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Dec. 13, 2014

South Carolina Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader| Promotions | Buy Tickets

Game Information

Opponent: Savannah State (4-2)
Date: Sunday, December 14, 2014 | Noon
Site: Columbia, S.C.
Arena: Colonial Life Arena (18,000)
Tickets: $7 adult, $4 youth (17 and under)
Broadcast: SEC Network + (Brad Muller pxp, Debbie Antonelli, analyst); Click here for more on SEC Network +
Radio: 107.5 The Game (Derek Scott);
Live Stats:
Series History: SC leads 6-0

South Carolina Notables

  • Head coach Dawn Staley has sent five different starting lineups to the court in eight games this season. Only seniors Elem Ibiam and Aleigsha Welch and junior Tiffany Mitchell have been in each combination. For the last two games, Staley has gone with that trio joining juniors Khadijah Sessions and Asia Dozier.
  • South Carolina has shown that it can play, and win, a variety of ways this season. The Gamecocks have won under the best of circumstances – five wins by 20 or more points – and the tightest – three wins by 10 or fewer with two of those decided by five or fewer points – and with both a high-octane offense – 4-0 when scoring 70 or more points – and a methodical one – 3-0 when scoring fewer than 70.
  • The Gamecocks’ bench has accounted for 45.9 percent of its total offense this season while averaging 5.6 fewer minutes per game than the starters. Through eight games, the team’s top scorer has come from the starting lineup four times and from the bench four times.
  • The Gamecocks rank 11th in the nation in field goal percentage with an SEC-best mark of .479. 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.
  • Four Gamecocks were named to the Naismith Trophy Top 50 Watch List this week with Alaina Coates and A’ja Wilson joining junior Tiffany Mitchell and Aleighsa Welch, who are also on the Wooden Award and Wade Trophy Watch Lists. No other school had four entries on the Naismith list, and South Carolina is one of four teams with two entries on the other two watch lists.


A South Carolina Win Would…

  • Be the Gamecocks’ 24th straight at home.
  • Make the Gamecocks 9-0 for the third-straight season, aiming to rival Staley-era best of 10-0 in 2012-13 and 2013-14.

By the Numbers
SEC Freshman of the Week honors for A’ja Wilson in the four weeks of the award
3 Double-doubles by Alaina Coates this season 4 Gamecocks named to the Naismith Trophy Top 50 Watch List – Alaina Coates, Tiffany Mitchell, Aleighsa Welch and A’ja Wilson
5 Games in which South Carolina has handed out at least 20 assists, including Staley-era record of 26 against NC Central (Dec. 1), to help team to sixth in the nation in assists per game (19.6)
5.8 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
7 Statistical categories in which South Carolina ranks among the nation’s top 10, including five in which the Gamecocks lead the nation
19 Career double-doubles by senior forward Aleighsa Welch, leaving her one shy of tying for 10th in school history – her eight in SEC action are tied for third
45.9 Percent of this season’s scoring that has come from the bench (282 of 615)
942 Career points for junior Tiffany Mitchell, leaving her 58 shy of becoming the 30th Gamecock to reach 1,000

Savannah State Series Notes
The Gamecocks are undefeated in six outings against Savannah State with all six played at Colonial Life Arena. Today marks the fourth meeting between the two teams in as many seasons. South Carolina’s last win over Savannah State was an 82-40 decision on Dec. 28, 2013, behind four Gamecocks in double figures. Alaina Coates posted a double-double (17 pts./12 rebs.), and Tiffany Mitchell led the offense with 18 points.

Win Any Way
As the Gamecocks’ baseball coach, South Carolina athletics director Ray Tanner frequently used the saying “Win Anyway,” and the women’s basketball team seems to have put its own twist on the quote this season. The Gamecocks have not lost a game this season, but the end has not always come by the same means. Dawn Staley’s team has won with both a high-flying offense and a more methodical one, posting records of 2-0 when scoring 90+ points, 2-0 when scoring 80-89 points, 1-0 when scoring 70-79 points, 2-0 with scoring 60-69 points and 1-0 when scoring 50-59 points. The Gamecocks have won both inside – 4-0 when attempting fewer than 15 3s – and outside – 4-0 when attempting more than 15 3s. South Carolina has seen its top scorer come from both the starting lineup (4-0) and the bench (4-0). The one standard for the Gamecocks – this season and throughout Staley’s career – has been their defense. South Carolina is third in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 48.0 points per game with no opponent scoring more than 63 points.

South Carolina leads the SEC and ranks 13th in the nation with 6.0 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 seventh 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 105 career blocks ranks her seventh in program history with a spot in the top five just 28 blocks away.

Zone Buster
Since the emergence of Elem Ibiam and the arrival of Alaina Coates last season, South Carolina has been a team feared for its inside presence. That perception got a boost with the addition of Jatarie White and A’ja Wilson this season, and teams have packed into a zone early and often against the Gamecocks. This season, South Carolina’s guards have been effective at capitalizing in on what opposing teams are willing to cede in that defensive alignment – the 3-point shot. The Gamecocks are second in the SEC and are second in the SEC and 39th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage, hitting 36.8 percent from outside the arc. After closing last season averaging 3.9 made 3s per game, South Carolina is off to a blistering 5.8 average this season, which ranks fourth in the SEC. The most 3s made per game of the Staley era is 9.2 in 2009-10.

Helping Hand
South Carolina’s depth of talent has made the Gamecocks more unselfish as they rank sixth in the nation in assists per game with an SEC-best 19.6. 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 157 of its 230 made field goals this season (.683). Last season’s team set the mark for best percentage of the Staley era at 57.7 percent.

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 45.9 percent of the Gamecocks’ points this season. Of the 30 double-figures games turned in so far this season, 15 of them have come from the bench – A’ja Wilson (7), Bianca Cuevas (2), Alaina Coates (2), Jatarie White (2), Asia Dozier (1) and Tina Roy (1). The production has come with fewer minutes on the floor – 17.2 per reserve per game compared to 22.8 per starter per game.