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Dec. 6, 2014


South Carolina Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Buy Tickets

Coach Staley
Aleighsa Welch

Game Information

Date: Sunday, December 7, 2014 | 1 p.m.
Site: Durham, N.C.
Arena: Cameron Indoor Stadium (9,314)
Tickets: $5-15 based on location
Broadcast: ESPN2 (Pam Ward pxp, Rebecca Lobo analyst); WatchESPN
Radio: 107.5 The Game (Brad Muller);
Live Stats:
Series History: Tied 1-1

South Carolina Notables

  • Head coach Dawn Staley has sent four different starting lineups to the court in seven games this season. Only seniors Elem Ibiam and Aleigsha Welch and junior Tiffany Mitchell have been in each combination. Staley seemed to have settled on that trio with junior point guard Khadijah Sessions and sophomore post Alaina Coates, opening four games with that lineup before inserting junior co-captain Asia Dozier for Coates against Charlotte Thursday night.
  • South Carolina is among the best set-up teams in the nation, ranking in the top five in percent of assisted made field goals at 70.9 percent. Among teams ranked in the AP Top 25, the Gamecocks trail just Oregon State’s 71.6 percent.
  • The Gamecocks rank eighth in the nation in field goal percentage with an SEC-best mark of .492. The accuracy is not the product of one hot hand, but instead six Gamecocks who are shooting at least 50.0 percent from the field, including five of the team’s top six scorers.
  • South Carolina’s offensive efficiency frequently stems from each Gamecock’s willingness to find the best shot instead of her best shot. In addition to a high assist number – fifth in the nation with an SEC-best 21.3 – their sharing has resulted in no one attempting 10.0 or more field goals per game. Freshman A’ja Wilson leads the group with 9.7 FGA per game en route to her 13.7 ppg, while senior Elem Ibiam attempts just 4.3 shots per game for her 6.6 scoring average. The team’s top scorer, junior Tiffany Mitchell, has scored her 14.9 points per game on just 8.6 attempts per outing.
  • The Gamecocks’ post players have garnered much attention this season, and rightfully so, with point in the paint accounting for 50.3 percent of South Carolina’s offense. Guards who have contributed by driving to the basket have also helped ease defensive focus in the lane by shooting 38.1 percent from 3-point range – 30th in the nation – as 3-pointers account for 22.9 percent of this season’s scoring.


A South Carolina Win Would…

  • Be the Gamecocks’ first over a top-10 team on the road since a 64-60 win at then-No. 8 Tennessee on Feb. 2, 2012.
  • Make the Gamecocks 8-0 for the third-straight season, aiming to rival Staley-era best of 10-0 in 2012-13 and 2013-14.
  • Be the Gamecocks’ second over Duke in as many games at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

By the Numbers
Games in which South Carolina has committed fewer than 10 turnovers, helping the Gamecocks rank sixth in the nation in turnovers per game (11.3)
3 Double-doubles by Alaina Coates this season
3 Games in which the Gamecocks have not allowed an opposing player to score in double-figures – Clemson, San Diego State, NC Central
5 Games in which South Carolina has handed out at least 20 assists, including Staley-era record of 26 against NC Central, to help team to fifth in the nation in assists per game (21.3)
6.1 Made 3-pointers per game by the Gamecocks this season, including two games of 9 3s – Syracuse (Nov. 28) and San Diego State (Nov. 23) – which ties the Staley-era record achieved seven times in her previous six seasons at the helm
7 Statistical categories in which South Carolina ranks among the nation’s top 10
31 Rebounds needed for senior forward Aleighsa Welch to move into a tie for 10th in career rebounds in school history
47.0 Percent of this season’s scoring that has come from the bench (265 of 564)

Duke Series Notes
The Gamecocks and Blue Devils split their previous two meetings, both taking place in the 2001-02 season. South Carolina posted a 87-81 overtime win at Cameron Indoor Stadium over then-No. 9 Duke on Nov. 25, 2001. The Blue Devils got their revenge on March 25, 2002, in the NCAA Tournament regional final in Raleigh, N.C., with a 77-68 victory that carried them into the Final Four. South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley is 0-2 in her career against Duke. Both games came during her tenure at Temple. As a player at Virginia, Staley went 8-1 against the Blue Devils with a 3-1 mark in Durham.

Ranked Readings
South Carolina is facing its second ranked opponent of the season today and its first top-10 match-up. The Gamecocks are 66-216 all-time against ranked teams with a 16-39 record in the Dawn Staley era. Under Staley, South Carolina is 5-16 against ranked opponents at Colonial Life Arena, 7-12 on the road and 4-11 at neutral sites. The Gamecocks split their games against top-10 teams last season, defeating then-No. 9 Kentucky 68-58 in Columbia on Jan. 9 before falling to then-No. 10 Tennessee on March 2. South Carolina’s last road win over a top-10 team was a 64-60 decision at then-No. 8 Tennessee on Feb. 2, 2012. The highest ranked opponent South Carolina has defeated in the Staley era is then-No. 5 Kentucky, 55-50, on Jan. 24, 2013, at Colonial Life Arena.

South Carolina leads the SEC and ranks 12th in the nation with 6.1 blocked shots per game this season. The effort is a continuation of last season, during with the Gamecocks shattered the school record for blocks in a season by 41, recording 240 over 34 games for a 7.1 average. Four Gamecocks rank among the SEC’s top 10 blockers, led by senior Aleigsha Welch in third (1.6/game). Senior Elem Ibiam, sophomore Alaina Coates and freshman A’ja Wilson are all tied for fifth in the SEC at 1.3 per game. While Coates and Ibiam have been solid shot blockers throughout their careers, the block is an art that Welch added to her resume just late last season. After recording 45 blocks in her first two seasons combined, Welch posted 47 last season, 37 of which came in the final three months of the season. Her now 103 career blocks ranks her eighth in program history with a spot in the top five just 30 blocks away.

Bench Marks
While every competitor wants to be a starter, the Gamecocks have shown that the bench can be just as productive a position. The South Carolina bench has out-scored its starting counterparts twice this season and has out-scored the entire opposing team three times as well – Clemson (Nov. 20), San Diego State (Nov. 23) and NC Central (Dec. 1). In all, the bench as accounted for 47.0 percent of the Gamecocks’ points this season. Of the 25 double-figures games turned in so far this season, 14 of them have come from the bench – A’ja Wilson (6), Bianca Cuevas (2), Alaina Coates (2), Jatarie White (2), Asia Dozier (1) and Tina Roy (1). The production has come with just slightly fewer minutes on the floor – 18.0 per reserve per game compared to 22.0 per starter per game.

Helping Hand
South Carolina’s wealth of talent has made the Gamecocks more unselfish as they rank fifth in the nation in assists per game with an SEC-best 21.3. Living up to the legend of their head coach, the Gamecocks have handed out 20 or more assists five times this season, including a Staley-era high of 26 against NC Central. In all, South Carolina has assisted on 149 of its 210 made field goals this season (.709). Last season’s team set the mark for best percentage of the Staley era at 57.7 percent.