Gamecocks close pre-holiday schedule with arch rival Tigers at 2 p.m.
Dec. 21, 2007
Last Time Out
Freshman Jordan Jones matched her career high with 20 points as South Carolina screeched past Alabama A&M 88-41 at the Colonial Center. The Gamecocks had four players in double figures and shot 51.6 percent from the field, including 50 percent from 3-point range. Jones hit a career-high six 3-pointers, one shy of the Colonial Center record. Junior C.J. Pace led the Gamecocks on the glass with nine rebounds in just 20 minutes of play, and freshman Samone Kennedy handed out a career-high eight assists.
The Tigers lead the series 31-21, but the Gamecocks have won the last two by and average of 31.5 points. South Carolina took last year's meeting in Columbia 80-48 on Nov. 20, 2006, after topping the Tigers 77-46 in Clemson on Jan. 2, 2006. Prior to the decisive Gamecock victories, the teams played a pair of overtime games with the Tigers coming out on top both times. South Carolina is 5-21 against the Tigers in Clemson.
The Gamecocks have been without starting point guard Courtney Newton since Nov. 25 after she left the Illinois game with a knee injury. She is undergoing rehab, which is progressing well, but is likely to miss the rest of the month. She will be closely monitored throughout that time to determine a return date. Junior Brionna Dickerson returned to the lineup at Connecticut after sitting out the previous four games due to a foot injury. She continues to receive treatment and is being evaluated on a game-by-game basis.
Head coach Susan Walvius is in her 11th season as the Gamecocks' mentor with a 157-147 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. Walvius has an 18-year career record of 255-248.
A South Carolina Win Would ...
- Put the Gamecocks at 9-3 on the season, which would tie the 2005-06 team as the best 12-game start since the 2003-04 club went 11-1.
- Be the Gamecocks' third straight over their arch rival.
- Give the Gamecocks a 73-68 record against Atlantic Coast Conference teams.
- Improve Susan Walvius' record to 109-50 in regular-season games against non-conference opponents.
Keeping Up With the Joneses
Senior Ebony Jones and freshman Jordan Jones have combined to give South Carolina outside scoring punch this season, and the duo was on fire against Jackson State. The Joneses shot 7-of-10 from 3-point range in the Dec. 7 outing, marking the third-highest team 3-point percentage in school history and the third-best in the SEC this season. Each player took five shots from long range with Ebony hitting a career-high four. The pair has combined to hit 48-of-114 (.421) from outside the arc this season.
50 First Dates - Well, Really Six
There are six first-time opponents on the Gamecocks' non-conference schedule this season and have posted a 4-2 record against the group with wins over Saint Francis (Pa.), Buffalo, Jackson State and Alabama A&M. Illinois and No. 2 Connecticut handed South Carolina its only losses from the group.
The Gamecocks tied a school record when they held Charleston Southern to just 26 points on Dec. 4. The Lady Bucs' limited offense matched that of Bethune-Cookman on Dec. 21, 2005. South Carolina allowed Charleston Southern to shoot just 16.7 percent from the field, the second-lowest efficiency by an opponent in Gamecock history, trailing Bethune-Cookman's 14 percent accuracy.
South Carolina entered the season with a lofty defensive reputation, and the season opener that saw Saint Francis (Pa.) net just 33 points did little to mar it. The Gamecocks have allowed 70 or more points just three times this season while holding six opponents to 60 or fewer points. Last season, South Carolina yielded 70 or more points just eight times in 33 games, including six games against nationally-ranked teams, and held opponents to 60 or fewer points 16 times, including #7 LSU. The 2005-06 team set a school record by allowing opponents just 56.8 points per game. That season, 16 games saw opponents net 60 or fewer points while seven reached the 70-point plateau.
It's a Block Party!
Through games of Dec. 16, South Carolina was 12th in the nation with 6.0 blocked shots per game. The Gamecocks are second in the SEC in the category, trailing top-ranked Tennessee's 7.1 blocks per game. The Lady Vols are third in the nation to North Carolina's 8.1 per contest. South Carolina senior Lakesha Tolliver leads the SEC in blocks per game with 2.7, a number that ranked her 18th in the nation. Michigan State's Allyssa DeHaan leads the nation with 5.3 per outing.
On the Mark
Junior Demetress Adams ranked 16th in the nation in field goal percentage, according to the NCAA statistical rankings through games of Dec. 16. Currently shooting 59.2 percent from the field, Adams is second in the SEC behind Vanderbilt's Liz Sherwood, who leads the nation at 70.2 percent (73-of-104).
From Way Downtown - Bang!
Freshman Jordan Jones leads the SEC in both 3-point field goal percentage and 3-point field goals made per game, ranking 15th in the nation in the latter category through games of Dec. 16. The first-year guard, who has played point guard in addition to her shooting guard role, has hit 2.91 3-pointers per game with 42.7 percent accuracy. She trails Robert Morris' Sade Logan, who leads the nation with 4.0 3s per contest. Karen Middleton holds the South Carolina record for 3-point field goal percentage by a freshman after hitting 43.4 percent (75-of-163) in 1987-88. Middleton holds the four best 3-point percentages in school history, including the record 46.9 percent (76-of-162), which she set as a junior in 1989-90.
More Statistical Stuff
Through games of Dec. 16, South Carolina was among the NCAA's top 50 in nine categories, including five ranked in the top 30. The Gamecocks ranked 12th in blocked shots (see note above), 18th in field goal percentage defense, 21st in 3-point field goal percentage, 26th in field goal percentage and 29th in scoring margin. Additionally, South Carolina is 40th in both steals and scoring offense, 42nd in assists and 48th in scoring defense.
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 (143 pts), Ilona Burgrova (97 pts), Jewel May (15 pts) and Lakesha Tolliver (116 pts) has provided 33.7 of the teams 71.0 points per game (47.5%). Last season, the frontcourt accounted for 39.5 of the team's 68.6 ppg (57.8%).
Like a Broken Record
One game after etching her name in as the school record holder for blocked shots in a game with seven against UNC Wilmington on Dec. 1, senior Lakesha Tolliver completed her trifecta of blocked shot records by becoming the South Carolina career record holder with five swats against Charleston Southern on Dec. 4. Just nine games into her senior season, Tolliver's 155 career blocks has eclipsed the Michelle Murray's previous record of 148. Tolliver set the school record for single-season blocked shots in 2006-07 with 60. She has 24 through nine games this season.
Playing a difficult non-conference schedule in addition to its SEC slate, South Carolina has suffered a handful of decisive setbacks. The Gamecocks tend to recover quickly, however, and have done so this season. In the last four seasons, the Gamecocks are 6-3 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. That number includes a pair of games this season - a 97-39 loss at No. 2 UConn was followed by an 88-41 victory over Alabama A&M two days later, and a 91-58 loss to Illinois yielded an 82-66 win over Florida International two days later.
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 third on the team with 11.8 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.
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.
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 with 13.0 ppg and 8.2 rebounds per game ... is shooting 59.2 percent from the field ... 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 10 games ... netted 12 points and grabbed six rebounds while handing out four assists, blocking four shots and swiping four steals against Alabama A&M ... shot a perfect 3-of-3 for nine points at No. 2 UConn ... narrowly missed a triple-double with a career-high eight assists, 13 rebounds and 12 points against Jackson State ... posted her second double-double in as many games with 11 points and 11 rebounds against Charleston Southern ... pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds and added 11 points for her second double-double of the season against UNC Wilmington ... also handed out a team-high five assists against the Seahawks to match her career high ... 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 second on the team in rebounding with 6.9 boards per game and is adding 8.8 points per contest ... has led the team in rebounding in four games this season, including three games of double-digit boards ... had a solid all-around game against Alabama A&M with 15 points, eight rebounds, three assists and a career-high four steals ... scored nine of her 11 points in the second half at No. 2 UConn ... hit 6-of-8 from the field for 12 points against Jackson State ... tied her career high with 17 points on 8-of-9 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds against Charleston Southern ... scored a season-high 10 points against UNC Wilmington ... 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 Do You Serve With Brie?
Junior Brionna Dickerson (Columbia, S.C./Heathwood Hall) is third on the team with 11.9 ppg and is shooting 40.0 percent (8-of-20) from 3-point range ... hit 5-of-8 from the field for 12 points and swiped a career-high four steals against Alabama A&M ... returned to the lineup at No. 2 UConn after missing all or most of the previous five games with a foot injury, scoring seven points and leading the team with a career-high seven rebounds ... 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 six 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 nine games, including two starts ... is scoring 5.6 ppg and is the team's second-best 3-point shooter at 41.0 percent (16-of-39) ... was 3-of-5 from 3-point range in just 13 minutes against Alabama A&M ... hit a pair of 3-pointers in just 11 minutes at No. 2 UConn ... hit a career-high four 3-pointers against Jackson State, including three to stave off a Lady Tigers' rally, for a career-high 12 points ... added eight points, including two 3-pointers, against Charleston Southern ... 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 second on the team in scoring at 12.8 ppg and is shooting 42.7 percent from 3-point range ... has scored double-figure points in eight games ... matched her season high with 20 points against Alabama A&M, hitting a career-high six 3-pointers, one shy of the Colonial Center record ... ended her streak of nine games with at least one 3-pointer at No. 2 UConn ... reached the 20-point plateau for the first time in her career, hitting 3-of-5 3-pointers and 7-of-8 from the free-throw line against Jackson State ... scored 19 points on 4-of-9 shooting from 3-point range while grabbing four rebounds and swiping three steals against Charleston Southern ... played a tick under 40 minutes against UNC Wilmington, adding 13 points to the victory ... was named to the FIU Thanksgiving Classic All-Tournament team ... netted 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 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 11 games, including three starts ... leads the team with 43 assists and has scored 4.5 ppg ... handed out a season-best eight assists, the fifth-most by a freshman in Gamecock history, against Alabama A&M ... grabbed three rebounds and handed out two assists at No. 2 UConn ... swiped a season-high five steals to go with five assists and six points against Jackson State ... dished out a season-high six assists against Charleston Southern ... handed out four assists against UNC Wilmington and added six points, all from the free throw line in the final two minutes of the game ... 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 seven games and has grabbed 2.0 rebounds per game ... matched her season high with three rebounds in just nine minutes against Alabama A&M ... netted her only field goal attempt and both her free throws for six points against Jackson State ... scored a season-high five points and snagged three rebounds against Charleston Southern ... 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) suffered a knee injury against Illinois and will likely be out the rest of the month while undergoing rehab ... has started four of five games prior to her injury ... 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 2.7 ppg ... crashed the boards with a game-high nine rebounds against Alabama A&M ... grabbed three rebounds at No. 2 UConn ... 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 nine games and averages 4.0 points and 2.4 rebounds ... scored six points and grabbed a season-high four rebounds in just 13 minutes against Jackson State ... played a season-high 22 minutes, adding four points, three rebounds and two blocked shots against Charleston Southern ... poured in a season-high 11 points, including 5-of-6 free throws, and grabbed four rebounds in 19 minutes against UNC Wilmington ... scored eight points, grabbed five rebounds and swiped three steals in 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 5.6 rpg and is fourth in scoring at 10.5 ppg ... became the school record holder for career blocked shots against Charleston Southern ... has reached double-figure points in six games ... blocked four shots against Alabama A&M ... was limited to just 14 minutes by foul trouble at No. 2 UConn ... hit 4-of-5 from the field for 10 points to go with five rebounds and three blocks against Jackson State ... grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds against Charleston Southern while blocking five shots in just 22 minutes ... swatted away a school and Colonial Center record seven shots against UNC Wilmington ... also led the team with 18 points and snagged six rebounds in a career-high 30 minutes ... 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.).