Gamecocks Welcome No. 1 UConn Sunday Afternoon
Women's basketball faces nation's top team in first of two games in three days before the New Year.
Dec. 27, 2008
Last Time Out
With season-high shooting, including eight 3-pointers, and a diversified offense, South Carolina scrapped for a 78-76 win over Charlotte last Sunday afternoon at Colonial Life Arena. Sophomore point guard Samone Kennedy had a career day, including 4-of-4 shooting from 3-point range, to lead the Gamecocks with 23 points, while senior Demetress Adams battled outstanding post play for the second-straight game to fall just one rebound shy of a double-double with a season-high 19 points and nine rebounds.
The teams have met only one other time before today's contest. UConn claimed a decisive 97-39 victory over South Carolina in Storrs on Dec. 17, 2007. South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley and UConn head coach Geno Auriemma have never faced each other.
Freshman Miranda Tate suffered a left knee injury against Stanford and will be out of action for up to a month. Freshman Sada Wheeler is not with the team during the semester break for personal reasons, and her return is undetermined. Freshman Charenee Stephens will not suit up for the Gamecocks for an unspecified period of 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 23 outings.
Be the Gamecocks' fourth in the last five games.
Make the Gamecocks 44-12 all-time against Big East Conference teams.
Scouting the Huskies
Perennial powerhouse Connecticut continues its dominance of women's basketball this season with a 10-0 record, led by sophomore forward Maya Moore who averages 19.2 points per game. Showing the Huskies' true balance, two other players are in double figures - junior center Tina Charles and senior guard Renee Montgomery. Moore and Charles are the Huskies' top two rebounders as well, posting 8.7 and 8.6 rebounds per game, respectively. As a team, UConn averages 92.4 points while holding opponents to 55.6 ppg. The Huskies are among the top two teams in the nation in both points per game and scoring margin as well as field goal percentage, assists per game and assist-to-turnover ratio. Head coach Geno Auriemma is in his 24th season at UConn with a 667-122 record.
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.
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.
South Carolina has hosted a team ranked in the nation's top three 16 times in its history, but UConn is only the third non-SEC team in that category to come to Columbia, joining then-No. 3 Oklahoma, which posted a 78-51 win on Dec. 7, 2006 and then-No. 3 Stanford, which topped Carolina 78-47 just nine days ago. The Gamecocks have won two of the 16 games, both over then-No. 3 Auburn. The first was an 83-76 victory over the Tigers on Dec. 29, 1990. The last home win over a top-three team was a 59-47 triumph over Auburn on Feb. 27, 1993, in just the second season in the SEC for the Gamecocks. The Gamecocks have never beaten a team ranked higher than No. 3 at any location.
Today's game against UConn completes the non-conference portion of South Carolina's matchups against the 2008 NCAA Women's Final Four teams. The Gamecocks travel to reigning national champion Tennessee on January 18 and host NCAA semifinalist LSU on Jan. 29.
Opponents may find it difficult to scout the Gamecocks offense so far this season as the team has six different players lead the offense through 10 games this season. Only seniors Demetress Adams and Brionna Dickerson and freshman LaKeisha Sutton have been the high scorer multiple times.
Chairman of the Boards
Senior Demetress Adams fourth in the SEC with 8.8 rebounds per game. She has been atop the standings in the category for most of the season thanks to grabbing double-digit boards in five of the Gamecocks' first 10 games. Since returning from Cancun, Adams has picked up her offensive output as well, recording double-doubles in four of the first five games back in the U.S. The lone game in which she missed the mark was against No. 3/4 Stanford when she fell just one point shy with nine.
Upping the Pace
Senior guard/forward C.J. Pace enjoyed a career outing against Charlotte on Dec. 21, netting 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting, including 2-of-2 from 3-point range. She missed the USC Upstate game with an ankle injury and struggled to re-discover her shot against No. 3/4 Stanford, hitting just 2-of-10 from the field. She found her way against the 49ers, largely by crashing the boards as she snagged seven rebounds, including a career-high four on the offensive glass.
Tied for the team lead in assists, sophomore point guard Samone Kennedy helped her own offense against Charlotte, scoring a career-high 23 points. Long known as the engine the ups the tempo of the Gamecock offense, Kennedy entered the game shooting 25.3 percent in her career, including 0-of-13 from 3-point range. Taking cues from the 49ers' green uniforms, she unleashed her shot, hitting 7-of-10 from the field, including 4-of-4 from outside the 3-point arc.
Senior Brionna Dickerson has scored in double figures eight times 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 11.3 points per game.
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 8.4 points per game, and with relentless drives to the basket has made more free throws (30) than all but one of her teammates has even taken. Sutton's offensive spurt actually began the game before as her 11 points against High Point was her first of three straight double-figure point outings as she followed her USC Upstate start with 13 points against No. 3/4 Stanford.
Doing the Double-Double
South Carolina senior Demetress Adams is tied for second in the SEC lead with four double-doubles this season. Adams is one behind Kentucky's Eleia Roddy and tied with Angel Robinson of Georgia, but has reached her number in fewer games than her nearest rivals. Roddy and Robinson both needed 12 games to get their their mark, while Adams has turned in four double-doubles in just 10 games. In her career, Adams has posted 16 double-doubles, and the Gamecocks are 13-3 in those games.
Against Upstate, freshman LaKeisha 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.
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 66.7 percent (70-35) 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 52-10 record in Colonial Life Arena for a .839 winning percentage.
The Gamecocks have a 135-72 record all-time in the month of December, including Sunday's win over Charlotte. 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 3-2.
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 four 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. 129 Demetress Adams (2005-present)
South Carolina senior Demetress Adams earned a spot the Preseason All-SEC Second Team earlier this month. Adams was a second-team all-conference selection by both the coaches and the media in 2007-08 after averaging 10.9 points and 8.9 rebounds.
The Adams Family
Senior Demetress Adams (Bishopville, S.C./Lee Central) is fourth in the SEC with 8.8 rebounds per game ... leads the team and ranks 17th in the SEC with 11.6 points per game ... is third in the league with 31.0 minutes per game, 13th in blocked shots (1.0 bpg) and 15th in steals (1.9 spg) ... has recorded four double-doubles this season and has been the team's leading rebounder six times ... hit a season-high 19 points, including a career-best 8-of-8 from the free-throw line, to go with a game-high nine rebounds against Charlotte ... battled the vaunted frontcourt of No. 3/4 Stanford for nine points and three rebounds.
What Do You Serve With Brie?
Senior Brionna Dickerson (Columbia, S.C./Heathwood Hall) is second on the team and ranks 19th in the SEC with 11.3 points per game ... is second in the league with 34.1 minutes played per game ... hit 11 points for the second-straight game against Charlotte ... added 11 points against No. 3/4 Stanford.
You Can Call Me Cocoa
Sophomore Lauren Falohun (Atlanta, Ga./Pace Academy) averages 3.9 points and 2.1 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.
The Kennedy Legacy
Sophomore Samone Kennedy (Birmingham, Ala./Ramsay) is tied for the team lead with 2.1 assists per game after starting the last three games ... hit her first career 3-pointers, going 4-of-4 from long range, en route to a career-high 23 points against Charlotte ... scored four points and handed out two assists against No. 3/4 Stanford.
Jewel of the Nile
Sophomore Jewel May (Conyers, Ga./Heritage) is second on the team with 5.9 rebounds per game, 17th-best in the SEC, to go with 4.9 points per outing ... grabbed six rebounds against Charlotte.
A Newton of Force
Redshirt freshman Courtney Newton (Flowery Branch, Ga./Flowery Branch) has played in seven games after missing the first two games with a right knee injury ... hit her first basket of the season against Charlotte, scoring five points and snagging three rebounds ... provided great energy off the bench and grabbed three rebounds in just six minutes against No. 3/4 Stanford.
Set the Pace
Senior C.J. Pace (Snellville, Ga./Chipola College) averages 6.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game ... returned to the starting lineup against Charlotte, scoring a career-high 16 points and grabbing seven rebounds in a career-high 37 minutes ... came off the bench against No. 3/4 Stanford after missing one game with a right ankle sprain and led the team with six rebounds to go with six points.
Freshman LaKeisha Sutton (Trenton, N.J./Trenton Catholic) is the team's third-highest scorer with 8.4 points per game ... led the team with 13 points against No. 3/4 Stanford.
Freshman Miranda Tate (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) is scoring 4.3 points per game ... is out up to a month with a knee injury suffered against Stanford.
Freshman Tonia Williams (Warner Robins, Ga./Houston County) has come off the bench in five of six games this season.