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Feb. 4, 2015

South Carolina Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Coach Staley

Game Information

Opponent: #22/21 Georgia (17-5, 5-4 SEC)
Date: Thursday, February 5, 2015 | 7 p.m.
Site: Athens, Ga.
Arena: Stegeman Coliseum (10,523)
Broadcast: SEC Network (Cara Capuano, pxp; Carolyn Peck, analyst); Via WatchESPN
Radio: 1320 The Fan, 107.5 The Game in progress (Brad Muller);
Live Stats:
Series History: UGa leads 33-9

South Carolina Notables

  • Junior Tiffany Mitchell is second in the SEC with 14.9 points per league game this season, while ranking second in the league shooting 47.0 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 100 field goal attempts while adding 2.3 assists and 1.7 steals per game.
  • Sophomore Alaina Coates is among the SEC’s top 10 in double-doubles (1st, 10), rebounding (4th, 8.7), blocked shots (3rd, 1.7), offensive rebounds (9th, 3.0) and free throw percentage (10th, .705). Her 11.2 points per game are tied for 19th. She has already matched her freshman season total for double-doubles, putting her into the Gamecocks’ career top 10 with 20. Nine of that career total have come in SEC play.
  • First-year forward A’ja Wilson is one of two SEC freshmen ranked in the SEC’s top 20 in scoring and is the only one to also hold a top-20 spot in rebounding, coming in ninth in both categories. Her .514 field goal percentage is third in the league, and her 1.6 blocked shots per game comes in fifth. No other SEC freshman appears in as many different categories.
  • 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.
  • Point guard Bianca Cuevas has been building confidence and understanding throughout the season, and the two converged to produce her 21-point, two-turnover outing at Ole Miss (Feb. 1). Over the last three games, the freshman averaged 10.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists and shot 52.6 percent (10-of-19) from the field while playing 20.6 minutes per game.


A South Carolina Win Would…

  • Extend the program-record win streak to 22, which would tie record for best start to a season by any Gamecock sport (Baseball in 2000; Women’s Tennis in 1979-80).
  • Make the Gamecocks 10-0 in league play, giving them double-digit SEC wins for the fourth-straight season (fifth time in program history)
  • Be the Gamecocks’ third straight over Georgia, which would be their longest win streak in series history

By the Numbers
Game this season in which the Gamecocks have had to overcome a double-digit deficit (12 vs Syracuse, Nov. 28)
2 Games this season in which the Gamecocks have allowed a team to shoot over 40.0 percent – Charlotte (Dec. 4), 45.3 percent and at Ole Miss (Feb. 1), 40.4 percent
5 Games this season in which the Gamecocks have held a team to under 30.0 percent shooting
8.2 Points per SEC game by Bianca Cuevas, who averaged 4.7 in non-conference average
10 Double-doubles by Alaina Coates this season, most in the SEC, including four in SEC play
23 Rank in career points in program history for junior Tiffany Mitchell (1,143), trailing Ieasia Walker in 22nd (1,157)
51.1 Percent of the Gamecocks’ points in SEC games scored by the bench
77.1 Percent free throw shooting by the Gamecocks in games with a margin of 10 or fewer points in the last five minutes

Georgia Series History
The Lady Bulldogs lead the series 33-9, but the Gamecocks won both meetings last season, including both games last season. The two teams battled just over a week apart last season as South Carolina clinched the out-right SEC title in the penultimate game of the regular season on Feb. 27 (67-56) then knocked Georgia out of the SEC Tournament in the quarterfinals on March 7 (67-48). Eventual SEC Player of the Year Tiffany Mitchell averaged 18 points over the two games, including a 25-point outing in the regular-season contest that featured 10-of-10 accuracy from the free throw line. SEC Co-6th Player of the Year Alaina Coates averaged 15.5 points in the two wins. Defensively, the Gamecocks held the Lady Bulldogs under 30.0 percent shooting for three of the four halves played. Georgia’s last win in the series was a 42-40 decision on Jan. 13, 2013, in the most recent meeting between the two teams at Stegeman Coliseum. The Lady Bulldogs built a five-point lead with 90 seconds to play but had to hold off the Gamecocks late to secure the win.

Ranked Readings
South Carolina is facing its fifth ranked opponent of the season today with a 4-0 record against such foes. The Gamecocks are 69-216 all-time against ranked teams with a 19-39 record in the Dawn Staley era. Under Staley, South Carolina is 7-16 against ranked opponents at Colonial Life Arena, 8-12 on the road and 4-11 at neutral sites.

Road Warriors
The Gamecocks are 7-0 on the road this season, including five SEC outings in enemy territory. Overall, South Carolina is 210-240 (.467) in road games, including a 43-31 (.581) 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.

Diversified Assets
South Carolina is often lauded for the depth of its talent, and the Gamecocks’ improved offensive numbers certainly bear out those accolades – 11th in the nation at 79.0 points per game and fourth in the nation in field goal percentage (.491). 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 – 10th in the nation at 17.9 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 (1st in SEC, 44th in nation) and A’ja Wilson (3rd in SEC, 51st in nation) .

Double Trouble
One of sophomore Alaina Coates’ goals this season focuses around posting double-doubles, taking to heart her head coach’s quip that the 6-foot-4 center is a “walking double-double.” Ranking 24th in the nation with an SEC-best 10 this season, the Irmo, S.C., native has 20 career double-doubles through 55 games, tying her for 10th in school history in the category. Four of this season’s 10 have come in SEC action, which is two shy of the program record of six set by Marsha Williams in 1991-92. Her nine career SEC double-doubles is third in program history and two shy of Williams’ career record of 11.

Bang off the Bench
The Class of 2014’s No. 1 recruit, A’ja Wilson drew the start in her collegiate debut, but the 6-foot-5 Heathwood Hall product has thrived off the bench ever since. Overall on the season, Wilson is second on the team in scoring, ranking ninth in the SEC in at 13.7 ppg, and has been the Gamecocks’ top scorer a team-high 10 times. She is the only freshman to rank among the SEC’s top 20 scorers and rebounders – standing ninth on the glass. Only Mississippi State’s Victoria Vivian (14.6 ppg) out-scores Wilson among SEC freshmen. Wilson also adds a top-three field goal percentage (.514) and a top-five blocked shots average (1.6) to her resume. Wilson is the only freshman on either the Wooden Award Midseason Top 20 or the Naismith Trophy Top 50. She has earned SEC Freshman of the Week three times and was the USBWA’s first ever Freshman of the Week (games Dec. 1-7).