Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Lady Vols Host South Carolina Thursday

The #3-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols (19-2, 6-0 SEC) are on the verge of the program's 31st consecutive season with at least 20-wins when they take on the South Carolina Gamecocks (13-9, 3-4 SEC) in a key SEC contest in Knoxville on Thursday.


This is the Lady Vols' 33rd season under Head Coach Pat Summitt...She has compiled a staggering 932-179 overall record... Is just 68 wins away from a remarkable 1,000 career victories...Collected her 900th coaching win with a 80-68 decision over #19-ranked Vanderbilt on Jan. 19, 2006... She passed Dean Smith (879 wins) for most NCAA collegiate basketball wins of all-time with a 75-54 victory over Purdue on Mar. 22, 2005 ...Her 2005-06 squad advanced to the NCAA Elite 8...Finished with a 31-5 overall record and were the SEC Tournament Champions...

This season, UT returned six letterwinners, welcomed a senior manager turned player, two junior college transfers and a pair of rookies...The 2006-07 season marked the Lady Vol debut for former senior manager #10 Elizabeth Curry, JC transfers #00 Shannon Bobbitt and #33 Alberta Auguste...True freshman, #2 Cait McMahan, a 5-4 guard from Maryville, Tenn., and #34 Nicci Moats, a 6-2 forward from Daleville, Va.


Last week, South Carolina picked up a pair of SEC victories, downing Florida, 79-51, and defeating Kentucky, 66-56. USC's Melanie Johnson played a critical role in both wins, notching double-doubles and leading the team in scoring and rebounding in each contest. Johnson has picked up her play at just the right time, as the Gamecocks have been without the services of point guard Lea Fabbri for the last four games after she sprained her ankle in their win over Alabama on Jan. 14. The senior has been upgraded to questionable for tonight's game after practicing this week for the first time since sustaining the injury. South Carolina can trace its success this season to its ability to hit the boards, as it leads the SEC and is sixth in the country with a +11.2 rebounding margin this season. It also tops the league and ranks 10th in the nation in the blocked shots category, having rejected an average of 5.82 shots per game. On offense, USC is led by senior Lauren Simms, who is scoring at a clip of 9.3 points per game. She enters today's contest with 989 career points and needs just 11 points to become the 26th player in South Carolina history to score 1,000 career points. Just behind her is 6-5 senior forward Iva Sliskovic, who is putting up 9.2 points per game of her own.


This week, the Lady Vols return to SEC schedule normalcy facing South Carolina at home on Thursday and entertaining #14-ranked Georgia in an ESPN2 "Rivalry Week" match-up on Monday.


A record 21 Lady Vol regular season games are slated for national/regional television this season. Five non-televised games will be available as streaming video with voice-over from Mickey Dearstone on UT is 12-2 on TV this season.


UT is 7-0 in games played on Feb. 1. The Lady Vols are 6-0 at home, 1-0 on the road and 0-0 on neutral courts. The last time out on Feb. 1, the Lady Vols registered a 68-61 overtime victory over Auburn in Knoxville in 2004.


Last year at this time, the Lady Vols were 19-2 and had just defeated Alabama, 89-54.


Tennessee will play 15 teams in 17 games and five of the nation's top 10 teams who have been ranked at some point this season in the AP and USA TODAY ESPN polls: North Carolina, Duke, UConn, Georgia, LSU, Stanford, Arizona St., Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Arkansas, UCLA, George Washington, Texas Mississippi and Middle Tennessee. All have been ranked or are currently ranked.


In all games, this is how Tennessee has shot from the field: 50%FG: Chattanooga (.579), MTSU (.565), Arizona St. (.548), UCLA (.531), ODU/UT-Martin (.509), Stanford (.500); 40%FG: Louisiana Tech (.483), GWU (.482), Alabama1 (.464), Vandy1 (.458), Alabama2 (.453), Florida (.442), West Virginia (.431), Texas (.429); 30%FG: Georgia1 (.396), Miss. St. (.395), Notre Dame (.381), UConn (.371), North Carolina (.362), Duke (.361)


In all games, this is how the opposition has shot from the field: 50%FG: none, 40%FG: Duke (.491), GWU (.472), Arizona St. (.469), Stanford (.456), MTSU (.453), UCLA (.451), North Carolina (.444), Vandy1 (.438), UConn (.433), Chattanooga (.431), Miss. State (.409), Notre Dame (.407), 30%FG: ODU (.396), Alabama2 (.378), Alabama1 (.369), West Virginia (.352), Florida (.345), Georgia1 (.319), Texas (.308); 20%FG: Louisiana Tech (.295), UT-Martin (.204)


Wins: +56 (1), +36 (1), +30 (1), +29 (2), +24 (2), +23 (2), +22 (1), +21 (2), +17 (1), + 16 (1), +15 (1), +11 (1), + 10 (1), +9 (1), +6 (1).
Losses: -13 (1), -4 (1)


On Monday, Georgia travels to Tennessee for a "Rivalry Week" meeting on ESPN2. Tonight, however, #14-ranked Georgia (18-4, 5-2 SEC) and #7-ranked LSU (20-2, 6-1 SEC) clash in Athens, Ga. Earlier this season, LSU defeated Georgia, 57-55, in Baton Rouge, La. In their last outing, the #15/14-ranked Georgia Lady Bulldogs' Tasha Humphrey scored 19 points and Ashley Houts added 16 to help UGA beat Florida, 77-54, on Jan. 28 in Gainesville, Fla. The Lady Bulldogs ended the first half with a 9-1 run and led 36-27 at the break. The Lady Gators (6-16, 0-7) trimmed the lead to 53-49 but Georgia closed the game with a 24-5 spurt. Houts added six rebounds, four assists and five steals for Georgia, which was 9-of-20 from behind the arc to complement Humphrey's dominance. Janese Hardrick and Cori Chambers added 11 points apiece for the Bulldogs.


With a record of 13-9, 3-4 in SEC action, South Carolina comes to Rocky Top tied for seventh in the league standings. While the Gamecocks have been solid at home with a 12-3 record, they have struggled on the road this season, posting just a single win in seven attempts. Last week, USC picked up a pair of SEC victories, downing Florida, 79-51, and taking out Kentucky, 66-56.

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