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April 22, 2015

Photo Gallery by Travis Bell

South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley led the women’s basketball through the best season in program history in 2014-15.


  • South Carolina finished the regular season ranked No. 3 in the nation in both the AP and USA Today Coaches Poll, the highest finish in program history. The Gamecocks spent 12 weeks at No. 1 in the AP Poll, their first time at the top spot in either poll and the third-longest run in the top spot in the last five seasons.
  • South Carolina advanced to its first NCAA Final Four in school history – men’s or women’s.
  • The Gamecocks claimed the program’s first SEC Tournament title.
  • The team finished the season with 34 wins, breaking the 35-year-old school record of 30 set in 1979-80.
  • The Gamecocks led the nation in attendance at 12,293, which helped power South Carolina to its second-straight undefeated season at Colonial Life Arena. The current 34-game home win streak is the longest in program history and the second-longest active streak in the nation (35 by Connecticut).
  • The Gamecocks’ 37 games played tied the program record originally set in 1978-79.
  • South Carolina broke the school record for winning percentage for the second-straight season, coming in at .919 (34-3) this season to eclipse last season’s .853 (29-5) mark.
  • The 22-game win streak that opened the season broke the school record, previously set at 13 in 1985-86.
  • The Gamecocks were 10-3 against ranked opponents this season, the most such wins in program history.
  • Four-year seniors Aleighsa Welch and Elem Ibiam make up the most successful senior class in program history with 113 wins and a .813 winning percentage.


  • South Carolina earned its second NCAA Tournament No. 1 seed in as many seasons and reached its third Sweet 16 in the last four seasons.
  • The Gamecocks repeated as SEC regular-season champions, becoming just the fifth program in league history to win back-to-back regular season titles (Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee).
  • The Gamecocks’ 75.9 points per game ranked 18th in the nation and is the highest in program history since the 1993-94 squad poured in 79.4.
  • South Carolina’s offense was a balance of power as 18 of the team’s 37 games saw at least half of the total points come from the paint and 18 games saw the team shoot at least 33.3 percent from 3-point range. The Gamecocks were 33-1 when out-scoring opponents in the paint with the lone loss coming in the national semifinal game against Notre Dame.
  • The 54.1 points per game allowed was 12th in the nation and second in school history to the 51.4 per game yielded in 2011-12. The three lowest opponent scoring averages in program history have all come under head coach Dawn Staley.
  • South Carolina allowed just five opponents to score more than 65 points in a game this season with 15 foes failing to surpass the 50-point plateau.
  • The Gamecocks ranked among the nation’s top 10 in scoring margin (+21.7, 3rd), field goal percentage (.484, 4th), field goal percentage defense (.349, 10th), rebound margin (+9.6, 10th) and blocked shots per game (6.3, 7th).
  • The team’s 232 blocks per game is second in school history, trailing just last season’s record-setting 240.
  • South Carolina’s bench was among the most productive in the nation, accounting for 48.9 percent of the Gamecocks’ offense this season. The group tied or out-scored its starting counterparts 22 times, including all five NCAA Tournament games.
  • The Gamecocks out-rebounded their opponents 32 times with a 30-2 record in those games, including six postseason contests and 15 SEC regular-season outings (tied at Kentucky, Mar. 1).


  • For the second-straight season, Dawn Staley was one of four finalists for the Naismith Coach of the Year award and the WBCA Region 3 Coach of the Year.
  • In her seventh season, Staley repeated as SEC Coach of the Year, joining Pat Summitt (Tennessee in 2003 and 2004) and Joe Ciampi (Auburn in 1988 and 1989) as the only SEC coaches to win the honor in consecutive seasons.


  • Tiffany Mitchell was the first Gamecock to be named a finalist for all three national player of the year awards – The Wooden Award, The Wade Trophy and The Naismith Trophy – while also a finalist for the Honda Sports Award for basketball. She won The Dawn Staley Award as the nation’s top guard and repeated as SEC Player of the Year and a WBCA All-America selection, adding All-America honors from ESPN, AP and USBWA. She ranked sixth in the SEC at 14.4 points ppg, 10th in assists per game (2.9) and 11th in steals per game (1.8) – making her the only SEC member to play the entire season ranked among the league’s top 15 in all three categories. Her .500 field goal percentage was second in the SEC and 50th in the nation, and her .838 free throw percentage – second-best in program history – ranked third in the league and 46th in the country.
  • The SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Aleighsa Welch earned honorable mention All-America honors from the WBCA and was the SEC Tournament Most Outstanding Performer after earning First-Team All-SEC honors for the second-straight season. She became the fifth Gamecock drafted into the WNBA, taken in the second round with the 22nd overall pick by the Chicago Sky. Welch is one of our Gamecocks all-time to record at least 1,000 points and 900 rebounds in her career and holds the school record for career offensive rebounds at 449. Her 1,451 points rank 13th in program history; her 956 rebounds are third, and her .577 field goal percentage is second.
  • A’ja Wilson earned a spot on the All-SEC First Team and was named the league Freshman of the Year by both the coaches and the Associated Press. She was a honorable mention WBCA All-America selection as well. Wilson tied the SEC record with five Freshman of the Week selections and was the only freshman ranked among the league’s top 15 in both scoring (13.1 ppg, 12th) and rebounding (6.6 rpg, 12th). She was second in the SEC in blocks per game (1.8) and made a school freshman record 131 free throws.
  • Sophomore Alaina Coates was named the NCAA Greensboro Region Most Outstanding Player, capping a season that yielded a spot on the SEC Second Team and All-Defensive Team. She averaged 14.0 points on 68.4 percent field goal shooting in the Gamecocks’ five NCAA Tournament games. On the season, Coates was fourth in the SEC in rebounding (7.9 rpg), fourth in blocked shots (1.5 bpg) and 20th in scoring (11.1 ppg).