Gamecocks Eye No. 3/4 Cardinal Friday Night
South Carolina faces the first of the 2008 NCAA Women's Final Four teams on the slate this season in Stanford.
Dec. 18, 2008
Last Time Out
Four South Carolina players reached double-figure points as the Gamecocks powered past USC Upstate 71-57 in the first half of Tuesday night's basketball doubleheader at Colonial Life Arena. South Carolina got a game-high 24 points from freshman LaKeisha Sutton and saw senior Demetress Adams pour in her fourth double-double of the season (16 pts/12 reb), her second in as many games.
Stanford leads the series 1-0 after a 69-54 win over South Carolina on Jan. 8, 2007, in Palo Alto, Calif. A sophomore that season, Demetress Adams is the only Gamecock on the current roster that played in that contest. She scored six points, grabbed four rebounds and swiped three steals in just 18 minutes of play. On the other side of the floor, Jayne Appel and Jillian Harmon both played in that game, scoring seven and four points, respectively.
C.J. Pace (ankle) and Miranda Tate (hamstring) sat out Tuesday but are probable to play Friday. Tonia Williams missed Tuesday's game with a broken nose. She will not play Friday. Sada Wheeler is not with the team during the semester break for personal reasons, and her return is undetermined. Charenee Stephens will not suit up for the Gamecocks for an unspecified time for personal reasons.
A South Carolina Win Would ...
Be the Gamecocks' first over a nationally-ranked team since topping then-No. 14 Minnesota 79-61 on Dec. 13, 2005, in Columbia.
Be the Gamecocks' first over a team ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation since a 59-47 win over then-No. 3 Auburn on Feb. 27, 1993, in Columbia.
Be the Gamecocks' first over a top-five team since a 69-55 victory at then-No. 4 NC State on Dec. 30, 1999.
Be head coach Dawn Staley's first coaching win over a nationally-ranked team since she led Temple to a 48-47 victory at then-No. 9 Rutgers on Jan. 19, 2006 - the highest-ranked team she has defeated in her career.
Be head coach Dawn Staley's fourth against a nationally-ranked team in 22 outings.
Scouting the Cardinal
Entering the week ranked No. 3 in the AP Poll and No. 4 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll, Stanford opened its East Coast trek with a 52-56 loss at No. 8/12 Duke Tuesday night. The Cardinal out-shot the Blue Devils 38.3 percent to 30.5 percent, but saw Duke take 12 more shots thanks to 23 Stanford turnovers. Four active Stanford players average double-figure points as the Cardinal are among the nation's top-10 offensive teams. With an offense centered on post play, the Cardinal's top three scorers are forwards, led by 13.6 points per game from junior Jayne Appel, who also leads the team in assists with 3.1 per game and rebounds at 9.4 per contest. Sophomore Kayla Pedersen is just behind at 11.2 ppg to go with 6.2 rpg, and freshman Nnemkadi Ogwumike comes off the bench to add 10.7 ppg on 64.5 percent field goal shooting. Sophomore guard Jeannette Pohlen scores 10.0 points per game while handing out 2.4 assists per game. As a team, Stanford has scored 77.1 points per game on 45.8 percent shooting, the 12th-best percentage in the country. The Cardinal is hitting 32.7 percent from 3-point range and have out-rebounded its opponents by 8.2 boards per game. Opponents have scored 57.3 points per game on 35.7 percent shooting. Head coach Tara VanDerveer is in her 23rd season at Stanford with a 579-139 record, pushing her 30-year career mark to 726-190.
Season tickets are available at two prices. Fans who purchase four season tickets qualify for the Family 4-Pack pricing at $100. Fans who purchase fewer than four pay the full price of $50 per season ticket. Single-game tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for youth (18 and under). For more information or to order tickets, contact the South Carolina Ticket Office toll free at 800-4SC-FANS or locally at 803-777-4274. Fans can also order tickets via the athletics web site, GamecocksOnline.com.
Olympic Night Celebration
Head coach Dawn Staley has invited some of her former Olympic teammates and coaches to attend tonight's game. Headlining the group is Anne Donovan, who has served as the U.S. Senior National Team head coach for the last two years, including the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, at which the team won the gold medal. After a meet-and-greet with season-ticket holders, the Olympians will sign autographs in the main atrium from 6:15-6:45 p.m. and will be honored at halftime of the game.
The Gold Standard
While head coach Dawn Staley has become synonymous with Olympic gold, the entire South Carolina coaching staff boasts a wealth of experience and achievement. Including assistant coaches Lisa Boyer, Carla McGhee and Nikki McCray, the Gamecock women's basketball staff has combined for 39 years of coaching experience, 29 years of playing professionally in the United States, seven Olympic gold medals and two NCAA National Championships.
Students and Teacher
Tonight's coaching match-up is a clash of Olympic proportions as Stanford's Tara VanDerveer was the head coach on the 1996 USA Women's Olympic Team that featured South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley and assistant coaches Carla McGhee and Nikki McCray. The group won the first of Staley's three gold medals as a player and finished 10 months of playing together with a 60-0 record. The team's success set the stage for the introduction of two professional women's basketball leagues in the United States.
Stanford is just the second non-SEC team ranked in the nation's top three to visit Columbia, joining then-No. 3 Oklahoma, which topped South Carolina 78-51 on Dec. 7, 2006. In all, 10 teams ranked No. 3 or higher nationally have faced the Gamecocks on their home floor. South Carolina's lone win in the series is a 59-47 decision over then-No. 3 Auburn on Feb. 27, 1993. The Gamecocks have never beaten a team ranked higher than No. 3 at any location.
Know When to Hold `Em
With an offense that scores just 57.0 points per game, the Gamecocks have relied on a stingy defense to stay in and win games this season. The effort has made South Carolina the fifth-stingiest team in the SEC and the 19th-best defense in the country (through games of Dec. 14) as the Gamecocks have allowed just 53.2 points per game. In fact, only one team on the schedule (Wake Forest) has scored more than 57 points on the Gamecocks this season.
Opponents may find it difficult to scout the Gamecocks offense so far this season as the team has five different players lead the offense through eight games this season. Only seniors Demetress Adams and Brionna Dickerson have been the high scorer multiple times.
Doing the Double-Double
South Carolina senior Demetress Adams leads the SEC lead with four double-doubles this season, and she has reached that number in fewer games than the three players ranked second in the standings - Glory Johnson (Tennessee), Angel Robinson (Georgia) and Eleia Roddy (Kentucky). In her career, Adams has posted 16 double-doubles, and the Gamecocks are 13-3 in those games.
Freshman guard LaKeisha Sutton returned to the starting lineup against USC Upstate and rewarded her coach's decision with a game-high 24 points against the Spartans. Sutton moved into third on the team in scoring with 8.6 points per game, and with relentless drives to the basket has made more free throws (24) than all but one of her teammates has even taken. Against Upstate, Sutton went to the free throw line 14 times, the second-most by a Gamecock freshman in school history. The mark was just one off the freshman record of 15 set by Schonna Banner against Cincinnati on Jan. 9, 1987.
Senior Brionna Dickerson has scored in double figures six times in eight games this season, including a three-game stretch during which she scored 15 points per outing. That surge, which included both games of the Cancun Thanksgiving Classic and yielded Tournament MVP honors, moved her into the SEC's top 20 with 11.4 points per game. The Gamecocks' purest shooter, Dickerson found her stroke in Cancun and has been on a tear ever since. In the last four games she has hit 45.8 percent from the field, including 41.2 percent from 3-point range.
Chairman of the Boards
Senior Demetress Adams is back atop the SEC with 9.5 rebounds per game. She has led the league in the category for most of the season thanks to grabbing double-digit boards in five of the Gamecocks' first eight games. Since returning from Cancun, Adams has picked up her offensive output as well, recording double-doubles in each of the first two games back in the U.S.
Uncovering a Jewel of a Player
Sophomore Jewel May has been in the starting lineup every game this season and has made an impact each time. After seeing limited action as a freshman, May now finds herself as a key member of the frontcourt. She has risen to the challenge, ranking 12th in the SEC in rebounding with 6.5 boards per game. She is the Gamecocks' top free throw shooter, hitting 72.0 percent from the charity stripe.
In Colonial Times
While the Gamecocks' home court may have taken on a new name, South Carolina continues to enjoy a decisive advantage in Colonial Life Arena. Despite a loss in the 2008-09 home opener, South Carolina has won 67.0 percent (69-34) of its games at the facility. The Gamecocks won a high of 15 games in the building in the 2006-07 season and lost a record-low two games in 16 home contests in 2002-03. In non-conference games, South Carolina has a 51-10 record in Colonial Life Arena for a .836 winning percentage.
The Gamecocks have a 134-71 record all-time in the month of December, including Tuesday's win over USC Upstate. South Carolina has gone undefeated in the last month of the year four times, including a 7-0 mark in the 2001-02 season. The most recent perfect December was a 6-0 record in the 2005-06 season. The Gamecocks are 76-21 at home in December and 31-28 on the road. The gap narrows to 22-20 in December games played at a neutral site. (Seven games in the Gamecock history books do not indicate the site of the contest, during which Carolina is 5-2.) This season, the Gamecocks have seven games scheduled in December with six of them to be played at Colonial Life Arena. So far this month, Carolina is 2-1.
It's a Block Party!
After recording 55 blocked shots in 2007-08, the third-most in school history, senior Demetress Adams looks to continue her charge up the Gamecocks' career blocked shots list. She needs just five to meet former teammate Ilona Burgrova's 133 in third place.
Career Blocked Shots
1. 177 Lakesha Tolliver (2004-08)
2. 148 Michelle Murray (1989-93)
3. 133 Ilona Burgrova (2004-08)
4. 128 Demetress Adams (2005-present)
After playing six first-time opponents last season with a 4-2 record, the Gamecocks will face just one unfamiliar foe in 2008-09 - USC Upstate. South Carolina is 51-17 in its first meeting with a non-SEC opponent since joining the league in 1991-92, including this season's win over USC Upstate.
The Adams Family
Senior Demetress Adams (Bishopville, S.C./Lee Central) leads the SEC with 9.5 rebounds per game ... is second on the team and 19th in the SEC with 11.0 points per game ... is fourth in the league with 30.9 minutes per game, 10th in blocked shots (1.1 bpg) and 12th in steals (2.1 spg) ... has recorded four double-doubles this season and has been the team's leading rebounder five times ... recorded her third double-double in as many games with 16 points and 12 rebounds against USC Upstate while adding three blocks and five steals to the defensive effort ... picked up a double-double with a team-high 16 points and 11 rebounds, including six offensive, against High Point ... posted her second double-double with a season-high 15 points and 10 rebounds against Wake Forest ... scored 14 points on 7-of-14 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds against Ohio ... just missed a double-double with a 10-point, eight-rebound outing against Davidson while also swiping four steals ... in the opener at Penn State, logging 11 points and 12 rebounds, including eight in the first half ... was named to the Preseason All-SEC second team by the league's coaches.
What Do You Serve With Brie?
Senior Brionna Dickerson (Columbia, S.C./Heathwood Hall) is the Gamecocks' leading scorer and ranks 17th in the SEC with 11.4 points per game .. is second in the league with 34.0 minutes played per game and ranks 12th in 3-point field goals made (1.4 per game) ... tied her season high for the fourth time with 15 points against USC Upstate while snagging three offensive rebounds and handing out three assists ... netted 11 points and handed out three assists against High Point ... scored 15 points for the third-straight game, hitting 5-of-9 from the field, including 3-for-4 from 3-point range, at Wake Forest ... was named Cancun Thanksgiving Classic MVP after leading the team to the tournament title with 15 points against both UNC Wilmington and Ohio ... added six points and handed out three assists against Davidson ... scored four points and grabbed five rebounds against Clemson ... added 10 points in the season opener at Penn State.
You Can Call Me Cocoa
Sophomore Lauren Falohun (Atlanta, Ga./Pace Academy) averages 4.4 points and 2.5 assists ... came off the bench for the first time this season against USC Upstate, grabbing a career-high five rebounds and swiping a career-best four steals ... more than doubled her career high with nine assists against High Point, committing just three turnovers ... handed four assists against UNC Wilmington ... scored four points in 14 minutes against Ohio ... pulled down a career-high four rebounds against Davidson ... scored a career-high 10 points, including a career-best 4-for-4 effort at the free-throw line, against Clemson ... drew her first career start in the season opener at Penn State, handing out a team-high three assists in 25 minutes.
The Kennedy Legacy
Sophomore Samone Kennedy (Birmingham, Ala./Ramsay) is second on the team with 2.1 assists per game ... earned her first start of the season against USC Upstate and netted 10 points, swiped three steals and tied for team-high honors with four asssts ... picked up three steals at Wake Forest ... swiped four steals and grabbed three rebounds against Ohio ... dished out a team-high seven assists to go with six points against Davidson ... played 19 minutes against Clemson, handing out a pair of assists ... saw limited time in the season opener at Penn State.
Jewel of the Nile
Sophomore Jewel May (Conyers, Ga./Heritage) has started every game this season ... is second on the team with 6.5 rebounds per game, 12th-best in the SEC, to go with 6.0 points per outing ... is among the SEC's top 10 in free throw percentage (.720) ... recorded her first career double-double with 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds against High Point ... was extremely active at Wake Forest, scoring 11 points and grabbing seven rebounds in 23 minutes ... added seven points and seven rebounds in just 16 minutes against UNC Wilmington ... pulled down a career-high eight rebounds, including four on the offensive end, against Ohio ... added four points and matched her career high with two blocked shots against Davidson ... pulled down four rebounds and hit both her free-throw attempts against Clemson ... earned her first career start in the season opener at Penn State, adding six points and five rebounds in 20 minutes on the court.
A Newton of Force
Redshirt freshman Courtney Newton (Flowery Branch, Ga./Flowery Branch) has played in five games after missing the first two games with a right knee injury ... saw her most minutes of the season with 17 against USC Upstate and matched her career high with four rebounds ... scored her first points of the season with a pair of free throws against High Point ... grabbed three rebounds in her season debut against Davidson.
Set the Pace
Senior C.J. Pace (Snellville, Ga./Chipola College) averages 5.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game ... did not play against USC Upstate due to a right ankle sprain ... was outstanding on the boards with eight rebounds to go with seven points against High Point ... grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds against UNC Wilmington ... pulled down six rebounds, including three offensive, to go with four points against Ohio ... drew the start against Clemson, adding four points and three rebounds ... tied for team-high honors at Penn State with 11 points, including a career-high three 3-pointers, and grabbed six rebounds.
Freshman Charenee Stephens (Decatur, Ga./Southwest DeKalb) will not play in any games for an undetermined period of time for personal reasons ... was tabbed as the fifth-best forward in the 2008 class by Scout.com and the 33rd-best player in the class by HoopGurlz.com.
Freshman LaKeisha Sutton (Trenton, N.J./Trenton Catholic) is the team's third-highest scorer with 8.6 points per game ... turned in an outstanding all-around game against USC Upstate, scoring a game-high 24 points to go with four assists and three steals ...went to the free-throw line 14 times against the Spartans, the second-most by a freshman in school history ... reached double-digit points for the third time in five games with 11 points against High Point as her defensive spark off the bench led to a series of layups that put the Gamecocks comfortably ahead ... was named to the Cancun Thanksgiving Classic All-Tournament team ... scored a season-high 12 points against UNC Wilmington, including what proved to be the game-winning basket with the shot clock winding down ... tied for team-high honors with three assists playing a season-high 24 minutes against Ohio ... found success driving to the basket against Davidson, scoring 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting in just 16 minutes of action ... provided a spark off the bench against Clemson, scoring five points and grabbing three rebounds in just eight minutes ... earned the start in the season opener at Penn State.
Freshman Miranda Tate (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) is scoring 4.7 points per game and shooting a team-best 40.0 percent (6-of-15) from 3-point range ... did not play against USC Upstate due to a hamstring injury ... added seven points and four rebounds against High Point ... grabbed a season-high five rebounds against UNC Wilmington ... scored a team-high 13 points, including 3 3-pointers, against Davidson ... tied for second on the team with eight points against Clemson, hitting 3-of-6 from the field, including the team's lone 3-pointer of the game ... saw six minutes off the bench at Penn State in her collegiate debut.
Freshman Sada Wheeler (Gainesville, Ga./East Hall) has been excused from the team for an undetermined period of time for personal reasons ... was averaging 2.5 rebounds to go with 3.7 points ... helped off the bench with four points and three rebounds in just 14 minutes against High Point ... was a perfect 3-for-3 from the field to add six points against UNC Wilmington ... scored seven points and snagged three offensive rebounds against Davidson ... added two points and snagged a rebound against Clemson ... tied for second on the team with six rebounds in the season opener at Penn State.
Freshman Tonia Williams (Warner Robins, Ga./Houston County) has come off the bench in five of six games this season ... missed the USC Upstate game due to a broken nose ... added four points and four rebounds in just eight minutes against Davidson ... tied for second on the team in points and rebounds against Clemson with eight of each while adding three steals ... made her collegiate debut in the season opener at Penn State, adding an offensive rebound to the effort.