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Feb. 14, 2014

Tina Roy

South Carolina Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Game Information

Opponent: No. 19/17 LSU (18-6, 7-4 SEC)
Date: Sunday, February 16, 2014, 3:30 p.m.
Site: Baton Rouge, La.
Arena: Maravich Assembly Ctr. (13,215)
TV: ESPN2 (Bob Picozzi, pxp; LaChina Robinson, analyst)
Radio: 1320 AM The Fan (Brad Muller);; Sirius 92/XM 190 (LSU Broadcasters)
Live Video: WatchESPN
Live Stats:
Series History: LSU leads 22-5

South Carolina Notables

  • South Carolina has been participating in “Play 4 Kay” Week, wearing special shooting shirts and pink accessories for games this week. The Gamecocks have a larger celebration of those involved in the fight against breast cancer, especially that of assistant coach Nikki McCray, planned for their Feb. 23 home game against Florida.
  • The Gamecocks moved into the Associated Press top five this week for the first time since Jan. 10, 1982.
  • Junior forward Aleigsha Welch has tailored her game to a new environment this season, finding new ways to assert herself among her 6-foot-4 teammates inside. Adding range to her jumper and using her athleticism to drive to the rim, she is second in the league and 11th in the nation with a .585 field goal percentage while ranking 15th in the SEC in scoring (13.7 ppg) and 10th in rebounding (7.6 rpg). In the Gamecocks’ four games against ranked opponents this season, Welch has lifted her game even farther, averaging a double-double with 17.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per game to go with her 2.0 assists per contest.
  • Eschewing the idea of a sophomore slump, South Carolina leading scorer Tiffany Mitchell has established herself as one of the most versatile players in the SEC – one of two in the league to rank among its top 15 in scoring, steals and assists. Her effort has earned her spots on the Naismith Trophy Midseason 30 and the Wade Trophy and Dawn Staley Award Watch Lists.


A South Carolina Win Would…

  • Be the Gamecocks’ fifth SEC road win of the season, tying the school record set last season.
  • Be the Gamecocks’ first over LSU in Baton Rouge since Jan. 15, 1994 (1-12 all-time).

By the Numbers
Team with two players listed among both the SEC’s overall top 30 in scoring and top 20 rebounding – Aleighsa Welch (15th/10th) and Alaina Coates (23rd/8th)
2 Double-doubles needed by center Alaina Coates to tie the Gamecock freshman record for double-doubles in a season (9 by Kelsey Bone in 2008-09)
3.8 Assists per SEC game by sophomore Asia Dozier to lead the team and rank ninth in the SEC
6 Gamecocks who have posted (or tied for) a team high in assists at least once this season
8 Different Gamecocks who have scored in double figures at least once this season
10 Individual 20-point games this season by the Gamecocks – five by Alaina Coates, three by Tiffany Mitchell two by and Aleighsa Welch
12 Games in which South Carolina has shot at least 50.0 percent from the field this season – including two games over 60.0 percent (Charleston Southern, Ole Miss) – after reaching the mark just 12 times in the previous five seasons under Staley
13 Weeks in which the Gamecocks have ranked fifth or higher in the Associated Press poll all-time. South Carolina returned to the AP top five this week for the first time since Jan. 10, 1982. The Gamecocks’ best ever ranking was No. 2, which it held for three weeks in Dec. 1981.
24 Points needed by junior forward Aleighsa Welch to reach 1,000 in her career

LSU Series Notes
The Tigers lead the series 22-5, but the teams have split the last four games winning on their own home courts each time. The Gamecocks have faced LSU once in each of the last two seasons, including last year’s 66-59 win at Carolina Coliseum. South Carolina has had a difficult time winning in Baton Rouge, posting just a 1-12 mark against the Tigers on their home court. The Gamecocks’ last win over LSU on the road was a 90-82 decision on Jan. 15, 1994. South Carolina nearly broke the streak on Feb. 24, 2011, leading by two from the 2:29 mark until the Tigers’ Taylor Turnbow hit a jumper with three seconds left to send the game to overtime. LSU took an early lead in the extra period and held off a late surge by the Gamecocks, who had two chances to tie the game in the final 20 seconds, to claim a 54-51 victory.

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 has a group that is designed for offensive efficiency. The Gamecocks are scoring more (74.7 ppg, 51st in nation) and more efficiently (.487 FG %age – 1st in SEC, 5th in nation) 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 47.7 percent of the team’s points – and on ball movement creating the best shots as 60.7 percent of made field goals have been assisted. Defense is still a staple of the program with the Gamecocks ranking second in the SEC and fourth in the nation, allowing just 53.8 points per game.

High Five
South Carolina is ranked in the top five of the Associated Press Poll this week for the first time since Jan. 10, 1982, when the Gamecocks came in at No. 4. The Gamecocks had been ranked among the nation’s top five 12 times prior to this week’s entry. South Carolina’s highest ever rank in the AP Poll was No. 2, which it held for three weeks in Dec. 1981.

Reading the RPI
With a 22-2 record, including an 8-1 mark on the road, the Gamecocks are eighth in the NCAA RPI released on Feb. 10. South Carolina is one of six SEC schools rated in the top 25 – LSU (5), Tennessee (6), Texas A&M (13), Vanderbilt (15), Kentucky (21). The Gamecocks have three of those teams ahead on the schedule – at LSU (Feb. 16), at Kentucky (Feb. 20) and at Tennessee (Mar. 2). No SEC team is outside the top 140.

Rating Against the Ranked
Under head coach Dawn Staley, the Gamecocks are 13-36 all-time against nationally ranked opponents, including a 2-2 mark this season. Staley’s .265 winning percentage against the nation’s elite teams is the best for a Gamecock head coach over at least three seasons since Pam Parsons went 14-18 (.438) against ranked teams during her 1978-82 tenure.

Road Warriors
With comprehensive records beginning in the 1976-77 season (the third for women’s basketball at South Carolina), the Gamecocks are 203-235 (.463) all-time in games played on the road, including a 34-30 mark (.531) 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.