Category Archives: women’s basketball

WBB Post-Game Blog: A Hard Lesson

It was another hard lesson for this young women’s basketball team.

After a hard-earned road win against No. 14 Georgia, the Gamecocks stumbled at home against Mississippi State, falling 55-53 on Thursday night.

South Carolina turned the ball over 18 times (their highest total in eight games) and shot just 34.9% from the field (their lowest in their last five games).

“It was a very winnable game, but we didn’t deserve to win,” said South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley. “We lost this game with our preparation.”

In a game that featured a series of mini-runs by each team, it was the Bulldogs who managed to pull away with the win.

South Carolina had an opportunity to tie the game with the final possession of regulation, but Kelsey Bone’s lay-up attempt with a second to go failed to drop.

Staley had been unhappy with the team’s effort in practice in the days leading up to the match-up with Mississippi State.

“It’s my job to get them right and they weren’t right coming into the game,” she said. “Our players have a responsibility too. They have to get themselves in a position to get up and play basketball games.”

An instant reaction might point to Gamecock miscues in the final minute of action as crucial, but Staley and La’Keisha Sutton said the issues were apparent throughout the contest.

“It didn’t come down to those plays,” Staley said. “It came down to plays where things broke down.”

“Throughout the whole game, different people made different mistakes,” said Sutton. “It wasn’t any one mistake.”

Key Box Score

Total FG-FGA 3 pt FG-FGA FT-FTA Rebs Pts Assts TO Blk Stl Min
G Ieasia Walker 4-10 2-4 0-0 5 10 2 4 0 2 27

The freshman guard recorded an SEC-season high in minutes played with 27. Walker had her highest point output since a 10-point effort against Kentucky.

Walker shot 4-of-10 from the field, including 2-of-4 from behind the arc.

Key Stats

  • The Gamecocks out-rebounded the Bulldogs 41-29. Kelsey Bone (13) and Charenee Stephens (10) each had double-digit rebound totals.
  • The Gamecocks had their highest positive rebound margin (+12) since out-rebounding Brown by 20.
  • Stephens recorded her first double-double of SEC play and her second of the season with 10 rebounds and 10 points.
  • South Carolina turned the ball over 18 times, their highest total since 18 turnovers against Kentucky on Jan. 14.

Key Quote

“We lost as a team, we won as a team. Hopefully, we’ll come back better as a team on Sunday.” – La’Keisha Sutton


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Know a Gamecock: Ieasia Walker

Women’s basketball freshman Ieasia Walker comes to Columbia from Amityville, NY. A 5’8 guard, Walker averages 4.5 points per game for the Gamecocks and has played in all 23 games this season.

Ieasia Walker 2010What is your greatest achievement so far?

Winning two national championships at the AAU level.

What is your greatest fear?

Getting injured.

What is the last song you heard?

Jay-Z – What more can I say

What is the last book you read?

Does poetry count? The last thing I read was a poetry book for English class.

What is a talent you’d like to have?

I want to be a better artist.  I’ve always liked to draw. I can draw good, but I can’t draw people really well.  I’d like to perfect that art.

What is your dream job?

To be a coach, maybe at the high school level.

What is your most treasured possession?

My iPod.I like to do sudoku puzzles and that game is on there. I have about 800 songs, videos, everything’s on there.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I wish I was taller.

What is one place you’d like to visit before you die?

Hawaii – i don’t know why. That’s what everyone says. It looks beautiful there though.

Name three people you’d like to meet.

Kobe Bryant, Sanaa Lathan (Love and Basketball is one of my favorite movies), President Obama.

What was your favorite TV show growing up?

Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Everyone watched that.

[The Editor: Just to tie it all together – here’s a clip of the Fresh Prince playing basketball. Side note – why are basketball courts always so tiny on sitcoms?]

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Top of the Key: WBB vs. Mississippi State

South Carolina hosts Mississippi State tonight at 7 p.m. at Colonial Life Arena. The acrobat, Red Panda, will perform as the halftime act. The game will not be televised, but you can listen live on 1320 AM (in Columbia) or on Brad Muller and Marcy Girton will have the call.

South Carolina (13-10, 6-5) Notes

  • Freshman Kelsey Bone is averaging 14.5 points per game, and ranks second in the SEC in rebounding with 9.3 a game.
  • The Gamecocks hold a 7-4 edge over the Lady Bulldogs in games played in Columbia.
  • In Sunday’s game against No.14 Georgia, South Carolina tied its season low for points, but also yielded a season-low points in collecting a 52-42 win.
  • Valerie Nainima was the only Gamecock to reach double-figures in Sunday’s contest, netting 21 points.
  • A win against Mississippi State would bring head coach Dawn Staley within four wins of her 200th as a head coach.
  • The Gamecocks only need to win two more at home to clinch their 100th all-time home win.

Mississippi State (15-9, 6-5) Notes

  • Mississippi State is 3-2 in its last five games and is 3-2 in conference road games this season.
  • As a team, the Lady Bulldogs are averaging 73.5 points per game while limiting opponents to 60.6.
  • Mississippi State is shooting 41 percent from the field.
  • Senior Alex Rack leads the Lady Bulldogs in scoring with 19.2 points per game.
  • Mississippi State holds a 15-9 advantage in the overall series. The Lady Bulldogs have won seven of the last 10 meetings.

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Halftime Act Preview: Red Panda

The halftime act for tonight’s men’s basketball game and tomorrow’s women’s basketball game will be Red Panda. Check out this YouTube clip for a preview:

Tickets are still available for both games – visit or call 800-4SC-FANS.

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Valerie Nainima Feature Story

Ron Morris of The State has a great feature story on women’s basketball junior guard Valerie Nainima in today’s paper. Click here to read “USC’s Nainima develops into star.”

Now Nainima is helping lead the resurgence of the women’s program at USC. She leads the team in several categories: scoring (17.7 ppg.), minutes played per game (34.7), 3-pointers (69), assists (68) and free-throw shooting (79.2 percent).

She launches 3-pointers with a picture-perfect jump shot, and she is fearless in her drives to the basket. Her ball-handling skills allow her to slide into the point-guard position when needed, and her defensive prowess is as strong as anyone on the team.

Beyond all that, Nainima (pronounced Nye-KNEE-muh) possesses a work ethic that has transformed her from a “little chubby girl” recruit in Fiji to potentially the best player Staley has coached.

“She really is a coach’s dream,” Staley says.

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Sunday’s WBB Fan Trip a Success

The second women’s basketball fan bus trip of the season brought about 50 Carolina fans to Athens to see the Gamecocks beat the No. 14 Georgia Bulldogs 52-42 on their home court on Sunday. The Gamecock faithful met at the Basketball Practice Facility and were greeted with a boxed meal from Firehouse Subs and a gift bag courtesy of South Carolina Athletics including a recyclable grocery bag, Pink Zone piggy bank, this year’s media guide, a pom-pom, a women’s basketball cup, and a face tattoo.

On the way to Stegeman Coliseum, everyone enjoyed their Firehouse lunch as well as cookies and fudge that a few fans brought to share with their fellow Gamecocks. During the game, the group made sure they were heard as they led the “Game – Cocks” and “U-S-C” cheer. Their efforts paid off as Carolina captured the program’s first win over a top-15 team since December 13, 2005, and Coach Staley later tweeted her appreciation for the Gamecock faithful.

The excitement from the game continued on the bus, as there was a celebratory buzz on the return trip. The group watched the movie “Rudy” on the way back to Columbia, and arrived back in time for the second half of the Super Bowl. The Gamecocks look to continue their win streak this week as they host Mississippi State Thursday at 7pm and Arkansas Sunday at 3pm for the 2010 WBCA Pink Zone game.

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Top of the Key: WBB vs. No. 14 Georgia

The Gamecocks head to Athens today for the first of two contests against the Georgia Bulldogs. Game time is set for 2 p.m. at Stegeman Coliseum. Listen live on 1320 AM (in Columbia) or on Brad Muller and Marcy Girton will have the call. The game is also televised on CSS.

South Carolina (12-10, 5-5) Notes

  • South Carolina’s RPI is among the highest in the SEC at 32 (as of Feb. 5). Ahead of the Gamecocks are Tennessee (3), Georgia (14), Kentucky (22) and Vanderbilt (24).
  • Dawn Staley chose to use November and December as a building block for success in January by having contests against challenging teams. As a result of this, the Gamecocks’ schedule is currently ranked as the eighth-toughest in the nation. Tennessee is the only team in the SEC that has faced a more strident challenge than South Carolina this season.
  • South Carolina center Kelsey Bone has proven to be among the SEC’s top freshmen, leading the conference in rebounding (9.5) and ranking seventh in scoring (14.8). Bone’s rebounding average ranks 39th in the nation and fourth nationally among freshmen.
  • The Gamecocks are shooting 40.9 percent from 3-point range in SEC play to lead the league.
  • South Carolina has scored in the 70s five times this season and is a perfect 5-0 in those games. Since Dawn Staley took the reins of the program, South Carolina is 10-3 in games in which it scores at least 70 points.

No. 14 Georgia (19-4, 6-4) Notes

  • The Lady Bulldogs lead the series 28-4, including victories in the last nine meetings. The last time South Carolina defeated Georgia was a 64-59 decision on Feb. 7, 2002, to close out a season sweep of the Lady Bulldogs.
  • The No. 14-ranked Georgia Lady Bulldogs look to build upon the momentum gained from a Thursday victory over No. 19 LSU. The win came after a three game losing streak.
  • Georgia’s 16-0 start to begin the 2009-10 season was the Lady Bulldogs’ best opening to a campaign ever.
  • Ashley Houts has played more career minutes than any other active Division I player entering 2009-10. She played 34 minutes against LSU on a sprained left ankle, and her amount of time on the court today is TBD.
  • The Lady Bulldogs fell to Auburn last weekend by 14 points. The Gamecocks swept their series with Auburn this season.

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