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

March 24, 2017

Game Information

Date: Sat., Mar. 25, 2017

Tipoff: 4 p.m. (ET)

Location: Stockton, Calif.

Arena: Stockton Arena

Tickets: $45.50 Booklets; $28 Single Session

Watch On: ESPN (Dave Pasch, play-by-play; LaChina Robinson, analyst; Molly McGrath, sideline)

Broadcast: 107.5 The Game (Brad Muller)

COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 3/4 South Carolina continues NCAA Tournament action Saturday, playing in its fourth-straight Sweet 16 and fifth in the last six seasons. The Stockton Region’s top seed, the Gamecocks (29-4) take on 12th-seed Quinnipiac (29-6) at 4 p.m. (ET) at Stockton Arena.

South Carolina Notables

  • The Gamecocks are playing in their fourth-straight NCAA Sweet 16 and fifth in the last six seasons. This is the third of those appearances that has involved a trip to California — 2012 Fresno Region, 2014 Stanford Region.
  • Columbia, South Carolina, has become a hotbed for college basketball this season as South Carolina is one of four schools to have both its men’s and women’s teams in the Sweet 16 this season — Baylor, Oregon and UCLA. The Gamecocks are the only school in the nation to have both its men’s and women’s teams draw more than 10,000 fans per game this season.
  • Head coach Dawn Staley has led the Gamecocks into the most successful era in program history with four straight SEC regular-season championships and three consecutive SEC Tournament titles. South Carolina boasts the last four SEC Player of the Year selections, including current two-time reigning winner A’ja Wilson. Nationally, a Gamecock has been a national player of the year finalist for the last three seasons as Wilson continues to rank among that group this season as one of four Naismith Trophy finalists.
  • While expectations were high for South Carolina right out of the gate this season, the Gamecocks returned just two starters — Alaina Coates and A’ja Wilson — and one other regular contributor — Bianca Cuevas-Moore — as they faced the seventh-toughest regular-season schedule in the nation.
  • As she has done every time she has been called upon, national player of the year candidate A’ja Wilson continues to elevate her game in the postseason, despite being the centerpiece of every opponent’s scouting report. Her 19.6 points per game in the last five games includes 8.0 points per fourth quarter of the Gamecocks’ three tightest contests — against Kentucky and Mississippi State in the SEC Tournament semifinals and final, respectively, and against Arizona State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Her 8.0 rebounds per postseason game feature 4.7 per fourth quarter of those contests as well.
  • Junior transfers Kaela Davis and Allisha Gray have capably filled the holes left by the departures of a critical senior class in the program’s development last season. Gray has been the steady double-figure scorer — 25 of 33 games — who has the ability to contribute in whatever way the team needs. Davis has been the explosive, game-changing scorer who opened the season scoring 37 points at #7/6 Ohio State and has been outstanding in the postseason — 15.0 points per game on 44.3 percent shooting.
  • Down the stretch, South Carolina has relied heavily on a pair of freshmen in point guard Tyasha Harris and forward Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, both of whom have hit their stride in postseason action with Harris averaging 4.4 assists per game and Herbert Harrigan averaging 9.4 points in her added playing time in the absence of Alaina Coates.
  • Another unsung hero in the South Carolina postseason is sophomore Doniyah Cliney who has played 21.8 points per postseason game and provided some key defensive plays and, offensively, delivered timely points or the key pass in a momentum-changing run.

By the Numbers

1 Gamecock averaging a double-double in the NCAA Tournament — Allisha Gray (16.5 ppg/10.0 rpg)
3 Games among her last six outings in which Kaela Davis has shot at least 50.0 percent from the field
11 Point deficit overcome by the Gamecocks against Arizona State, the largest comeback of the season
12.0 Points allowed by the Gamecock defense per fourth quarter in the three postseason games within five points through three quarters — Kentucky, Mississippi State, Arizona State
17 Games this season in which the Gamecocks have held their opponent under 60 points, including three postseason games
20 Games in which A’ja Wilson has led the Gamecocks in scoring, including four of the last six

Quinnipiac Series Notes

The Gamecocks and Bobcats have never met in women’s basketball.

Heart of a Champion

Tournament time shows just how strong a players’ iron has been forged in the heat of the season. In these win-or-go-home games this season, South Carolina’s A’ja Wilson has put South Carolina on her back even as the defensive focus on her doubled in the absence of her long-time frontcourt partner Alaina Coates.

In the three games within five points at the end of their third quarters, Wilson led the Gamecocks with 8.0 points on 50.0 percent shooting (5-of-10) and 93.3 percent free throw accuracy (14-of-15) along with 4.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocked shots.

As Arizona State’s Sophie Brunner put it after Wilson’s heroics helped the Gamecocks into the Sweet 16, “She’s their money player, so we knew they wanted to get it to her. We just couldn’t defend her, get the ball out of her hands.”

In the Driver’s Seat

South Carolina junior guard Kaela Davis exploded into her Gamecock career with a 37-point outing against #7/6 Ohio State and rained in 3-pointers through the first month of the season. Enduring an up-and-down regular season, Davis has thrived in the postseason by relying on the other tools at her disposal — including those outside her renown scoring abilities.

The 6-foot-2 lithe athlete closed SEC action averaging 11.0 points on 33.9 percent shooting, including 26.8 percent from 3-point range, to go with 3.1 rebounds per game in league play.

With her renewed focus on diversifying her offense, five postseason victories have come in large part because of Davis’ 15.0 points per game on 44.3 percent shooting, including 45.0 percent from 3-point range, and 4.2 rebounds per game. In the three tightest games of that group — SEC semifinal vs. Kentucky and final vs. #6/7 Mississippi State and NCAA second round vs. Arizona State — her scoring exploded to 20.0 points per game on 53.7 percent shooting, including 50.0 percent from 3-point range.

Gray Area

Due to teammate injuries, junior guard Allisha Gray has started five games this season as essentially the Gamecocks’ starting power forward. Undersized only in height, the six-foot guard’s heart and competitive fire made those outings — at LSU, at Texas A&M, vs. Mississippi State, UNC Asheville, Arizona State — some of her most productive games of the season. Averaging roughly the same minutes as her season mark (29.6), Gray posted 13.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game while shooting 64.3 percent in those five games. In fact, against UNC Asheville, she out-scored AND out-rebounded All-America roommate A’ja Wilson.

To Your Point

Most pundits have opined that South Carolina’s postseason fate lies in the hands of its points guards — the young but steady freshman Tyasha Harris and the experienced but unpredictable Bianca Cuevas-Moore. The nation’s most notable point guard of all-time, Dawn Staley enthusiastically agrees with the duo’s ability to power the Gamecocks toward their goals.

Moving Harris into the starting role at the start of SEC play, Staley set on optimizing her high-octane starting lineup with an organized, pass-first point guard while letting Cuevas-Moore pounce on opponents off the bench as a fast-paced offensive weapon with quick hands on the defensive end.

While both are in the starting lineup now due to the injury to Alaina Coates, Harris and Cuevas-Moore have mastered and are constantly expanding their roles.

In five postseason games, Harris averages 4.4 assists per game with a 2.0 assist-to-turnover ratio while shooting 52.9 percent from the field. Cuevas-Moore has balanced her 10.0 points per game on 43.2 percent shooting this postseason with 2.6 assists per game and 2.4 steals per contest.