Jan. 31, 2015
Opponent: Ole Miss Rebels 14-7, 4-4 SEC
Date: Sunday, February 1, 2015 | 3:30 p.m. (CT)
Site: Oxford, Miss.
Arena: C.M. Smith Tad Coliseum (8,867)
Broadcast: ESPNU (Roy Philpott, pxp; Brooke Weisbrod, analyst); WatchESPN
Radio: 107.5 The Game (Brad Muller); GamecocksOnline.com
Series History: Tied 17-17
South Carolina Notables
- South Carolina is one of two teams in the nation ranked among the top 10 in both scoring offense (10th, 79.1 ppg) and scoring defense (4th, 50.3 ppg). The other is UConn, which leads the nation in scoring offense (90.0 ppg) and defense (49.3 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 58.7 percent from the field, which is second-best in program history.
- Junior Tiffany Mitchell leads the SEC with 15.4 points per league game this season, while ranking second in the league shooting 47.8 percent in conference action. The reigning SEC Player of the Year has asserted herself more in the offense in conference play, leading the team with 90 field goal attempts while adding 2.5 assists and 1.8 steals per game.
- Sophomore Alaina Coates became the fastest Gamecock to reach 100 career blocks by swatting two at Florida (Jan. 19), and the 6-foot-4 center celebrated by posting her eighth double-double of the season in her 53rd career game (vs. Texas A&M, Jan. 26). It was her most dominant performance against a nationally ranked team this season. Coates then combined the two against Alabama (Jan. 29), posting a double-double and matching her career high with five blocks.
- Freshman A’ja Wilson is making her case for SEC Freshman of the Year, ranking eighth in the league in scoring (13.8) and seventh rebounding (7.1). 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 .526 field goal percentage is third in the SEC and sixth among freshmen nationally. She is also fifth in the SEC in blocks at 1.6 per game (1.9 in league play).
A South Carolina Win Would…
- Extend the school-record win streak to 21.
- Make the Gamecocks 9-0 in league play. more than double the program’s previous best SEC start (4-0 in 2002 and 2014)
- Be the Gamecocks’ sixth straight over Ole Miss overall and third straight in Oxford.
By the Numbers
1 Game this season in which the Gamecocks have allowed a team to shoot over 40.0 percent – Charlotte (Dec. 4), 45.3 percent
1 Game this season in which the Gamecocks have had to overcome a double-digit deficit (12 vs Syracuse, Nov. 28)
2 Gamecocks named to the Wooden Award Midseason Top 20 – Tiffany Mitchell and A’ja Wilson
2 Players ranked among the SEC’s top-10 scorers who come off the bench – Jennifer O’Neill, UK (4th, 14.7 ppg) and A’ja Wilson, SC (8th, 13.8 pgg)
3.5 Assists per game over the last two outings by junior point guard Khadijah Sessions
5 Games this season in which the Gamecocks have held a team to under 30.0 percent shooting
6.6 Points per SEC game by Bianca Cuevas, who averaged 4.7 in non-conference average
9 Double-doubles by Alaina Coates this season, most in the SEC
11 Games in which South Carolina’s bench has tied or out-scored its starters
23 Rank in career points in program history for junior Tiffany Mitchell (1,132), trailing Ieasia Walker in 22nd (1,157)
36 More made free throws by South Carolina than its opponents have attempted (299-263)
40.7 Points per game scored by the Gamecocks in the paint this season, compared to just 21.1 by their opponents.
48.5 Percent of the Gamecocks’ points in SEC games scored by the bench
61.6 Percent of the Gamecocks’ field goals that have been assisted this season, helping them rank ninth in the nation with 18.2 apg
Ole Miss Series History
After a five-game win streak for South Carolina, the Gamecocks and Rebels are tied all-time 17-17. Each holds the advantage on their home court with Ole Miss going 8-5 against South Carolina in Oxford, but the Gamecocks have won the last two. The most recent meeting between the teams ended in a 99-70 South Carolina victory on Jan. 30, 2014, at Colonial Life Arena. Six Gamecocks scored in double figures, led by Alaina Coates’ career-high tying 24 points. The last meeting in Oxford was also decided by double digits as South Carolina won 62-47 on Feb. 17, 2013, after allowing Ole Miss just 15 points on 21.4 percent shooting in the first half.
The Gamecocks are 6-0 on the road this season, including four SEC outings in enemy territory. Overall, South Carolina is 209-240 (.465) in road games, including a 42-31 (.575) record during the Dawn Staley era. After a difficult start as the Gamecocks’ mentor, Staley has guided her team to two of the program’s top five road records in program history, including last season’s school-record winning percentage of .833 (10-2). Her 2012-13 team posted a 7-3 (.700) record on the road for the fourth-best in program history.
While the offense has fluctuated in source and volume, the one standard for the Gamecocks – both this season and throughout head coach Dawn Staley’s career – has been their defense. South Carolina is fourth in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 50.3 points per game with no opponent scoring more than 63 points. In fact, South Carolina has held an opponent under 50 points 10 times in 20 games this season.
The Gamecocks have also built their success on the glass – an area, like defense, that head coach Dawn Staley preaches as a measure of effort as much as talent. South Carolina ranks eighth in the nation in rebounding margin, out-boarding its opponents by 11.9 per game. The Gamecocks have out-paced their opponent by double-digit rebounds 11 times this season, including four SEC outings. The rebounding margin has been at least 20 three times – Clemson (+22), Savannah State (+35) and at Hampton (+27).
As just the second sophomore ever to earn SEC Player of the Year honors from the league’s coaches last season, junior Tiffany Mitchell was tabbed by the SEC coaches and media to claim the award again this season. If that prediction comes true, Mitchell would become just the seventh player to pick up the award twice in her career, joining South Carolina assistant coach Nikki McCray (1994, 1995) among others.