WBB: Carolina returns for homestand

The South Carolina women's basketball team will get to visit the Virgin Islands for Thanksgiving weekend to play in the Paradise Jam. Before they pack their bags, they have a little bit of business to take care of in Columbia. Carolina hosts Savannah State on Thursday night and Clemson on Sunday.

Date: Thursday, November 15, 2012
Time: 7 p.m. (ET)
Location: Columbia, SC.
Arena: Colonial Life Arena
TV: SportSouth
Radio: WISW 1320 AM (Brad Muller); GamecocksOnline.com
Live Stats: GamecocksOnline.com
Savannah State series:South Carolina leads 4-0 (all in Columbia).

To say that an 82-58 trouncing of Louisiana Tech was impressive would be a vast understatement. After all, it was only Tech's 47th loss at Thomas Assembly Center in 457 games. The best thing about the win that has drawn some looks from across the college basketball world is South Carolina's biggest weakness at this point in the season; youthfulness.

No player on the South Carolina roster had been born yet during the heyday of Lady Techster basketball in the 1980's when they ruled the women's basketball universe. As with many young players, they just don't know any better. They don't understand how big it was to pass this early season test. It also helps that their head coach won't let them.

"I don't think they really understand," Staley said on Wednesday. "I think it's good to gain some confidence, but what we do in practice keeps them humbled. We're not playing our best basketball, and we shouldn't be at this point, but we feel very comfortable in what we're doing."

Carolina has been lighting the scoreboard up, something they weren't able to do often last season. Only three times during the regular season last year that Carolina scored more than 70 points and their high was 79 points against North Carolina. In the first two games this season the Gamecocks are averaging more than their season-high last year.

"What you're seeing is that we're able to get points in transition," Staley said. "That's something we probably haven't been able to do in years past this early."

Carolina returns home for the next two games when they welcome a pair of Tigers to the Colonial Life Arena. They host Savannah State Thursday and rival Clemson on Sunday. Last season Carolina beat Savannah State 65-39 in Columbia and beat Clemson 65-48 in Clemson. Staley believes her team will face a unique challenge in Savannah State that will help her young players learn how to defend where they aren't as comfortable.

"They're a very athletic group that likes to get up and down the court," Staley said. "They can knock down three's, they can get to the bucket, and they will post up our guards so we'll get to see some things that we haven't seen. Our guards will have to defend on the block."

Carolina will be without the services of forward Elem Ibiam for the second consecutive game after suffering a slight head injury in practice prior to the Louisiana Tech game. While Staley says Ibiam could play, there's no reason to rush her back against weaker competition.

"We're taking the ultimate precaution," Staley said. "She's able to play but we don't want her to take a hit in the head that could keep her out a little longer."

USC probable starters
G - Ieasia Walker
G - Sancheon White
G - Tiffany Mitchell
F - Ashley Bruner
F - Aleighsa Welch

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