Women's basketball opens a three-game homestand against UNC Wilmington.
Nov. 30, 2007
Last Time Out
South Carolina split two games at the FIU Thanksgiving Classic. The Gamecocks dropped a 91-58 decision to Illinois Friday night before topping host Florida International 82-66 in the consolation game Sunday. Freshman Jordan Jones scored 15.5 points per game and shot 55.6 percent from 3-point range for the tournament, an effort for which she was named to the All-Tournament team.
The Gamecocks lead the series 2-0, winning once at home and once on the road. South Carolina collected a 75-42 victory on Dec. 30, 2006 in Wilmington as four players reached double-figure points. Brionna Dickerson netted 13 points, while Ilona Burgrova posted a double-double with 10 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. In the first game of the series, South Carolina picked up an 82-62 win on Nov. 25, 1998 in Columbia.
Scouting the Seahawks
UNC Wilmington brings a perfect 5-0 record to the Colonial Center after a 62-60 win over High Point on Tuesday night. Three Seahawks average double-figure points with junior Sahsha Taylor leading the way at 16.2 ppg. Sophomore guard Candace Walker paces UNCW on the boards with 8.6 rebounds per game, while freshman guard/forward Brittany Blackwell is just behind at 8.0. As a team, the Seahawks score 70.2 ppg on 47.3 percent shooting, including 26.5 percent from 3-point range. Opponents have scored 58.0 ppg on 41.5 percent shooting, including 29.6 percent from 3-point range. Head coach Ann Hancock is in her eighth season at UNCW with a 98-108 career record.
Head coach Susan Walvius is in her 11th season as the Gamecocks' mentor with a 154-146 record. She has led South Carolina to two NCAA Tournaments and two WNITs, including an NCAA Elite Eight appearance in 2001-02. Her players have also excelled in the classroom. In 2006-07, 10 Gamecocks appeared on the SEC Winter Sports Academic Honor Roll. In the last four years, South Carolina has placed more student-athletes on that list than any other school.
A South Carolina Win Would ...
- Give the Gamecocks an 8-6 record against Colonial Athletic
- Give South Carolina its best seven-game record since the 2003-04 team opened the season 6-1
- Improve Susan Walvius' record to 70-11 in regular-season non-conference home games
- Improve Susan Walvius' record to 105-49 in regular-season games against non-conference opponents
The Gamecocks have been without two of their starting guards since last Friday as junior Brionna Dickerson and freshman Courtney Newton both left the Illinois game with injuries. Dickerson has a foot injury that is being re-evaluated on Fri., Nov. 30, to determine a return date. Newton suffered a left knee sprain against the Illini and is undergoing rehab. She is expected to miss the next three games and will be re-evaluated next week.
After a 2006-07 campaign that saw the Gamecock frontcourt carrying the load, South Carolina's offense this season has been more of a balance between inside and outside play. The inside quartet of Demetress Adams, Ilona Burgrova, Jewel May and Lakesha Tolliver has provided 31.8 of the teams 71.3 points per game (44.6%). Last season, the frontcourt accounted for 39.5 of the team's 68.6 ppg (57.8%).
A Glass Act
Senior Ilona Burgrova is dominating the glass for the Gamecocks this season, grabbing 8.0 rebounds per game - nearly double her career-high average. She has pulled down double-figure rebounds in three of six games this season, including a season-high 11 boards at Florida International, one shy of her career high mark. Burgrova has led the team in rebounds three times, including two wins. Through games of Nov. 29, Burgrova is tied fo 10th in the SEC in rebounds per game.
South Carolina recovered from its 91-58 loss to Illinois quickly with an 82-66 win over Florida International two days later. In the last four seasons, the Gamecocks are 5-3 in games after a loss of 20 or more points, and one of those losses was last season's three-point defeat against No. 7 LSU following a 36-point loss at No. 3 Tennessee.
Old Number, New Beginning
After a modest beginning to her career wearing No. 32, this season junior Brionna Dickerson went back to the No. 23 jersey that saw her score 3,400 points in high school. Proof that "A Change Would Do You Good," as Sheryl Crow has sung, Dickerson's offense has exploded this season. Averaging 1.8 points and 6.1 points during her freshman and sophomore campaigns, respectively, Dickerson is second on the team with 12.8 ppg early this season. She opened with a career-best 17 points against Saint Francis (Pa.) on Nov. 6 then poured in 27 to guide the Gamecocks past Virginia on Nov. 15. Hitting just nine 3-pointers all of last season, she was 5-of-7 from long range against Virginia, including a perfect 5-of-5 in the first half.
With six true freshmen on the roster this season, rookie guard Jordan Jones set the tone early. Behind 15 points in the first 13 minutes against Saint Francis, including four 3-pointers, Jones was named Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week for the period ending Nov. 11. She is the team's third-leading scorer at 11.5 ppg and is hitting 42.1 percent from behind the 3-point line. Two other first-year players are having an immediate impact on the team. Samone Kennedy leads the team with 18 assists and is second in steals with 12. Courtney Newton is second on the club with 5 assists.
When the game is on the line, toss out the percentages and get the ball to Lakesha Tolliver. The senior began her reputation last season when, despite a 63.6 free throw shooting percentage, she drained three free throws with eight seconds left to tie Mississippi State, giving the Gamecocks the chance to pick up the overtime win. This season, on Nov. 15 against Virginia, South Carolina had one shot to win the game. Tolliver, who was 3-of-8 in the game and 6-of-17 on the season, drilled a 14-foot jumper with 1.3 seconds left to cap off a dramatic 25-7 run over the final 6:46 of the contest.
In the season opener against Saint Francis (Pa.), a pair of Gamecocks posted double-doubles for the second time in two seasons. Forwards Lakesha Tolliver and Demetress Adams accomplished the feat against the Red Flash, while Melanie Johnson and Ilona Burgrova turned the trick at Wilmington on Dec. 30, 2006. Prior to last season's effort, the last Gamecock duo to record double-doubles was Iva Sliskovic and Cristina Ciocan against Southern Utah on Dec. 5, 2003.
With 93 points against Saint Francis (Pa.) in the season opener, the Gamecocks put up their highest offensive output since hanging 95 on Alabama on Jan. 14, 2007. South Carolina also won that game by 60 points, the largest margin of victory over an SEC opponent in the program's history.
Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but it's worth noting that South Carolina's fall signing class is ranked among the nation's elite. Blue Star Basketball has tabbed the Gamecocks' fivesome of Becky Burke, Taylor Dalrymple, Charenee Stephens, Sada Wheeler and Tonia Williams the seventh-best class in the nation. Carolina is just behind perennial powers Tennessee, LSU, Rutgers, Connecticut, North Carolina and Georgetown. It is the highest-ranked recruiting class of head coach Susan Walvius' tenure at South Carolina and is her third nationally-ranked group in the last four years.
The Adams Family
Junior Demetress Adams (Bishopville, S.C./Lee Central) leads the Gamecocks and is tied for 10th in the SEC with 14.7 ppg ... is second on the team in rebounding at 7.0 per game ... is shooting 60.3 percent from the field, second-best in the SEC ... has been the team's leading scorer three times, including two games in which she collected team-high honors in rebounds as well ... has reached double figures in points in all six games ... was a perfect 4-of-4 from the field at Florida International ... swiped four steals against Illinois while leading the team with 14 points and tying for team-high honors with five rebounds ... sank a career-high eight shots against Penn State en route to a team-high 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds as well ... just missed out on team-high honors with seven rebounds against Buffalo ... scored a career-high 21 points against Saint Francis (Pa.), including going 7-of-8 from the free throw line, and completed the double-double with a career-high tying 12 rebounds.
Know Your ABCs
Freshman Ashlie Billingslea (Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson) continues to rehab after surgery on her left knee in mid-September.
That's Czech Mate
Senior Ilona Burgrova (Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic) is the team's leading rebounder at 8.0 boards per game, which is tied for 10th in the SEC ... has led the team in rebounding in four of six games this season, including three game of double-digit boards ... grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds at Florida International, one shy of her career high, and tied her season high of eight points ... also matched her career high with a team-high four assists at FIU ... pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds against Penn State, including five on the offensive end, and tied her season high with eight points ... reached double figures with 10 rebounds against Virginia ... was solid in the season opener with eight points on 4-of-5 shooting and seven rebounds against Saint Francis (Pa.).
What Goes With Brie?
Junior Brionna Dickerson (Columbia, S.C./Heathwood Hall) is second on the team with 12.8 ppg and is its most accurate 3-point shooter at 42.9 percent (6-of-14) ... has missed the last two games with a foot injury, which will be re-evaluated on Friday to determine her return to the court ... has reached double-figure points in three of five games this season ... scored 11 points and tied her season high with four rebounds against Penn State ... set a career-high with 27 points on 10-of-19 shooting, including 5-of-7 from 3-point range, against Virginia ... opened the season with a 17-point outing against Saint Francis (Pa.), shooting 8-of-16 from the field and handing out four assists.
My Friends Call Me Coco
Redshirt freshman Lauren Falohun (Atlanta, Ga./Pace Academy) has come off the bench in three games ... played a season-high nine minutes against Illinois ... grabbed a pair of rebounds in her college debut against Saint Francis (Pa.).
Senior Ebony Jones (Aiken, S.C./Aiken) has played in four games, including one start ... is averaging 3.8 ppg ... made her first career start at Florida International and responded with career-high numbers in points (9), field goals (3), 3-point field goals (3), assists (3), steals (2) and minutes (30) ... tied her then-career high with six points on two 3-pointers against Illinois ... made her season debut against Saint Francis (Pa.).
J.J. is Dy-no-mite
Freshman Jordan Jones (Suwanee, Ga./Collins Hill) is third on the team in scoring at 11.5 ppg ... is shooting 42.1 percent from 3-point range, which is tied for third-best in the SEC, and leads the league in 3-pointers made with 2.67 per game ... has scored double-figure points in four of six games and has hit at least one 3-pointer in every game ... was named to the FIU Thanksgiving Classic All-Tournament team ... netted a career-high 18 points on 5-of-11 shooting and 6-of-7 free-throw accuracy at Florida International ... scored 13 points and grabbed two offensive rebounds against Illinois ... added 11 points to go with a season-high five rebounds against Buffalo ... exploded onto the scene with 15 points, including four 3-pointers, four assists and four steals in the season-opener against Saint Francis (Pa.), an effort that garnered SEC Freshman of the Week honors.
The Kennedy Legacy
Freshman Samone Kennedy (Birmingham, Ala./Ramsay) has played significant minutes in all six games, including one start ... leads the team with 18 assists and has scored 5.5 ppg ... hit 5-of-7 free throws, including 3-of-4 in the final two minutes, at Florida International ... made her first career start against Illinois and handed out a season-high five assists ... netted eight points and grabbed three rebounds in a season-high 29 minutes against Penn State ... scored 13 points, handed out three assists and swiped three steals in just 20 minutes in her collegiate debut against Saint Francis (Pa.).
Jewel of the Nile
Freshman Jewel May (Conyers, Ga./Heritage) has come off the bench in four games and has grabbed 1.8 rebounds per game ... pulled down three rebounds in just three minutes at Florida International ... matched her season-high with two boards against Illinois ... added two points and two rebounds in nine minutes of action in the season opener against Saint Francis (Pa.).
A Newton of Force
Freshman Courtney Newton (Flowery Branch, Ga./Flowery Branch) has started four of five games this season and is second on the team with 15 assists ... suffered a knee injury against Illinois and will be out until doctor's re-evaluate the injury next week ... led the team with a season-high 17 points, on 6-of-11 shooting, including three 3-pointers, and handed out four assists against Buffalo ... dished out four assists against Virginia ... opened her college career with six assists against just one turnover and scored three points against Saint Francis (Pa.).
Set the Pace
Junior transfer C.J. Pace (Snellville, Ga./Chipola College) has scored 3.3 ppg ... made her first career start against Florida International and delivered nine points on 4-of-8 shooting and swiped two steals ... grabbed a pair of rebounds against Illinois ... scored four points and pulled down two offensive rebounds against Buffalo ... made her Gamecock debut against Saint Francis (Pa.), adding four points.
And All That Jas
Freshman Jasmine Payne (Bay Springs, Miss./Stringer) has come off the bench in four games and averages 3.0 points and 1.8 rebounds ... scored eight points, grabbed five rebounds and swiped three steals in a season-high 16 minutes off the bench against Illinois ... netted her first career points with a pair of field goals in just three minutes against Penn State ... made her collegiate debut against Saint Francis (Pa.) and picked up a steal.
Senior Lakesha Tolliver (Columbia, S.C./Dreher) is third on the team in rebounding at 5.8 rpg and fourth in scoring at 11.3 ppg ... is tied for the team lead with nine blocked shots and is tied for second with 13 steals ... needs just nine blocked shots to tie the school record for career blocks ... has reached double-figure points in four of six games this season ... poured in a career-high 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting and added seven rebounds against Florida International ... hit her first 3-pointer of the season as part of a 10-point, four-assist effort against Penn State .. scored 13 points, including a perfect 7-of-7 from the free-throw line, against Buffalo ... collected her first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds against Saint Francis (Pa.).