Skip to main content
Partner logo
Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Gamecocks+

Feb. 3, 2016


TRAFFIC CHANGES EFFECTIVE FEB. 3 — Click here for most current information

Game Information

Date: Thu., Feb. 4, 2016

Tipoff: 7 p.m.; Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Location: Columbia, S.C.

Arena: Colonial Life Arena

Tickets: $8 Adult, $4 Youth (17 and under)

Broadcast: SEC Network (Paul Sunderland, pxp; Carolyn Peck, analyst; Steffi Sorensen, sideline)

Radio: 107.5 The Game (Brad Muller);

Live Stats:

COLUMBIA, S.C. — No. 2/2 South Carolina takes on its ninth nationally ranked opponent this season and sixth in the last eight games Thursday night at Colonial Life Arena, hosting No. 18/18 Kentucky in a 7 p.m. tipoff on SEC Network. The Gamecocks (21-0, 9-0 SEC) are looking for their second-straight 22-0 start to the season, while the Wildcats (15-5, 4-5 SEC) aim to avenge their home loss to South Carolina just over two weeks ago. SEC Player of the Week Alaina Coates has been a dominant force on the glass this season and is the only player to average a double-double in SEC play this season.


  • South Carolina’s senior class holds a 5-3 edge over Kentucky, including wins in all three games played in Colonial Life Arena. Those three wins were decided by an average of 7.3 points.
  • South Carolina opened the season 21-0 for the second-straight season and is just one win shy of the school record 22-0 mark set last season, which was more than double the previous record of 10-0 achieved in three seasons.
  • The Gamecocks are one SEC win away from their fifth-straight season of double-digit conference victories, a mark reached only once in the 20 seasons prior to the current streak.
  • In its eight wins over ranked teams, which includes four over top-10 foes, South Carolina is out-scoring its opponents 69.5-60.6 on efficient 42.9 percent field goal shooting, compared to 34.8 percent by its opponents. Sophomore forward A’ja Wilson leads the team with 20.3 points and 11.1 rebounds per game in those eight wins. Junior center Alaina Coates joins her in averaging a double with 10.5 points and 10.3 rebounds.
  • The Gamecocks are ranked fifth in the nation in free throw attempts (496), averaging a nation’s-best 23.6 per game. Despite occasional struggles at the free throw line, South Carolina has made more free throws (323) than its opponents have attempted this season (311). The gap is most significant against ranked opponents as the Gamecocks have made 143 free throws to their eight opponents’ 117 attempts.
  • Junior Alaina Coates was named SEC Player of the Week this week as she posted 12.5 points and 12.0 rebounds per game while also tying for the team lead with eight assists and a team-best .647 field goal percentage. For the season, she ranks 34th in the nation in rebounding at 9.9 boards per game and has pulled in double-digit rebounds in every SEC game this season.
  • In conference play, senior guard Tiffany Mitchell ranks among the SEC’s top 10 in seven different stats — third in scoring (16.6 ppg); fourth in free throw percentage (.804); sixth in field goal percentage (.426), steals (2.1) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.1); and eighth in assists (3.1) and 3-pointers per game (1.6).
  • Sophomore A’ja Wilson has six 20-point games this season, one more than she posted in her freshman year. This season’s number includes five against nationally ranked opponents. Her well-rounded contributions also include three stats in which she ranks among the nation’s top 50 — blocks (9th, 3.2), double-doubles (25th, 10) and field goal percentage (40th, .531) — and another just outside that mark — rebounds (55th, 9.3).

By the Numbers

5 Of South Carolina’s nine SEC games that have been against a nationally ranked team, including three top-10 matchups
7.9 Points per SEC game scored by senior guard Khadijah Sessions, the highest average of her career
33 Career double-doubles by junior center Alaina Coates, which rank her fifth in program history
54.5 Percent shooting by the Gamecocks in the fourth quarter of tight games (within single digits in the final 5:00)

Kentucky Series Notes

Kentucky leads the series 33-23, but the Gamecocks have a 16-9 edge in Columbia. The overall series gap closes to a 9-7 Wildcat advantage in South Carolina’s Dawn Staley era with the Gamecocks holding a 5-3 edge in the last four seasons, during which four of the eight games were decided by single-digit points. In the most recent meeting, the Gamecocks rallied from an 11-point second-quarter deficit and a four-point halftime disadvantage to post a 73-62 win in Lexington. Senior Tiffany Mitchell and sophomore A’ja Wilson combined to score 12 of the Gamecocks’ final 17 points to break a 56-56 tie with 7:24 left to play, while Alaina Coates added a pair of rebounds and two free throws to the final stretch. The teams split their home-and-home series two of the last three seasons with the Gamecocks sweeping the regular-season meetings in 2013-14, which Kentucky avenged with a win in the 2014 SEC Tournament semifinals.

Ranked Readings

The Gamecocks have played eight games against ranked teams this season and have four more on the schedule, all coming in the next four outings. This season against ranked teams, South Carolina averages 69.5 points on 42.9 percent field goal shooting while holding its opponent to 60.6 points per game on 34.8 percent shooting. Sophomore forward A’ja Wilson leads the offense with 20.3 points per game to go with her 11.1 rebounds per outing. Junior center Alaina Coates also averages a double-double against ranked teams this season — 10.5 points, 10.3 rebounds. Senior guard Tiffany Mitchell adds 15.0 points per game against ranked opponents. After posting a 21-8 record against ranked opponents since the start of the 2013-14 season, head coach Dawn Staley has a 33-42 mark vs. the nation’s best teams during her South Carolina tenure, highlighted by a 21-8 mark when the Gamecocks carry a better ranking than their opponent into the contest. This season, South Carolina is 8-0 against ranked opponents. The Gamecocks’ 10 wins against ranked foes in 2014-15 set a program record, topping the eight wins of the 1979-80 squad. Of last season’s 10 wins, five came against a top-10 foe.

Zone Buster

Senior guard Tina Roy opened her fifth and final season with the Gamecocks in the starting lineup after great offseason and preseason work. The Kaplan, La., native struggled to get her shot on track early, though, and ceded her starting role after nine games. Roy returned from the holiday break with a renewed sense of urgency around practice, and the change has shown in games. Roy kicked off 2016 by tying the school record for made 3s in an SEC game, burying seven against Arkansas (Jan. 3) and followed that with four at Vanderbilt (Jan. 7) and again at #9/9 Kentucky (Jan. 14). Entering the season hitting 29.5 percent from 3-point range in her career, Roy is hitting 38.6 percent from behind the arc this season to rank second in the league, including 44.8 percent in conference play, during which she leads the SEC with 2.9 3-pointers made per game.

Senior Moments

South Carolina’s four four-year seniors — Asia Dozier, Tiffany Mitchell, Tina Roy, Khadijah Sessions — have been a huge part of the Gamecocks’ undefeated record, especially since SEC play began. After accounting for 36.5 percent of South Carolina’s offense in non-conference play, the quartet averages 34.8 points per SEC game to make up 47.9 percent of the Gamecocks’ league-best 72.6 points per game.

Crunch Time

This season nine games have been in the balance late with the teams within single digits in the last five minutes — #6/10 Ohio State, at UCLA, vs. #16/18 Arizona State, #14/13 Duke, at Vanderbilt, at #9/9 Kentucky, #15/11 Texas A&M, at #10/10 Mississippi State, at #1010 Texas A&M — including five in which South Carolina trailed at halftime. The Gamecocks have won all eight of those outings behind offensive efficiency and defensive rebounding in the closing moments. In the last five minutes of those nine games, the Gamecocks shot 59.3 percent while allowing just 31.6 percent to their opponent, and South Carolina out-rebounded its opponents 52-35 in that segment of the game, including grabbing 63.6 percent of the available defensive rebounds (35 of 55). In the fourth quarter of those eight games, South Carolina has shot over 50.0 from the field seven times, including four games of at least 60.0 percent. The best fourth-quarter showing was 7-of-10 (.700) at Mississippi State, during which the Gamecocks missed just one field goal in the final five minutes to seal the win.