Nov. 26, 2015
COLUMBIA, S.C. — No. 2/2 South Carolina is back in action this weekend with three games in three days at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Rainbow Wahine Showdown, hosted by University of Hawaii. The Gamecocks open with a top-20 battle against No. 16/18 Arizona State on Friday at 7:30 p.m. (ET). South Carolina faces CSU Bakersfield on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. (ET) and host Hawaii on Sunday at 10 p.m. (ET). The games will wrap up the Gamecocks’ five game road swing, during which they are 2-0 so far.
- South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley is making her first coaching stop in Hawaii this weekend, but the Gamecocks have been to Oahu twice before. South Carolina first ventured to Hawaii Dec. 3-4, 1981, when they swept a pair of games from the Rainbow Wahine. In 1990, South Carolina went 2-1 in the Rainbow Classic, topping then-No. 7 Texas Tech and Hawaii and falling to then-No. 8 NC State.
- The Gamecocks and Sun Devils nearly met in the 2015 NCAA Elite Eight as both were in the Greensboro Regional. Arizona State dropped a tough one-point game to Florida State in the Sweet 16, while South Carolina claimed a two-point win over North Carolina in the same round en route to the Final Four.
- South Carolina enters the tournament 4-0, including a win over then-No. 6/10 Ohio State to open the season. The Gamecocks are still finding their identity for the season, but have made big plays at decision time to remain their No. 2/2 national ranking.
By the Numbers
.857 Free throw percentage by the Gamecocks at UCLA (14-of-16), the third-best mark in the Dawn Staley era and a marked improvement from the .593 season percentage they brought into the game
2 Returning All-Americans on this season’s Gamecock roster — Tiffany Mitchell (1st team) and A’ja Wilson (3rd team)
9 Blocks needed by junior center Alaina Coates to move into South Carolina’s career top five
37 Points needed by senior guard Tiffany Mitchell to move into 13th place on the Gamecocks’ all-time scoring list — she needs 87 to reach the top 10
Arizona State Series Notes
The Gamecocks and Sun Devils have played twice before with both coming in a regular-season tournament. South Carolina claimed the first meeting, an 83-71 decision in Anchorage, Alaska on Dec. 20, 1995. Arizona State picked up the 61-56 win on its home court in the Wells Fargo Tournament on Dec. 4, 1999.
CSU Bakersfield Series Notes
This will be the first meeting between the two programs. The Gamecocks have played one other team currently in the Western Athletic Conference, posting a 1-0 record against Texas-Pan American.
Hawaii Series Notes
The Gamecocks hold a 3-0 lead in the all-time series against the Rainbow Wahine with all three games played in Hawaii. While ranked No. 3 in the nation, South Carolina swept a pair of games against UH on Dec. 3 and 4, 1981. the Gamecocks returned nine years later ranked No. 22 in the nation to post an 81-61 win on Nov. 25, 1991.
South Carolina’s 10 wins against ranked foes last season set a new program record, topping the eight wins of the 1979-80 squad. Of those 10 wins, five came against a top-10 foe. This season, the Gamecocks have 10 games on the schedule against teams currently ranked in the top 20, including four against top-10 entries. South Carolina opened the season with a win over No. 6/10 Ohio State. After posting a 15-8 record against ranked opponents since the start of the 2013-14 season, head coach Dawn Staley has a 26-42 mark vs. the nation’s best teams during her South Carolina tenure, highlighted by a 14-8 mark when the Gamecocks carry a better ranking than their opponent into the contest.
While South Carolina returns 11 letterwinners from last season’s NCAA Final Four team, Gamecock head coach Dawn Staley knows her squad continues to search for its 2015-16 identity. The names may not have changed, but the roles for many key Gamecocks certainly have. Senior Tina Roy, junior Alaina Coates and sophomore A’ja Wilson are all adjusting to regular calls to the starting lineup after coming off the bench for the first years of their careers. Wilson is being utilized away from the basket a bit more as well.
Senior guard Tina Roy has long been known for her outside shooting and her songwriting/performing talents. What has gone less heralded has been her development at the point guard position for the Gamecocks. Coming off knee surgery that cost her the 2012-13 season, Roy began honing her ability to deliver the ball to the post — a skill that not only suited the Gamecocks’ emerging frontcourt but also the space given Roy on the perimeter. Over the last three seasons, the soft-spoken Louisianian has a 2.3 assist-to-turnover ratio, including a 4.0 mark so far this season that has her ranked third in the SEC and 28th in the nation. The broader skill has not taken away from her outside shooting as she ranks fourth in the league in 3s made per game with a team-high 2.5 to go with her .323 percentage from outside the arc.