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WBB Post-Game Blog: Starting Off on the Right Foot

Key Factor

Getting an early lead and starting things out right was crucial for the Gamecocks on Thursday as they picked up a comfortable 64-50 win over Ole Miss at Colonial Life Arena.

Facing a Rebel team fresh off a road win over No. 8 Georgia, South Carolina took a 7-6 lead three minutes into the game and never looked back. The Gamecocks would lead by as much as 20 points.

“We had to come out and start better than we’ve been known to start,” said Kelsey Bone. “We didn’t want to start out with a deficit and then have to fight our way back for the rest of the game.”

Limiting points and opportunities for Ole Miss’ Bianca Thomas was a focus for South Carolina as she averaged 21.8 points per game entering tonight’s contest.

The Gamecocks limited Thomas to just eight points in four minutes. Held scoreless in the first half, Thomas shot 2-of-10 from the field for the game. The senior guard failed to score in double digits for the first time this season.

“Keisha [Sutton] did a really good job pestering her all night,” said Bone.

South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley said Sutton relishes the opportunity to face a team’s top player.

“She was really focused for this game – she really gets up for the opponent’s top scorer,” she said. “She came in today to watch a little more film to see how she could limit [Thomas’] touches.”

Key Box Score

Total FG-FGA 3 pt FG-FGA FT-FTA Rebs Pts Assts TO Blk Stl Min
G Valerie Nainima 6-13 5-9 0-0 2 17 4 3 0 0 37

The junior guard had her best scoring night in the past three games after scoring just 5 against LSU and 12 against Florida.

“She got back on the scoring side of things and she looked pretty good,” said Staley.

Key Stats

  • Thursday’s win doubled South Carolina’s conference win total from last season.
  • The Gamecocks’ bench played a key role – contributing 15 points. The Rebels’ bench failed to register a point.
  • South Carolina shot 47% from the field and 43% from behind the arc.
  • The Gamecocks picked up their third straight win over Ole Miss in Columbia.

Key Quote

“Hopefully, we can get some of that magic that was in here on Tuesday night [at the men’s game vs. Kentucky] and do the unthinkable. If we can get that one – the sky is the limit.” – Dawn Staley on facing Tennessee this Sunday at Colonial Life Arena.

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Top of the Key: WBB vs. Ole Miss

After being on the road for the past two games, South Carolina will now have the home court advantage as they host the Ole Miss Rebels this Thursday at Colonial Life Arena at 7 p.m. The Gamecocks look to knock off Ole Miss who is tied for No. 1 in the league standings. You can listen live on 1320 AM (Columbia) or on GamecocksOnline.com. Tickets are still available – visit GamecocksOnline.com or stop by the Colonial Life Arena box office. Single game tickets are $7 for adults, $3 for youth.

South Carolina (10-9, 3-4) Notes

  • South Carolina has stepped up its outside game since SEC play began and has three players among the league’s top 10 3-point percentage shooters in the conference play.
  • South Carolina’s RPI is 32 – good for 4th best in the league
  • South Carolina is ranked No. 2 in SEC play in 3-point field goal percentage (.473)
  • Kelsey Bone put up game highs with 19 points and 11 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the season against Florida last Sunday.
  • Valerie Nainima is the team’s overall leading scorer averaging 17.8 ppg

Ole Miss (14-5, 5-1) Notes

  • Ole Miss upset No. 8 Georgia in Athens last Sunday-the loss was the first this season by Georgia at home and only its second loss of the season. It was also the first win by an Ole Miss team ever in Athens-the Rebels entered the game 0-14 all-time in Athens.
  • The win against Georgia gave Ole Miss its first five-game conference winning streak since 2007.
  • The win also gave Ole Miss its first road win over a ranked opponent since 2002.
  • The SEC named Rebels forward Nikki Byrd SEC Player of the Week. Byrd has averaged 12.5 points per game and 11.5 rebounds per game over  the course of the week.
  • In addition, Byrd was a perfect 6-for-6 from the field and leads the SEC in field goal percentage. She shot 73.3 percent from the field and 60.0 percent from the free throw line for the week.

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Top of the Key: MBB vs. Ole Miss

South Carolina will head west on Wednesday to take on the University of Mississippi at 9 p.m. ET in the C.M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum. Tune in to CSS, ESPN Full Court, and ESPN360.com for full coverage of the game, which will be called by Dave Baker and Nate Ross. You can also listen live on the Gamecock Radio Network with Andy Demetra and Casey Manning.

South Carolina (11-6, 2-1) Notes

  • In his second year as Head Coach of the Gamecocks, Darrin Horn has his team out-scoring opponents by an average of 7.3 points.
  • Out of 26 total meetings with Ole Miss, South Carolina leads the series 13-12 and has won each of the last three meetings. However, the Rebels hold an 8-1 advantage in games played in Oxford.
  • Carolina’s 7.4 blocked shots per game rank second in the Southeastern Conference and sixth in the nation. Junior forward Sam Muldrow paces the Gamecocks with 3.3 blocks per game, second in the SEC and ninth in the nation. However, against Vanderbilt the Gamecocks matched a season low in blocked shots with only 3 in the game (3 vs. Clemson).
  • The Gamecocks have won the last three games in the series by a combined 27 points. Paced by Devan Downey’s 22 points, Carolina earned an 82-71 win over the Rebels last season in Columbia.

No. 22 Ole Miss (13-4, 1-2) Notes

  • Ole Miss is nationally ranked for the seventh straight week, coming in at No. 22 in the AP poll and No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll.
  • At 82.5 ppg, Ole Miss leads the SEC and ranks 12th in the nation in scoring offense.
  • Junior guard Chris Warren ranks sixth in the SEC in scoring at 16.6 ppg, and sophomore guard Terrico White is eighth with 16.2 points per game.
  • Head Coach Andy Kennedy is looking for his first win over the Gamecocks, as his Cincinnati and Ole Miss teams are a combined 0-4.
  • Each of Ole Miss’ three SEC contests have been decided by five points or less, including the most recent 2-point overtime loss at Tennessee (71-69). Both the Mississippi State and Georgia games also featured a 2-point game at some point within the final 2 minutes.

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Ole Miss Radio Highlight Montage

No words. Just listen.

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Cocks Crow: Victory

As you roll into work bleary-eyed (but smiling) this morning, take a look at the recaps from around the media:

Here’s some game notes and facts for you:

  • The win is the first at home against a Top 5 team.  It’s just the second win against a Top 5 team in school history.  The last one came in 1981 against No. 3 North Carolina.
  • Stephen Garcia’s 69-yard connection with Moe Brown to start the second half was the longest completion and longest reception of both players’ careers. It was also the longest completion of the Spurrier era.  The last pass play to go for 69 yards or more came in 2004 when Syvelle Newton connected with Troy Williamson for a 74-yard completion vs. South Florida.
  • Patrick DiMarco’s touchdown was the third of his career.  Two of those touchdowns have come on Thursday night against a Top 10 team (2007 vs. #8 Kentucky).
  • Last night was the first time in 19 games that the Rebels failed to score more than 10 points.
  • The loss snaps an 8-game win streak for Ole Miss – a streak which was tied for the second-longest in FBS.

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The Closer: Ole Miss Scene Setter

Check out the scene setter for tomorrow night’s Gamecock ISP Sports Network broadcast of the Ole Miss game:

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Ole Miss Gameday Need to Know

Time: Thursday at 7:45 p.m. ET

Location: Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, SC

TV Coverage: ESPN
Broadcast Team:  Chris Fowler, Craig James, Jesse Palmer, Erin Andrews

TV Replay: SportsSouth, Sept. 27 at 8 p.m. ET
Broadcast Team: Andy Demetra, Brad Muller

Radio Coverage: Gamecock Radio Network – Flagship 107.5 FM (Click here for an affiliate in your area)
Broadcast Team: Todd Ellis, Tommy Suggs and Terry Cousin
In-Stadium Radio Frequency: Tune to 107.5 if you’re at the game to hear the Gamecock Radio Network broadcast or E1 on your Live Sports Radio

National Radio: ESPN Radio with Bill Rosinski, Dennis Franchione, Joe Schad

Satellite Radio: XM 200/Sirius 220

Digital Coverage: Gamecocks Gameday Live. Click here for the Live Blog.

Weather: High 89/Low 70/Chance of rain 20%

Important Gameday Times:

1:30 p.m. – Stadium Parking Office Opens (located under northwest ramp)
2:30 p.m. – Parking Lots Open
3 p.m. – Stadium Box Office Opens (located under the northwest ramp)
5:30 p.m. – Select Stadium Gates Open (Gates 4, 14, 16, 22, 25)
6:00 p.m. – Remaining Stadium Gates Open
7:45 p.m. – Kick-off

Note: Parking lots close 2 hours after the end of the game

What to do on Gameday:

Gamecock Village (Open from 2:30 – 7:00)

  • Gamecock Radio Network live from 4:30 – 5:30
  • Appearances by the Carolina Girls, the USC Marching Band and Cocky
  • Allstate mobile tour with Bergwood (Allstate’s personality from their TV commercials – see photo below)

Bergwood

Bergwood

  • Baby T-Rex from the Walking with Dinosaurs Show
  • US Marines with chip up challenge
  • US Army with open tailgate for students and fans
  • WIS – TV with personalities Judi Gatson and Rick Henry
  • Merchandise from Addam’s Bookstore
  • Interactive games from Coca-Cola
  • Carolina Alumni Association
  • Food Lion with free samples and coupons
  • Free t-shirts from the Graphic Cow

Bojangles (Open from 2:30 – 7:00)

  • Gamecock Radio Network live from 5:30 – 6:30
  • Appearances by the Carolina Girls, the USC Marching Band and Cocky
  • Cocky Bounce House
  • Time Warner Cable w/ give-aways
  • Cross Runner Green Urban Vehicle
  • John Deere display
  • GMC with free t-shirts and 2010 Buick LaCrosse
  • Free t-shirts from the Graphic Cow

Texting for Assistance at the Game:

Report stadium issues, unruly behavior, or requests for help by texting “USC” <space> your issue and location to 41513. Assistance is available two hours before kickoff and one hour after the game. Standard SMS rates apply.

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