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March 9, 2016


COLUMBIA, S.C. ââ’¬” South Carolina women’s basketball invites fans to Colonial Life Arena for “The Encore” sponsored by Hilton Columbia Center as the team celebrates the announcement of the NCAA Tournament bracket on Mon., March 14. Doors will open at 5:45 p.m., and the event will feature various photo opportunities for fans, team competitions and a dance contest before the NCAA Selection Show begins at 7 p.m.

The first 800 fans will receive free popcorn to enjoy before programming begins at 6 p.m. The team’s 2015 and 2016 championship trophies will be on the concourse for fans to take photos with, and the first 100 fans or groups will receive a ticket for a designated time and location for a photo with various members of the team. Fans can also purchase ticket booklets to the first- and second-round NCAA Tournament games anticipated being at Colonial Life Arena next weekend at the Arena Box Office.

Fans are welcome to sit anywhere in sections 103-108, and concession stands will be open in those areas as well. Additional on-court programming throughout the hour before the selection show begins will also include team introductions, shooting competitions between head coach Dawn Staley and two seniors and fans participating in a dance contest to be judged by the team. At 7 p.m., everyone will watch the ESPN broadcast on the scoreboard, and Staley will address the crowd once the Gamecocks have been selected.

No. 3/2 South Carolina is enjoying another exceptional season, repeating as both SEC regular-season and tournament champion. Three Gamecocks were named First-Team All-SEC, and Staley was named the SEC Coach of the Year for the third-straight season. Sophomore A’ja Wilson became the second player ever to earn both the SEC Player of the Year and SEC Defensive Player of the Year awards. South Carolina is also the first program to bring home the SEC Player of the Year award for three consecutive seasons as senior guard Tiffany Mitchell won the award in 2014 and 2015.

The NCAA Tournament begins with first- and second-round games at the campus sites of the top-16 seeded teams on March 18-21. The following two rounds are played the next weekend at regional sites in Lexington, Ky.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Bridgeport, Conn.; and Dallas. The Final Four will be held April 3-5 in Indianapolis.

All-Session booklets for the first- and second-round games expected to be at Colonial Life Arena will go on sale to the public on Thu., March 10, at 10 a.m. and range from $33 to $23. Single-game tickets will go on sale on Tue., March 15, at 10 a.m. through