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

March 24, 2016

Game Information

Date: Friday, March 25, 2016

Tipoff: 7 p.m. (ET)

Location: Sioux Falls, S.D.

Arena: Denny Sanford PREMIER Center

Tickets: $40-80 Booklets; $24-48 Single Session

Broadcast: ESPN (Beth Mowins, play-by-play; Stephanie White, analyst; Maria Taylor, sideline)

Radio: 107.5 The Game (Brad Muller)

Live Stats:

COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 3/2 South Carolina takes on No. 14/14 Syracuse in NCAA Tournament action Friday night, marking the Gamecocks’ third-straight appearance in the Sweet 16 and fourth in the last five years. The two teams met one round earlier in the 2015 NCAA Tournament with South Carolina ending the Orange’s season in the second round. In this season’s tournament, South Carolina junior center Alaina Coates has been a force in the paint, leading the team in scoring and rebounding behind 18.0 points and 10.0 rebounds per game so far in the event.


  • South Carolina has recent history with all three of the other teams advancing to the Sioux Falls Regional, posting a 7-0 record against the field over the last two seasons, including wins this season over Ohio State and Tennessee. The Gamecocks knocked Syracuse out of the 2015 NCAA Tournament in the second round, their second win over the Orange in the 2014-15 season.
  • The Gamecocks are 13-1 against ranked opponents this season, posting a school record for ranked wins in a season. In the last two seasons, South Carolina is a combined 22-4 against ranked foes, including 9-3 against top-10 teams. This season, the Gamecocks’ frontcourt has dominated ranked opponents with sophomore forward A’ja Wilson averaging a team-high 19.1 points and junior center Alaina Coates averaging a double-double (10.3 ppg/10.2 rpg).
  • South Carolina’s defense has held its opponent to fewer than 60 points 22 times this season, including seven games against a ranked opponent. A team has not reached 65 points against the Gamecocks since Florida netted 71 on Feb. 11, a span of 10 games.
  • Gamecocks make up half of the Naismith Trophy finalists this season with Tiffany Mitchell and A’ja Wilson still in the running for the national player of the year award. The duo is also on the Wooden Award Final Ballot.
  • Junior center Alaina Coates leads the Gamecocks with 15.0 points and 9.1 rebounds per game in her NCAA Tournament career (10 games). She has scored in double figures in nine tournament games and posted double-digit rebounds six times. In the two games this season, she leads the team in both categories as well with 18.0 points and 10.0 rebounds per game.
  • Senior guard Tiffany Mitchell has thrived in the final postseason run of her career, putting her all-around game on display in her last four outings. In that stretch, she averaged 18.3 points on 49.1 percent shooting, including 39.1 percent from 3-point range, to go with 2.8 assists and 2.5 steals per game. While her numbers heading into that stretch — 14.7 ppg, 40.7 percent shooting, 34.2 percent 3-point shooting, 2.5 assists and 1.7 steals per game — would be considered successful for most players, the current run is more in line with her now three-time All-America expectations.
  • Sophomore forward A’ja Wilson has proven to shine brightest under the harshest spotlight, averaging 19.1 points and 9.7 rebounds against ranked opponents, playing 29.7 minutes per game. Her production against ranked foes is more efficient than any other forward on the Wooden Award Final Ballot, which includes just one other sophomore. Wilson scored 0.644 points per minute, edging out UConn’s Breanna Stewart’s 0.638 pace. (See complete chart pg. 6)
  • The Gamecocks’ postseason success has come courtesy of increased scoring from its point guards as Bianca Cuevas and Khadijah Sessions average 9.6 points and 8.0 points, respectively, in the last five games. The duo is shooting a combined 53.6 percent (30-of-56) during the stretch while each has also handed out nine assists and 12 steals in that time.

By the Numbers

2 Players in SEC history to earn Player and Defensive Player of the Year honors in the same season — A’ja Wilson 2016, Sylvia Fowles (LSU), 2008
16.2 Points per game by senior guard Tiffany Mitchell in postseason play (SEC and NCAA Tournaments)
19 Double-doubles this season by junior Alaina Coates
32 Quarters this season in which the Gamecocks have held their opponent to single digits, including at least one in seven of the last eight games

Syracuse Series Notes

The Gamecocks lead the all-time series 3-1 after a pair of wins over the Orange in the 2014-15 season. The two wins of the Dawn Staley era came in opposite fashion as South Carolina had to rally from a 10-point second-half deficit for a 67-63 win on Nov. 28 in the Junkanoo Jam but the Gamecocks dominated early in a 97-68 win on March 22 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. In the first meeting last season, South Carolina mounted a furious 18-4 run that closed the game. Syracuse locked down the Gamecocks’ veteran post players, but then-freshman A’ja Wilson dominated late in the second half with six of her 10 rebounds and 11 of her 15 points coming in the period. In the final 2:00 of the game, Asia Dozier, Tiffany Mitchell and Wilson combined to seal the victory. In last season’s NCAA Tournament game, Dozier applied the early pressure with three 3s early in the game to loosen up the Orange’s zone and the Gamecocks’ defense allowed just 25.7 percent shooting in the opening 20 minutes en route to a 53-25 half-time lead, from which Syracuse could not recover.

Moving on Up

Three other Gamecocks recently moved up in the program’s top-five lists, including Tiffany Mitchell and Tina Roy who now share the school record for games played at 138. With four steals against Kansas State (Mar. 20), Mitchell moved into fourth place in career steals with 233. Tina Roy’s two 3-pointers against the Wildcats put her into a tie for fifth in career made 3s at 159. A’ja Wilson blocked three shots against K-State to take over second place in career blocks with 165.

Three Grand

A pair of Gamecocks joined senior guard Tiffany Mitchell in the Gamecocks’ 1,000-point club this season, making this the first season with three 1,000-point scorers since 1998-99. In program history, there are now 11 seasons that featured multiple 1,000-point scorers, including five that played with three members of the club. Junior center Alaina Coates hit the mark against Missouri (Jan. 10), making it the second-straight season a Gamecock team has had multiple 1,000-point scorers. Sophomore A’ja Wilson became just the second sophomore to hit the mark, scoring her 1,000th point in the NCAA Tournament second-round win over Kansas State (Mar. 20). Mitchell currently stands fourth on the program’s all-time scoring list with 1,877 points. She is one of just four Gamecocks who have amassed at least 1,500 points and 300 assists in her career. Coates has 1,223 points and 914 rebounds, becoming just the second Gamecock to reach both plateaus prior to her senior season. She is fourth in school history in career rebounds.

Diversified Assets

Head coach Dawn Staley has compiled an arsenal of offensive weapons that keeps growing throughout the season with no one Gamecock consistently dominating the stat line, especially on offense. While 10 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 11 times — Alaina Coates (Winthrop, Kentucky), Tiffany Mitchell (at Clemson, at Vandy, Florida) and A’ja Wilson (vs. CSUB, Duke, at Kentucky, Texas A&M, at Tennessee, at Ole Miss). Conversely, a different Gamecock has led each quarter of a game eight times (Ohio State, UNCG, Hampton, vs. East Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri, at Auburn, Ole Miss).