Gamecocks travel to Seton Hall for final road non-conference game of the season.
Nov. 30, 2012
GAMECOCK WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
South Carolina Game Notes
Sunday, December 2, 2012
South Orange, N.J.
Walsh Gymnasium (2,600)
WISW 1320 AM (Brad Muller); GamecocksOnline.com
Live Stats: SHUPirates.com
Seton Hall Series:
SHU leads 2-0; In South Orange:
SHU leads 1-0; In Columbia:
SHU leads 1-0
- South Carolina's offense has been dominated by interior play so far this season. For the first time under head coach Dawn Staley, neither of the team's top two scorers are guards as senior Ashley Bruner (12.4 ppg) and sophomore Aleighsa Welch (11.8 ppg) top the offense through eight games this season.
- The Gamecocks have held six of their eight opponents under 50 points this season. South Carolina ranks seventh in the nation in scoring defense and 11th in field goal percentage defense.
- Sophomore forward Aleighsa Welch leads the SEC and is tied for eighth in the nation with four double-doubles in just eight games this season. In fact, she averages a double-double on the season (11.8 ppg, 10.3 rpg).
- While Dawn Staley and Anne Donovan have a long basketball history together, this will be the first time they face each other as head coaches.
A South Carolina Win Would...
- Make the Gamecocks 9-0 on the season, the program's best start since the 1981-82 team opened with a school-record 10 straight victories en route to the program's first NCAA Sweet 16 appearance.
- Be the Gamecocks' first over Seton Hall in three attempts but would lift the program's record against current Big East schools to 44-14.
- Lift the SEC to 3-3 against Big East teams this season.
By the Numbers
0 Points the Gamecocks allowed Drexel leading scorer Hollie Mershon in the final nine minutes of the game to key their comeback from a 14-point halftime deficit
2 Teams in the SEC, including South Carolina, with two entries among the league's top 10 offensive rebounders - Aleighsa Welch (5.1 per game, second) and Ashley Bruner (3.6 per game, seventh)
3 Gamecocks averaging double-figure points this season - Ashley Bruner (12.4), Aleighsa Welch (11.8) and Tiffany Mitchell (10.4)
4 Double-doubles by sophomore forward Aleighsa Welch this season, the most in the SEC and tied for eighth in the nation
4 Games this season in which the Gamecocks have out-rebounded their opponent by 20 or more - vs. Florida Gulf Coast (+26; Nov. 24), vs. Hampton (+25; Nov. 22), vs. Savannah State (+24; Nov. 15) and Elon (+20; Nov. 9)
5 Statistical categories in which South Carolina leads the SEC - field goal percentage defense (.318), rebounding defense (29.3), rebounding margin (+18.1), offensive rebound percentage (.519) and defensive rebounding percentage (.725)
7 Games this season in which senior forward Ashley Bruner has led the team in either points or rebounds or both
10 Rebounds more than Drexel that South Carolina collected after halftime, turning a nine-rebound deficit at halftime into a 38-37 advantage at the final horn
10.3 Rebounds per game by sophomore forward Aleighsa Welch this season, which leads the SEC
12 More rebounds than points posted by the Gamecocks in their 45-34 win over Hampton (Nov. 22) in the first game of the Paradise Jam
14 Deficit at halftime for the Gamecocks against Drexel before coming back to win in overtime, the largest deficit South Carolina has overcome since rallying from 18 points down with 8:15 to play in the first half against LSU on Jan. 6, 2011 and the largest second-half deficit overcome by the Gamecocks in the Dawn Staley era
The Seton Hall Series
The Gamecocks and Pirates last met in the 2004-05 season with Seton Hall sweeping what was a home-and-home series over two seasons. The Pirates opened the series by taking care of their home court with a 57-46 victory on Dec. 30, 2003. On the trip to Columbia exactly one year later, Seton Hall posted a 53-42 win over South Carolina.
Against team currently in the Big East Conference, the Gamecocks have been much more successful, posting a 43-14 record thanks to commanding records against former Metro Conference rivals Cincinnati (19-1) and Louisville (16-4). This season, the SEC has posted a 2-3 record against the Big East, with the Gamecocks contributing one of those victories last week at the Paradise Jam over DePaul. Texas A&M closed its Thanksgiving tournament with a win over Marquette, but suffered losses to Louisville and UConn earlier this season. LSU's loss to Georgetown rounds out the slate between the two leagues.
Scouting the Pirates
Seton Hall is 3-4 after snapping a four-game skid with a 57-48 win over Siena on Wednesday night. Junior center Brittany Morris leads the offense with 12.6 points per game but is shooting just 32.1 percent from the field. The versatile post also leads the team with 20 assists and 14 steals. Senior forward Alexandra Maseko and sophomore guard Alexis Brown are the team's leading rebounders with 5.6 boards each.
As a team, the Pirates are scoring 50.4 points per game on 30.9 percent shooting, including 18.1 percent from 3-point range. Opponents are out-rebounding Seton Hall by 4.0 caroms per game and have scored 60.0 points per game on 40.6 percent shooting, including 30.0 percent from the 3-point line.
Seton Hall head coach Anne Donovan is in her third season, leading the Pirates to a 19-48 record to push her six-year college career mark to 52-99. A Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductee (1995), Donovan coached 10 seasons in the professional ranks and was one the bench for the United States' Olympic gold medals in 2004 (assistant coach) and 2008 (head coach).
With her lengthy playing and coaching careers, South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley has connections with an array of coaches around the country, including Seton Hall head coach Anne Donovan. The two have crossed paths four times in their careers, including Donovan bringing Staley on as an assistant coach for the U.S. Women's National Team and the 2008 Olympics. In the previous Olympiad, Staley helped the U.S. to a gold medal in 2004 with Donovan serving as an assistant on that staff. The two originally worked together in 1998 when Staley was an ABL All-Star for Donovan's Philadelphia Rage. Years late but had migrated to the WNBA and reconnected with the Charlotte Sting in 2001 and 2002.
Gamecocks' Five-Second Count
With a complementary blend of youth and experience, South Carolina has opened the season 8-0 for the first time since the 2002-03 team also won its first eight contests. The Gamecocks have shown they have an array of offensive weapons this season while the defense has dropped off very little from last season's NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 effort. South Carolina has posted three of the 25 games in the Dawn Staley era of 70 or more points this season, including three straight for the first time in her fifth season at the helm. Defensively, the Gamecocks have held six of their eight opponents this season under 50 points and limited four of the eight to under 30 percent field goal shooting, including Hampton which hit just 19.3 percent (11-57) from the field for the second-lowest opponent field goal percentage of the Staley era.
The Gamecocks are 189-231 (.450) all-time in games on enemy territory, including a 14-26 mark under head coach Dawn Staley. Those numbers improve when factoring in just non-conference outings. Since 1983-84 when South Carolina first joined a conference for women's basketball, the Gamecocks are 71-63 (.530) in regular-season non-conference outings. Staley's four seasons account for a 7-7 mark in that subset of games.
Deciding in December
South Carolina has a 151-77 (.662) record all-time in the month of December, including a 19-7 (.731) record under fifth-year head coach Dawn Staley. In fact, December is the lone month during which Staley has had a winning record each of her first four seasons. The Gamecocks are 90-22 (.804) at home in the final month of the calendar year with a 51-17 (.750) mark at Colonial Life Arena. South Carolina is 32-30 in road games in December and 24-23 at neutral-site contests during the month.
After Wednesday's 58-55 win over Drexel, South Carolina is 16-14 all-time in overtime games, including a 1-3 mark in double-overtime contests. Since taking the reins for the 2008-09 season, Gamecock head coach Dawn Staley has amassed a 5-3 record in extended games. South Carolina played a school-record four overtime games in 2010-11, going 2-2, and in 1995-96, going 1-3.
Reading the Rankings
South Carolina made its 2012-13 debut in the national rankings this week, coming in at No. 24 in the USA Today Coaches' Poll. With an 8-0 record, including four games away from home, the Gamecocks are among the nation's top 35 in RPI (varies depending on the organization). Only three other SEC teams currently have an RPI in the top 50 - Georgia, Florida and Tennessee.
The Gamecocks' strength of schedule will continue to build over the course of the season, beginning with No. 1 Stanford on the horizon on Wed., Dec. 19. The Cardinal are just one of the five teams currently in the national rankings that South Carolina has ahead - Georgia, Kentucky (will play twice), Tennessee and Texas A&M.
Twice as Nice
South Carolina forward Aleighsa Welch earned a spot on the 2012 SEC All-Freshman Team, but lacked the key resume bullet for forwards - a double-double. The sophomore has made up for last season's missing ingredient by amassing four through the team's first eight games this season. She leads the SEC in the category and is tied for eighth nationally. After narrowly missing the mark in the season opener, Welch picked up her first career double-double two games laster with a 13-point, 12-rebound effort against Savannah State (Nov. 15). She added two more at the Paradise Jam against Hampton (Nov. 22) and Florida Gulf Coast (Nov. 24) and tacked on her fourth against Drexel (Nov. 28).
Welch leads the team and the SEC with five double-digit rebound games this season and is tied for the team lead in double-figure scoring outings with six. The SEC leader in rebounds, she is currently averaging a double-double for the season - 11.8 points and 10.3 rebounds.
Posts Up - Spurs Up
For the first time in the Dawn Staley era, neither of the team's top two scorers are guards. Forwards Ashley Bruner and Aleighsa Welch have been an integral part in the team's 8-0 start this season, averaging 12.4 and 11.8 points, respectively. Bruner's 52.4 percent field goal shooting slots her into sixth in the league, and Welch is hitting at a 70.0 percent clip, although she is five field goals shy of qualifying for the league standings in the category.
Additionally, Bruner is the top senior rebounder in the SEC at 7.6 per game, while Welch leads the league with 10.3 rebounds per game. Both are especially proficient on the offensive glass, ranking seventh and second, respectively, in the league. Exactly half of Welch's 82 total rebounds have come on the offensive end, while 47.5 percent of Bruner's have come on a Gamecock miss. Welch has the second-high single-game rebound total in the SEC this season with her career-high 15 against Drexel.