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Jan. 25, 2015


South Carolina Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | 2014-15 Season Promotions | Buy Tickets

Coach Staley
Aleighsa Welch

Game Information

Opponent: No. 10/10 Texas A&M (16-4, 4-2 SEC)
Date: Monday, January 26, 2015 | 7 p.m.
Site: Columbia, S.C. | Colonial Life Arena (18,000)
Tickets: $7 adult, $4 youth (17 and under)
Broadcast: ESPN2 (Dave O’Brien, pxp; Doris Burke, analyst); via WatchESPN
Radio: 1320 The Fan / 107.5 The Game in progress (Brad Muller);
Live Stats:
Series History: TAM leads 3-0

South Carolina Notables

  • Tonight’s game marks the 200th women’s basketball game played in Colonial Life Arena. The Gamecocks are 75-25 (.750) at the facility under head coach Dawn Staley, including the current 26-game win streak.
  • In addition to honoring “We Back Pat” and the members and caregivers in the Alzheimer’s Associations of the Midlands and Lowcountry tonight, the Gamecocks are wearing lime green ribbons in support of Kent State head coach Danielle O’Banion’s fight against lymphoma.
  • South Carolina is one of two teams in the nation ranked among the top 15 in both scoring offense (13th, 78.9 ppg) and scoring defense (2nd, 49.4 ppg). The other is UConn, which leads the nation in scoring offense (89.8 ppg) and is sixth in defense (51.2 ppg).
  • The impact of Aleighsa Welch on the court and beyond the box score can not be over-estimated. The Gamecocks have been to the NCAA Tournament and improved on their win total both overall and in SEC play every year of her career. She is currently one of nine Gamecocks all-time to amass 1,000 points and 800 rebounds in her career, during which she is shooting 58.6 percent from the field, which is second-best in program history.
  • Junior Tiffany Mitchell leads the SEC with 16.0 points per league game this season, shooting 50.0 percent in conference action (2nd). The reigning SEC Player of the Year has asserted herself more in the offense in conference play, leading the team with 68 field goal attempts and 2.5 assists per game.
  • Freshman A’ja Wilson is making an early case for SEC Freshman of the Year, ranking 10th in the league in both scoring and ninth rebounding. She is the only freshman among the top 20 in both categories. Overall on the season, she has scored in double figures in all but three games and has four double-doubles to her credit. Her .508 field goal percentage is fifth in the SEC and fifth among freshmen nationally. She is also third in the SEC in blocks at 1.6 per game (2.0 in league play).

A South Carolina Win Would…

  • Be the Gamecocks’ 27th straight at home, which would tie UConn for longest active home win streak in the nation.
  • Extend the school-record win streak to 19.
  • Make the Gamecocks 7-0 in league play. extending the program record for best SEC start.
  • Be the Gamecocks’ first over Texas A&M.

By the Numbers
Gamecocks named to the Wooden Award Midseason Top 20 – Tiffany Mitchell and A’ja Wilson
4 Gamecocks who average a pro-rated double-double (if played 40 minutes/game) – Alaina Coates, Elem Ibiam, Jatarie White, A’ja Wilson
5 Games this season in which the Gamecocks have held a team to under 30.0 percent shooting, including the last two SEC games
6.7 Rebounds per SEC game by senior Aleighsa Welch, up from her 5.2 in non-conference action
7.2 Points per SEC game by Bianca Cuevas, who averaged 4.7 in non-conference average and has held her assist average steady over both
9 Games in which South Carolina’s bench has tied or out-scored its starters
10 Games this season in which South Carolina has held its opponent under 50 points
15 Games in which freshman A’ja Wilson has scored in double figures – a team high
21.6 Free throw attempts per game by South Carolina this season, compared to 13.0 by its opponents
23 Rank in career points in program history for junior Tiffany Mitchell (1,105)
40.4 Points per game scored by the Gamecocks in the paint this season, compared to just 20.9 by their opponents.
49.2 Percent of the Gamecocks’ points in SEC games scored by the bench
52 Games it took sophomore Alaina Coates to reach the program’s top 10 in career blocked shots, making her the fastest to 100 in Gamecock history
62.3 Percent of the Gamecocks’ field goals that have been assisted this season, helping them rank eighth in the nation with 18.4 apg
817 Career rebounds by senior Aleighsa Welch, more than any other current SEC player and eighth in school history

Texas A&M Series History
The Gamecocks have not defeated the Aggies in three games since Texas A&M joined the SEC prior to the 2012-13 season. The losses have come by an average of 4.3 points per game, but the first and most recent contests were decided by two points each. The last meeting – Jan. 16, 2014 – went to overtime in College Station as the Gamecocks mounted a furious rally from a 17-point halftime deficit. Aleighsa Welch (20 pts/16 rebs) and Tiffany Mitchell (19 pts/8 rebs) powered the comeback, capped by Mitchell’s game-tying 3-pointer with six seconds left in regulation. Neither team scored in the first 2:21 of overtime, but the Aggies survived at the free throw line for a 67-65 victory. The first meeting of the series came on Feb. 10, 2013, in Colonial Life Arena. With both teams ranked in the top 15, the Gamecocks nearly survived a tough shooting night (28.1 percent) to take a five-point lead with 5:15 to play. The Aggies scored the next six points to move back in front, but Khadijah Sessions hit a free throw ti tied it up with 2:26 on the clock. Neither team could score from the field or free throw line until Kelsey Bone snagged an offensive rebound and hit a jumper with nine seconds remaining to deliver the 50-48 win. Texas A&M went on to win the rematch in the SEC Tournament that season as well.

Ranked Readings
South Carolina is facing its fourth ranked opponent of the season today with a 3-0 record against such foes. The Gamecocks are 68-216 all-time against ranked teams with an 18-39 record in the Dawn Staley era. Under Staley, South Carolina is 6-16 against ranked opponents at Colonial Life Arena, 8-12 on the road and 4-11 at neutral sites.

Home Sweet Home
The Gamecocks are in the midst of unprecedented success at Colonial Life Arena, having won the last 26 games on their home court, including the facility’s first perfect season in 2013-14. That 16-0 mark alone matched the previous record for win streak at the Arena, originally set Jan. 20, 2002-Jan. 9, 2003. South Carolina’s last loss at Colonial Life Arena was a 50-48 decision to then-No. 14 Texas A&M on Feb. 10, 2013. The longest home win streak in school history is 32 games, which spanned three seasons. That streak began with a win over Clemson on Dec. 10, 1977, and ended with a win over Tennessee Tech on March 4, 1980. The stretch included a perfect 11-0 record in 1978-79 at Carolina Coliseum (9-0) and the Sol Blatt P.E. Center (2-0). Overall, South Carolina is 141-58 (.709) at Colonial Life Arena, including a 75-25 (.750) mark under head coach Dawn Staley. In the now 41-year history of the program, the Gamecocks are 386-155 (.713) in home games.

Diversified Assets
South Carolina is often lauded for the depth of its talent, and the Gamecocks’ improved offensive numbers certainly bear out those accolades – 13th in the nation at 78.8 points per game and third in the nation in field goal percentage (.488). The embarrassment of riches has not upset South Carolina’s chemistry but instead has strengthened it as each Gamecock plays for the good of the team instead of herself – a message head coach Dawn Staley often equates with USA Basketball’s utopian camaraderie and ultimate success. Two stats that best exemplify the all-for-one mentality of the team are in the assist numbers – eighth in the nation at 18.4 per game – and that no Gamecocks is averaging more than 10 shots per game. In fact, on one of the nation’s most efficient offensive teams, just two Gamecocks have made the minimum field goals required for individual ranking in field goal percentage – Tiffany Mitchell (3rd in SEC, 32nd in nation) and A’ja Wilson (5th in SEC, 65th in nation).