Feb. 24, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. — No. 3/2 South Carolina makes its final regular-season road trip for a 9 p.m. (ET) tipoff at Ole Miss on Thu., Feb. 25. The Gamecocks (26-1, 14-0 SEC) topped the Rebels in Columbia earlier this season 81-62 and are looking to remain undefeated in SEC play. Junior center Alaina Coates’s nine double-doubles through 14 league games this season include an 18-rebound outing at Alabama on Monday.
- South Carolina has built its series lead against Ole Miss by winning nine of the 11 contests since the arrival of head coach Dawn Staley (2008-09 season). During that stretch, the Gamecocks’ nine wins have come by an average of 15.4 points while each of the two losses were by a single point.
- With 43 SEC regular-season wins in the last three seasons, the Gamecocks are currently tied with the 2010-12 Tennessee teams for the best three-year mark in league history.
- The South Carolina has held eight opponents under 60 points this season, including four that were nationally ranked. The Gamecocks have seen just three teams top 70 points this season with Florida’s 71 the lone entry in league play.
- The Gamecocks continue to lead the SEC in five categories in league play ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” scoring (71.9), scoring margin (+14.9), field goal percentage (.449), assists (14.8) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.0).
- South Carolina leads the nation in free throw attempts and is fourth in free throws made this season, averaging 27.3 and 16.0, respectively. The Gamecocks have made more free throws this season (432) than their opponents have attempted (397).
- Junior center Alaina Coates leads the SEC and ranks 13th in the nation with 14 double-doubles this season. Nine of those have come in the Gamecocks’ 14 SEC games. The program’s previous CAREER record for double-doubles in SEC play was 11 set by Marsha Williams over 22 games played 1992-93. Now the record holder with 19, Coates had 10 double-doubles in league play through her first two seasons. Her most recent entry came at Alabama (Feb. 22) behind a career-high 18 rebounds, 11 of which came in the first half.
- Senior guard Khadijah Sessions has ramped up her offensive game this season, averaging 8.3 points per SEC game compared to 4.9 per league game in 2014-15. She has also been contributing career numbers in other categories lately as well. She swiped six steals against Georgia (Feb. 18) and followed that night with an 11-rebound performance at Alabama (Feb. 22).
- Senior guard Tiffany Mitchell is 31 points away from making South Carolina’s all-time top five in career scoring, a list that has not changed since Jocelyn Penn moved into fourth place in 2003. Mitchell’s 826 points in SEC regular-season action are 10 away from Shannon Johnson’s school record set 1993-96.
- The only two SEC players to register double-digit double-doubles this season both play for South Carolina as Alaina Coates leads the league with 14 and A’ja Wilson is just behind at 11.
By the Numbers
2 Stats in which junior center Alaina Coates leads the SEC and ranks among the top 35 in the nation ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” rebounding (10.2, 23rd) and double-doubles (14, 13th)
10.0 Points per game by senior guard Khadijah Sessions over the last three outings
16.2 Points per game more than their opponents that the Gamecocks have scored in the paint this season (38.5-22.3)
26 Double-doubles by the Gamecocks this season, the most of any team in the league (Tennessee is next with 20)
Ole Miss Series Notes
South Carolina leads the series 19-17 after winning the last seven meetings with Ole Miss and nine of 11 contests in the Dawn Staley era with both losses coming by a single point. The Gamecocks are just 6-8 all-time against the Rebels in Oxford, but 4-0 on the road in the Staley era. South Carolina junior Alaina Coates has enjoyed her two career games against Ole Miss, averaging 15.7 points and 12.0 rebounds while shooting 66.7 percent from the field. Senior Tiffany Mitchell has scored 15 points in three of her four career games against the Rebels to average 14.0 points on 50.0 percent shooting, including 7-of-12 (.583) from 3-point range, while handing out 3.8 assists per game. Earlier this season, South Carolina posted an 81-62 win over Ole Miss (Jan. 28) with Coates pouring on 13 points and 14 rebounds. The Gamecocks capitalized on 14 Ole Miss turnovers, creating 18 points off them while scoring 17 second-chance points off their 22 offensive rebounds. In the Gamecock’s most recent trip between to Oxford, they claimed a 77-59 victory on Feb. 1, 2015, behind five players in double figures. Then-freshman Bianca Cuevas enjoyed a breakout game with 21 points in just 24 minutes, while Coates posted a double-double in her 24 minutes of action.
Overall, South Carolina is 224-243 (.480) in road games, including a 55-34 (.618) record during the Dawn Staley era. After a difficult start as the Gamecocks’ mentor, Staley has guided her team to three of the program’s top five road records in program history, including 2013-14’s school-record winning percentage of .833 (10-2). Last season’s .818 winning percentage (9-2) was second-best, while the 2012-13 team’s .733 (11-4) mark is fifth in program history. This season, South Carolina is 10-0 in road games.
Location, Location, Location
South Carolina averages 38.5 points in the paint this season, making up 52.1 percent of the Gamecocks’ offense. No opponent has out-scored South Carolina in the paint this season (Vanderbilt and UConn tied), and the Gamecocks have out-paced their opponents in that space by 16.3 points per game. In 12 games against ranked opponents this season, South Carolina has out-scored its foes in the paint by 13.8 points per game. The Gamecocks average 12.6 points in the paint per game more than their SEC opponents. South Carolina’s interior advantage has been at least 20 points in 10 of the team’s 27 games this season, including three games against ranked teams ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” #6/10 Ohio State (32), #16/18 Arizona State (26) and #15/10 Texas A&M (20). The season-high advantage of 34 points has happened twice ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” against Arkansas (Jan. 3) and UNCG (Nov. 15).
Six different Gamecocks have been the team’s high scorer in a game at least once, but often the high scorer has several teammates on her heels. In a constant search for balance, the Gamecocks’ top scorer in a game has accounted for at least one-third of the team’s points just eight times ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” #14/13 Duke, Winthrop, at #9/9 Kentucky, #15/11 Texas A&M, at #10/10 Mississippi State, at #10/10 Texas A&M, #18/18 Kentucky, at #24/- Tennessee ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” and for more than a quarter of the team’s total points 16 times. South Carolina has had four or more players score in double figures 11 times with just four games of two or fewer double-figure scorers. Overall, three Gamecocks average double-figure points ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” A’ja Wilson 16.7 ppg, Tiffany Mitchell 14.7, Alaina Coates 11.8 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” with three others scoring at least 6.1 points per game ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” Khadijah Sessions 6.8, Bianca Cuevas 6.2 ppg, Tina Roy 6.1. In SEC play, the balance of offense is only slightly contracted with Wilson at 16.4 ppg, Mitchell at 15.3 ppg and Coates at 11.3 to go along with Sessions’ 8.3 ppg and Roy’s 7.8 ppg.
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, and the Gamecocks currently lead the SEC with 14.8 assists per conference game. After assisting on just 45.9 percent of its field goals (158 of 344) to start the season, South Carolina has rediscovered its roots in league play, handing out assists on 207 of 347 made field goals (59.7 percent). Senior Tiffany Mitchell, who is second on the team in scoring in SEC games (15.7), also leads the team in assists (2.8), ranking 11th in the league. Overall, South Carolina has assisted on at least 50.0 percent of its field goals in 19 games, including five games of over 70.0 percent. The Gamecocks’ 24 assists on 31 made field goals against Ole Miss (Jan. 28) was a season-best 77.4 percent, followed closely by the 75.0 percent (21 of 28) against Florida (Feb. 11).