Jan. 16, 2016
Parking Information // Watch Live // Listen Live // // Game Notes // @GamecockWBB
COLUMBIA, S.C. — No. 2/2 South Carolina returns to Colonial Life Arena for its third-straight game against a ranked opponent, hosting No 15/11 Texas A&M on Sun., Jan. 17, at 1:30 p.m. The Gamecocks (16-0, 4-0 SEC) have just one win against the Aggies (13-4, 3-1 SEC) since they joined the SEC for the 2012-13 season, but it came in the last meeting and was the only game of the series decided by double-digit points. South Carolina sophomore forward A’ja Wilson flirted with a triple-double at No. 9/9 Kentucky Thursday night and, along with junior center Alaina Coates, averages a double-double against ranked opponents this season.
- The Gamecocks are wearing special shooting shirts for today’s game to honor the SEC’s We Back Pat initiative focused on bringing awareness and recognition to The Pat Summitt Foundation, a fund of East Tennessee Foundation, and its fight against Alzheimer’s disease.
- Prior to today’s game, South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley will present Alaina Coates with a ball to commemorate the junior center’s 1,000th career point scored last Sunday against Missouri. This is the fifth-straight season a Gamecock has reached the 1,000-point plateau and the second straight with two 1,000-point scorers on the roster. Coates is just the 13th Gamecock to amass 1,000 points and 700 rebounds in her career.
- Three of the four games between South Carolina and Texas A&M have been decided by single digits with two settled by a single field goal.
- The Gamecocks have won 13 of their 16 games by double digits, including every SEC game and three of their five victories over a ranked opponent.
- The Gamecocks have had a 20-point scorer in three of their four SEC games this season — Tina Roy vs. Arkansas (Jan. 3), Tiffany Mitchell at Vanderbilt (Jan. 7) and A’ja Wilson at Kentucky (Jan. 14).
- South Carolina’s four, four-year seniors — Asia Dozier, Tiffany Mitchell, Tina Roy and Khadijah Sessions — average a combined 39.3 points per SEC game, which is up from their 28.5 points per non-conference game.
- Four SEC players average a double-double in league play this season, including Gamecock junior center Alaina Coates (11.0 ppg, 10.8 rpg) and sophomore forward A’ja Wilson (13.8 ppg, 10.0 rpg).
- After standing for 38 years, Jean Walling’s Gamecock record of eight blocked shots in a game has been both broken and tied this season. Alaina Coates now holds the record with 10 blocks against Winthrop (Dec. 13), while A’ja Wilson reset the program’s record in an SEC game with eight at Kentucky (Jan. 14).
By the Numbers
3 Steals needed by senior guard Tiffany Mitchell to become just the third Gamecock in history to record at least 1,600 points, 300 assists and 200 steals in her career
4 Stats in which sophomore forward A’ja Wilson ranks among the nation’s top 50 — blocks (5th), double-doubles (14th), field goal percentage (40th) and rebounding (49th)
7 Of the highest attended women’s basketball games in the nation this season that were played at Colonial Life Arena, including three of the top five
10 Games in which junior center Alaina Coates has shot over 70.0 percent from the field
Texas A&M Series Notes
The Aggies lead the series 3-1 with all three wins decided by single digits, including a pair of two-point wins. Both teams have been ranked in each of the four meetings. Last season South Carolina’s depth and size wore down Texas A&M in a 79-61 win at Colonial Life Arena on Jan. 26, 2015. The top-ranked Gamecocks used aggressive defense to generate one big run in each half to distance the No. 12/10 Aggies while out-rebounding them 43-29. A’ja Wilson netted a game-high 18 points and nine rebounds, while Alaina Coates posted a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The Gamecocks have 13 games on the schedule against teams currently ranked in the top 25. South Carolina has won its first five games against ranked foes and will have seven more over the next nine games. Through five games against ranked teams, South Carolina averaged 74.0 points on 42.4 percent field goal shooting while holding its opponent to 62.6 points per game on 34.2 percent shooting. Sophomore forward A’ja Wilson leads the offense with 20.6 points per game to go with her 12.0 rebounds per outing. Junior center Alaina Coates also averages a double-double against ranked teams this season — 12.2 points, 10.0 rebounds. After posting a 19-8 record against ranked opponents since the start of the 2013-14 season, head coach Dawn Staley has a 30-42 mark vs. the nation’s best teams during her South Carolina tenure, highlighted by an 18-8 mark when the Gamecocks carry a better ranking than their opponent into the contest. South Carolina’s 10 wins against ranked foes in 2014-15 set a program record, topping the eight wins of the 1979-80 squad. Of those wins, five came against a top-10 foe.
Strength in Numbers
Based on cumulative opponent winning percentage, South Carolina currently has the 18th toughest schedule in the nation. The 26 teams the Gamecocks will face this season have a current winning percentage of .645. The SEC and Pac-12 dominate the top 20 schedules with six entries each. With eight games away from Columbia so far this season, the Gamecocks are 4th in the RPI — best in the SEC ahead of Kentucky (9th) and Tennessee (14th) with Missouri (26th) and Texas A&M (29th) also among the top 30. Two others — Georgia (21st) and Florida (38th) — are in the top 50.
Junior center Alaina Coates joined senior guard Tiffany Mitchell in the Gamecocks’ 1,000-point club against Missouri (Jan. 10), making it the second-straight season a Gamecock team has had multiple 1,000-point scorers. Before Mitchell and then-senior Aleighsa Welch teammed up on the 2014-15 squad, the last team to boast more than one 1,000-point scorer as 2001-02 when Shaunzinski Gortman and Jocelyn Penn both joined the club. In program history there have been 10 seasons that featured multiple 1,000-point scorers, including three seasons that saw three Gamecocks who surpassed the benchmark.
The Gamecocks have played three games decided by single-digit points this season, two of which they trailed at halftime but came back to win. In those outings, offense has made the difference with the Gamecocks shooting 52.0 percent from the field in the fourth quarters of those three games. Of these three opponents, only Arizona State out-shot South Carolina in the fourth quarter (.353-.313) with the Gamecocks making up the difference at the free throw line and on the glass in the waning moments of the contest. Overall, South Carolina shoots much better in the second half (50.5 percent) than the first (42.9 percent) as opposing defenses begin to feel the effects of the Gamecocks’ frontcourt and pace of play. South Carolina’s offensive efficiency builds steadily throughout the game with 20 of the 30 quarters in which the Gamecocks have shot at least 50 percent coming in the second half.