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Jan. 1, 2014

South Carolina Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Game Information

Opponent: Arkansas
Date: Thursday, January 2, 2014, 8 p.m. (ET)
Site: Fayetteville, Ark.
Arena:Bud Walton Arena (19,200)
TV: None
Radio: WNKT 107.5 FM/WISW 1320 AM (Brad Muller);
Live Video: (Subscription Required)
Live Stats: None
Series History: ARK leads 17-10

South Carolina Notables

  • This is the Gamecocks’ 40th season as a varsity sport, the sixth with head coach Dawn Staley at the helm. It is South Carolina’s 23rd season in the SEC.
  • Sophomore guard Tiffany Mitchell earned a spot on ESPN’s Graham Hayes’ “10 Rising to the Occasion” for her all-around contributions to the Gamecocks’ 12-1 record. Ranked among the SEC’s top 10 scorers at 15.1 ppg, Mitchell also leads the team in total assists (48) and steals (32, 2.5/gm for 4th in SEC). She is the best backcourt rebounder and is shooting 53.4 percent from the field, including 48.5 percent from 3-point range.
  • With the injury to sophomore point guard Khadijah Sessions against North Carolina, other Gamecocks have had a chance to make their cases for more playing time this season. The biggest benefactor of the extra minutes has been junior transfer Olivia Gaines. The aggressive defender has played well within the offense as well over the last two games. She averaged 6.5 points on 71.4 percent shooting as she takes what the defense offers her. Redshirt freshman Tiffany Davis has taken over Session’s starting spot and has shown improvement with each game as well, specifically in limiting her turnovers. In the last two games, Davis averaged 7.0 points, including 4-of-4 from 3-point range, and 1.5 assists.
  • After a three-game lull in her freshman campaign, center Alaina Coates has re-emerged as a dominant force for the Gamecocks. Averaging 13.3 points through the first eight games, the 6-foot-4 Coates posted just five total points over the next three games in limited minutes. A heart-to-heart with head coach Dawn Staley led to the Irmo, S.C., product averaging 20.0 points, on 91.7 percent shooting, 8.5 rebounds and 3.0 blocks over the last two outings.


A South Carolina Win Would…

  • Be just the Gamecocks’ second victory in an SEC opener in the Dawn Staley era (2011-12) and be the first time on the road.
  • Be the Gamecocks’ third straight over Arkansas.

By the Numbers
Perfect shooting game by a freshman in South Carolina women’s basketball history (min. five FGA and five FTA) – Alaina Coates vs. SC State (Dec. 22) with 7-of-7 from the field and 9-of-9 from the free throw line
3 Games this season in which five Gamecocks have scored in double figures, which had happened just five previous times in the Dawn Staley era
5 Statistical categories in which the Gamecocks rank among the nation’s top 10 – scoring defense, scoring margin, field goal percentage, 3-point field goal percentage defense and blocked shots
5 Different Gamecocks who have been the team’s high scorer in a game this season – Alaina Coates (Charleston Southern, at San Diego State, SC State), Aleighsa Welch (LA Tech, at Clemson, vs. UNC), Asia Dozier (CofC), Elem Ibiam (Seton Hall, Charlotte) and Tiffany Mitchell (at USC, NC Central, Winthrop, Savannah St.)
6 Individual 20-point games this season by the Gamecock – three by Alaina Coates (CSU, at SDSU), two by Tiffany Mitchell (at USC, Winthrop) and one by Aleighsa Welch (vs. UNC)
7 Games in which South Carolina has shot at least 50.0 percent from the field this season after reaching the mark just 12 times in the previous five seasons under Staley
7 Games this season in which South Carolina has scored at least 50.0 percent of its points in the paint, including scoring 70 of 99 points against Charleston Southern (Nov. 8) inside
9 Opponents who have been held to 55 or fewer points by the Gamecocks this season, helping the Gamecocks rank third in the nation in scoring defense (48.3 ppg)
28 Entries for the Gamecocks in the last 38 Associated Press Top 25 Polls
52.2 Percent of the Gamecocks’ 69 points against Winthrop that sophomore guard Tiffany Mitchell either scored or assisted on – 17 in the first half and 19 in the second
61.4 Percent of field goals made this season that have been assisted

Arkansas Series Notes
The Razorbacks lead the series 17-10, but the Gamecocks have won three of the last four meetings, including each of the last two. South Carolina captured the last matchup 43-40 in Fayetteville on Jan. 27, 2013. The result came on the back of a Gamecock defense that twice prevented the Razorbacks from tying the game in the final minute. Aleighsa Welch blocked three shots in the game, including a 3-point attempt with eight seconds to play. Tiffany Mitchell was the top rebounder with eight boards to go with her eight points in the game. The Razorbacks’ last win in the series was a 68-47 decision on Feb. 9, 2012, on their home court.

Five-Second Count
For the first time in her tenure at South Carolina, head coach Dawn’s Staley’s Gamecocks look different – on the court and in the box score. After seasons of building around defense, Staley finally as a group that is designed for offensive efficiency. The Gamecocks are scoring more (77.2 ppg – 7th in SEC, 44th in nation) and more efficiently (.492 FG %age – 2nd in SEC, 7th in country) than at any time in the Staley era. And, after seasons of talented guards generating their own offense, Staley’s 2013-14 success is predicated on getting the ball inside – three primary post players combine to score 47.2 percent of the team’s points – and on ball movement creating the best shots as 61.4 percent of made field goals have been assisted, ranking the Gamecocks seventh in the SEC and 44th in the nation with 16.5 assists per game. Defense is still a staple of the program with the Gamecocks ranking third in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 48.3 points per game. Only four opponents this season have scored 55 or more points against South Carolina.

January Judgements
In its 40th season of women’s basketball, South Carolina is 177-179 (.497) all-time in the month of January, including a 22-21 record (.512) in the sixth season of the Dawn Staley era. The Gamecocks have struggled most on the road in the first month of the year, posting a 106-75 (.586) record at home and a 1-0 mark at a neutral site but just a 61-96 (.389) mark on the road. (Sites for games in the two seasons prior to 1976-77 are not comprehensive, leaving 17 January games unaccounted for in the home/away/neutral ledger.)

Road Warriors
With comprehensive records beginning in the 1976-77 season (the third for women’s basketball at South Carolina), the Gamecocks are 199-234 (.460) all-time in games played on the road, including a 30-29 mark (.508) in the Dawn Staley era. The Gamecocks had winning road records in each of the last two seasons, combining for a 16-8 record (.667) in 2011-12 and 2012-13.