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Nov. 10, 2015

COLUMBIA, S.C. ââ’¬” For the second-straight season, Southeastern Conference coaches predicted South Carolina to win the 2016 SEC women’s basketball championship. The Gamecocks missed a second-straight unanimous decision by a single point in the voting. If the Gamecocks fulfill the prediction, they would become just the third team in league history to win three straight regular-season championships. The coaches also named senior guard Tiffany Mitchell the Preseason Player of the Year, placing her along with junior Alaina Coates and sophomore A’ja Wilson, who also received votes for player of the year, on the Preseason All-SEC First Team.

En route to a school-record 34 wins last season, South Carolina claimed its second-straight SEC regular-season title and its first-ever SEC Tournament championship and advanced to its first NCAA Final Four. In Coates, Mitchell and Wilson the Gamecocks return their top three scorers from last year’s team, which ranked 18th in the nation in scoring, while remaining a top defensive squad by allowing just 54.1 points per game to rank 12th in the nation. South Carolina’s .484 field goal percentage was fourth-best in the nation, and the top two field goal percentages are back as Coates landed 56.2 percent of her shots, while Mitchell added 50.0 percent shooting.

Mitchel was a consensus All-American last season and became the first Gamecock to be a finalist for all three national player of the year awards. She claimed the Dawn Staley Award as the best guard in the nation and repeated as SEC Player of the Year. Her 50.0 percent field goal shooting included 41.6 percent from 3-point range, and she led the team in assists at 2.9 per game.

Coates and Wilson gave the Gamecocks the most potent bench in the country scoring 11.1 and 13.1 points per game, respectively. They were the team’s top rebounders with Coates reeling in a team-best 7.9 per game to rank fourth in the SEC en route to a spot on the All-SEC Second Team. She dominated the NCAA Greensboro Regional, picking up Most Outstanding Player honors behind 16 points per game on 62.5 percent (10-of-16) shooting against North Carolina and Florida State. Wilson lived up to her No. 1 recruit ranking as the Gamecocks’ second-leading scorer and third-best rebounder at 6.6 per game. She led the team in blocked shots with 1.8 per game, picking up First-Team All-SEC honors as well as being named SEC Freshman of the Year and Third-Team All-America.

The Gamecocks officially open the 2015-16 season this Fri., Nov. 13, against No. 6/10 Ohio State. Tipoff at Colonial Life Arena is set for 7 p.m. with a. ceremony commemorating the 2014-15 season beginning at 6:45 p.m.

Season tickets are sold out, but single-game tickets are available via the website,, or by calling the South Carolina Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800-4SC-FANS. All single-game tickets are general admission at a cost of $8 for adults and $4 for youth (17 and under).

SEC Preseason Media Poll
1. South Carolina (168)
2. Tennessee (158)
3. Texas A&M (138)
4. Mississippi State (134)
5. Kentucky (125)
6. Missouri (94)
7. Ole Miss (81)
8. Arkansas (77)
9. Georgia (75)
10. LSU (64)
11. Vanderbilt (61)
12. Florida (54)
13. Auburn (29)
14. Alabama (16)

Preseason Player of the Year
Tiffany Mitchell, South Carolina

Preseason All-SEC First Team
Mykala Epps, Kentucky
Victoria Vivians, Mississippi State
Alaina Coates, South Carolina
Tiffany Mitchell, South Carolina
A’ja Wilson, South Carolina

Diamond DeShields, Tennessee
Bashaara Graves, Tennessee
Courtney Walker, Texas A&M
Courtney Williams, Texas A&M

Preseason All-SEC Second Team
Jessica Jackson, Arkansas
Ronni Williams, Florida
Shacobia Barbee, Georgia
Raigyne Moncrief, LSU
Jordan Frericks, Missouri
Mercedes Russell, Tennessee
Jordan Jones, Texas A&M
Rebekah Dahlman, Vanderbilt