Jan. 9, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. — No. 2/2 South Carolina hosts No. 20/- Missouri on Sun., Jan. 19, at noon at Colonial Life Arena in the Gamecocks’ fourth game this season against a nationally ranked opponent. The game opens a stretch of four ranked foes over South Carolina’s next five games as the Gamecocks look to remain undefeated on the season.
- Winning the only other meeting between these two teams in South Carolina’s Columbia, the Gamecocks have averaged 65.3 points against the Tigers since Mizzou joined the SEC in 2012-13 while allowing the Tigers just 58.7 points per game during that time. Three veteran Gamecocks average double-figures against the Tigers ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” Tiffany Mitchell (15.3 ppg, 3 games), Alaina Coates (14.0 ppg, 2 games) and Khadijah Sessions (11.3 ppg, 3 games).
- Of the Gamecocks’ 133 all-time SEC regular-season victories, 52 have come in the last five seasons (since 2011-12). In fact, head coach Dawn Staley has accounted for 51.9 percent of the program’s SEC victories (69) while coaching in just 32.0 percent of the seasons South Carolina has been in the league.
- Tonight’s game is South Carolina’s fourth this season against a nationally ranked opponent, and the Gamecocks will face four in their next five games. Sophomore A’ja Wilson has led the way this season vs. ranked opponents, averaging 22.0 points and 12.0 rebounds as the Gamecocks out-scored those three opponents (Ohio State, Arizona State, Duke) 71.3 ppg to 64.3 and out-rebounded them 45.3 rpg to 39.0. South Carolina has won the inside battle, out-scoring those foes in the paint 136-60.
- South Carolina’s seniors were crucial to Thursday’s win at Vanderbilt with Tiffany Mitchell, Tina Roy and Khadijah Sessions leading the way down the stretch, accounting for eight points in the 11-3 run that closed the game and 18 of the Gamecocks’ 22 fourth-quarter points.
- Junior center Alaina Coates needs just three points to become the 31st Gamecock with 1,000 career points.
- The winners of the second segment of this season’s “Read with the Gamecocks” program will be honored at halftime today. In this segment, 5,207 participants from 72 schools read over 630,000 pages.
By the Numbers
2 Gamecocks ranked among the SEC’s top five scorers in league play ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” Tiffany Mitchell, Tina Roy ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” both of whom also are among the top five field goal percentage shooters in SEC action both total and from 3-point range
3 Points needed by junior center Alaina Coates to reach 1,000 in her career
7 League-play stats in which senior guard Tiffany Mitchell is among the SEC’s top 15, including 6 ranked among the top five
52.9 Percent of South Carolina’s points scored in the paint this season
Missouri Series Notes
The Gamecocks lead the series 3-1, including a 2-1 record since the Tigers joined the SEC for the 2012-13 season. After suffering a loss in the first league game between to the two teams (65-58 at Mizzou on Feb. 28, 2013), the Gamecocks have claimed the last two contests by an average of 13.5 points. Today marks the first meeting in which both teams are nationally ranked. Last season’s victory required late-game heroics from South Carolina’s Tiffany Mitchell who answered every Tiger second-half run with a 3-pointer to keep the then-No. 1/1 Gamecocks in front, and 11-of-12 free throw shooting in the final two minutes delivered the 11-point victory. Mitchell averages a team-best 15.3 points against Mizzou, including 19.5 points per game over the last two seasons. Junior center Alaina Coates averaged 14.0 points in her two games against the Tigers, and senior guard Khadijah Sessions has delivered 11.3 points per game against Mizzou in her career.
Home Sweet Home
The Gamecocks are riding a 41-game win streak at Colonial Life Arena into today’s game ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” the longest active home win streak in the nation. South Carolina turned in back-to-back perfect seasons, going 16-0 at home in 2013-14 and 2014-15. The Gamecocks’ last loss at Colonial Life Arena was a 50-48 decision to No. 14 Texas A&M on Feb. 10, 2013. South Carolina is 401-155 (.721) at home, including a 156-58 (.497) record at Colonial Life Arena. Head coach Dawn Staley owns a 90-25 (.609) record at home.
Head coach Dawn Staley has compiled an arsenal of offensive weapons that keeps growing throughout the season with no one Gamecock dominating the stat line, especially on offense. While nine different Gamecocks have been the team’s top scorer in at least one quarter this season, no Gamecock has led the team in scoring for all four quarters of a game. A single player has topped the team in three quarters just five times ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” Alaina Coates (Winthrop), Tiffany Mitchell (at Clemson, at Vandy) and A’ja Wilson (vs. CSUB, Duke).
Led by arguably among the best frontcourts in the nation, South Carolina ranks 24th in the country in free throw attempts at 317. The Gamecocks average the most free throw attempts (22.6) than any other team ranked in the AP Top 25. No. 3/3 Notre Dame is just behind at 22.3 per game, ranking higher in total attempts (13th, 334) through its 15 games this season.
A Little Help From My Friends
Playing under one of the best point guards in U.S. women’s basketball history, South Carolina has always been committed to finding the teammate with the best shot. Early this season, the Gamecocks were not as proficient in that area as they had been, assisting on 45.9 percent of their field goals (158 of 344) in non-conference action. So far in league play, South Carolina has rediscovered its roots, handing out assists on 33 of 38 made field goals (56.9 percent). In fact, the highest scoring Gamecocks in league play, Tiffany Mitchell (17.0 ppg) also leads the team in assists (4.5 apg).