by Ieasia Walker at Louisiana Tech, her career high 21 Rebounds collected by sophomore Elem Ibiam (11) and freshman Asia Dozier (10) against Elon, the first time two Gamecocks have pulled down double-figure boards since March 4, 2010 24 Games in the Dawn Staley era in which the Gamecocks have scored 70 or more points, including the first two this season. The team is 21-3 in those contests. 33 Points that separated South Carolina from Elon in the home opener, the third-largest margin of victory in the Dawn Staley era and the team's fifth margin of victory to exceed 30 points since the start of the 2011-12 season 82 Points scored by the Gamecocks at Louisiana Tech, the third-highest scoring game in the Staley era
Savannah State Series Notes
The Gamecocks are 4-0 all-time against the Lady Tigers, with all four games played in Colonial Life Arena. The two teams have met each of the last two seasons. South Carolina won last season's meeting 65-39 on Dec. 21, 2011, after posting a 52-33 victory the previous season.
Scouting the Lady Tigers
Savannah State returns three starters, who were the team's top three scorers, from last season's 10-20 team. Led by junior guard Ezinee Kalu, the Lady Tigers to an 89-55 win over Columbia College in the season opener, scoring 25 points on 9-of-10 shooting. That performance picks up right where she left off last season when she averaged 17.6 points per game, taking more than 200 more shots than the next closest teammate while also leading the team with 2.8 assists per game. Junior guard Jasmine Kirkland was second on the squad at 8.7 points per game, and Blessing Uba, another junior guard, rounds out the returners with 5.2 points per game last season. The Lady Tigers will have to replace the rebounding of Jasmine Kirkland, who added 7.0 boards per contest last season.
Head coach Cedric Baker is in his 10th season at Savannah State with an 86-172 record at the school. Overall, he is 392-370 over 21 seasons.
Last Time Out
South Carolina passed its first road test of the season with an 82-58 win at Louisiana Tech Monday night. The Gamecocks pounded the ball inside early and took advantage of the resulting open 3-point shots later to upend the Lady Techsters. Five Gamecocks finished with double-figure points, while three shared the team lead with eight rebounds in another solid effort on the glass. Senior Ieasia Walker handed out a career-best eight assists, including five on the first seven baskets of the game to set the early tone.
Home Sweet Home
South Carolina is in its 11th season at Colonial Life Arena and enjoys a 106-55 (.658) record in that time. Overall, the Gamecocks are 350-152 all-time in home games. Since South Carolina first entered a conference in the 1983-84 season, the Gamecocks are 282-131 in non-conference home games.
Head coach Dawn Staley has amassed a 40-22 home record in her fifth season at the helm, including a 23-5 mark in non-conference action.
South Carolina is 76-39 (.661) all-time in games played in November. Those totals include a 38-10 record (.792) at home and a 22-17 mark (.564) on the road. Head coach Dawn Staley accounts for a 16-10 record (.615) in the first month of the season.
High Octane Offense
South Carolina's offense has been clicking early this season with the Gamecocks averaging 79.5 points through the first two outings. In head coach Dawn Staley's fifth season, South Carolina has scored 70 or more points just 24 times in her 127 games at the helm with a 21-3 record in those outings. The Gamecocks posted 70 or more points five times last season, including the first two games of the NCAA Tournament. The high flying offense has been almost just as likely to come out at Colonial Life Arena as it has on the road with 14 of the contests played at home (12-2), six on the road (6-0) and four at neutral sites (3-1).
Sharing the Load
With five active returning players and five newcomers on this season's roster, South Carolina has to rely on the talent of its youth this season, especially early, and so far, the quintet is doing a nice job of sharing the load. Through the first two games, returning Gamecocks are the leader in the major statistical categories - points per game (Ashley Bruner, 16.0), rebounds per game (Aleighsa Welch, 8.5) and assists per game (Ieasia Walker, 6.0). But the newcomers have accounted for 40.9 percent of the team's scoring (65 of 159 points) and 39.5 percent of the rebounding (32 of 81 boards). One of the four Gamecocks currently averaging double-figure points is a freshman (Tiffany Mitchell, 11.0 ppg) and two of the top four rebounders on the squad are first-year Gamecocks as well (Asia Dozier 6.0 rpg; Mitchell, 5.0 rpg).