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South Carolina Hosts #24/21 Vanderbilt 


South Carolina women's basketball (12-2, 1-0 SEC) is looking for its seventh-straight victory Thursday night when #24/21 Vanderbilt comes to Colonial Life Arena for a 7 p.m. contest. The Gamecocks are ranked second in the nation in scoring defense, but the Commodores are the most accurate 3-point shooting team in the nation, hitting 43.8 percent from beyond the arc.

South Carolina Notables
• This is the 38th season of women's basketball at South Carolina and the Gamecocks' 21st season in the SEC.
• South Carolina's defense, rated second in the nation in points allowed, has held eight opponents to 48 or fewer points this season, the most since 2006-07.
• During its current six-game win streak, the Gamecocks have scored 68.7 points per game on 45.6 percent shooting while holding opponents to 40.2 points per game on 33.1 percent shooting. South Carolina has a +12.7 rebounding advantage and a +6.8 turnover margin during the stretch as well.
• Six players average five or more points per game during South Carolina's current six-game win streak, which includes wins over then-No. 18/16 North Carolina and Alabama in the SEC opener. The trio of starting guards have led the way with Markeshia Grant's 13.6 ppg pacing Ieasia Walker (10.5) and La'Keisha Sutton (9.7). Walker surged a head in the assist battle, handing out a team-high 3.3 over the six games. Freshman forward Aleighsa Welch has been a force during the streak as well, pulling in a team-high 6.5 boards per game to go with 8.0 points per game on 70.4 percent shooting.

A South Carolina Win Would...
• Be the Gamecocks' 13th of the season, the best open to a season since the 2002-03 team started 13-1.
• Be the Gamecocks' seventh-straight victory, the longest win streak since the 2005-06 team put together seven straight from Dec. 13 through Jan. 2 in non-conference action.
• Make the Gamecocks 2-0 in the SEC for the first time since the 2001-02 team started league play with four straight victories.

By the Numbers
0 Games this season in which the Gamecocks have committed more turnovers than their opponent
.459 Field goal percentage for the Gamecocks over the last five games, which includes four players connecting on at least half their field goal attempts - Aleighsa Welch (.810), Ashley Bruner (.579), Charenee Stephens (.556) and Markeshia Grant (.500)
2 National rank for the Gamecocks in scoring defense, allowing opponents just 44.6 points per game, second only to Connecticut's 41.4
2.3 Assist-to-turnover ratio of junior guard Ieasia Walker over the last five games
5 Games this season, including four of the last six, in which the Gamecocks' opponent never led - Savannah State, North Carolina, South Carolina State, Furman and Clemson
8 Of the 13 Gamecocks on the active roster that have recorded at least one double-digit scoring game - the group has combined for double-digits 35 times
7 Categories in which the Gamecocks are ranked among the nation's top 30, including 3-point field goal defense (4th), turnover margin (13th), won-lost percentage (17th), scoring margin (18th) and rebound margin (30th)
10 Games this season that have been decided by more than 10 points, all won by the Gamecocks
11 National rank for the Gamecocks in turnovers per game - 13.4
12 Games in which South Carolina has had a lead at halftime, all resulting in victories
16 Assists handed out by Ieasia Walker over the last five games, compared to just seven turnovers
45 RPI of the Gamecocks through games of Jan. 2, which is the fourth-best mark in the SEC behind Tennessee (2), Georgia (21) and LSU (25)

Last Time Out
South Carolina opened its SEC season with a victory for the first time since 2002-03, topping Alabama 68-42 Sunday afternoon at Colonial Life Arena. Three significant scoring drives and solid defense were the difference in the game. Five Gamecocks scored nine or more points, led by Ieasia Walker's 12, and freshman forward Aleighsa Welch grabbed 10 boards for the first double-digit rebound game of her career.

Vanderbilt Series Notes
The Commodores lead the series 21-6 after escaping Colonial Life Arena with a 74-60 overtime win last season. That victory extended Vanderbilt's edge over the Gamecocks in Columbia to 8-4. South Carolina's last win over the Commodores was a 73-70 decision on Feb. 28, 2010. Vandy was ranked 24th in the nation, but the Gamecocks used a 26-10 surge in the second half to upset the Commodores' Senior Day festivities. South Carolina junior guard Ieasia Walker has enjoyed the best career games against Vanderbilt, averaging 16.0 points over her two outings. She netted 18 in the 2010 win and added 14 to last season's effort.

Walking Softly
South Carolina junior guard Ieasia Walker has not put up the gawdy numbers of her sophomore campaign, but she has quietly become a central figure in the Gamecocks' success this season because of her contributions to every part of the game. The season began in fits and starts for Walker, scoring in double figures in two of the first four games before scoring a combined four points over the next four outings. She was playing well during the stretch, shifting attention from her shooting slump into becoming more productive in setting up her teammates and being the spearhead of the stingy Gamecock defense. In the last six games (beginning Dec. 11), however, Walker's complete game has been on full display. She has scored 10.5 points per game on 47.1 percent shooting, including 35.7 percent from 3-point range, while averaging 3.0 steals and 3.3 assists and posting a 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Walker tied her career high with six assists against #18/16 North Carolina and put an exclamation point on her comeback with 18 points at Drexel, including the game-clinching free throws with seven seconds to play, while adding four assists and four steals to the victory.

Good Hands
South Carolina is ranked 13th in the country's in turnover margin. The trio of experienced guards have helped the Gamecocks on both sides of the turnover margin. The Gamecocks have forced 20 or more turnovers in eight of their 14 games this season while committing 20 or more turnovers only once (vs. College of Charleston, Nov. 23). The Gamecocks are also 11th in the nation in fewest turnovers per game (13.4).



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