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Gamecocks Back on the Road Thursday at Vandy
Women's Basketball  . 

Gamecocks Back on the Road Thursday at Vandy

Jan. 17, 2018

#10/10 South Carolina at Vanderbilt

COLUMBIA, S.C. — No. 10/10 South Carolina head back out for the first of two road games, traveling to Nashville for a Thursday night matchup with Vanderbilt. The Gamecocks (14-3, 3-2 SEC) lead the SEC in field goal percentage at .493, but the Commodores (5-14, 1-4 SEC) are on top of their outside game, hitting an SEC-best 39.2 percent from 3-point range.

South Carolina Notables

South Carolina’s 2017-18 strength of schedule is ranked 26th in the nation in the most recent NCAA RPI Summary, including an SEC-high six games against top-25 RPI teams so far. Four SEC teams are among the nation’s top 30 most challenging schedules.
Sophomore guard Tyasha Harris turned in a big game against #6/6 Tennessee Sunday with her career-high 28 points ranking as the seventh-most by a Gamecock against a top-10 team in program history. The output make her one of three players to rank among the SEC’s top 15 in points, assists and steals per game in league play. She leads the SEC in assists per game overall (6.8) and in league action (7.6). Her 15.0 points per SEC game are 15th in the league, and her 2.6 steals per conference game are second.

By the Numbers

7 Rank of sophomore Tyasha Harris in career assists among active SEC players (232)

13 Games this season in which the Gamecocks have assisted on at least half of their field goals

41.5 Points per game the Gamecocks have scored in the paint this season, accounting for 51.0 percent of the offense

The Vanderbilt Series

The Commodores lead the series 21-14, but the Gamecocks have won the last eight meetings, including the last three at Memorial Gymnasium. In the Dawn Staley era, during which the Gamecocks are 8-2 against Vanderbilt, just three of those games were decided by single digits. All three of them were played at Memorial Gymnasium. On Staley’s fourth trip to Nashville with the Gamecocks, the most recent one on Jan. 7, 2016, then-No. 2 South Carolina claimed a 10-point victory (71-61) over unranked Vanderbilt.

Road Ready

The Gamecocks are 242-249 all-time in true road games, including a 70-38 (.648) mark under head coach Dawn Staley. In SEC action, Staley is 45-27 (.625) through her 10th season at South Carolina.

Location, Location, Location

The Gamecock frontcourt simply reloaded this season, and South Carolina averages 41.5 points in the paint this season, making up 51.0 percent of its offense. In fact, 68.0 percent of the team’s made field goals this season have come in the paint. The Gamecocks are out-pacing their opponents in that space by 16.3 points per game, and their interior advantage has been at least 20 points five times, including twice with a season-high 48 — against Alabama State (Nov. 10) and Western Carolina (Nov. 30). Only three opponents have out-scored South Carolina in the paint this season — #6/6 Notre Dame (Nov. 26) 58-42, #15/15 Missouri (Jan. 7) 28-34 and #6/6 Tennessee (Jan. 14) 36-44 — which are also the Gamecocks’ only losses this season. South Carolina’s starting frontcourt of Alexis Jennings and A’ja Wilson has accounted for 41.3 percent of the Gamecocks’ scoring this season, averaging a combined 33.6 points per game.

Just Jennings

Junior transfer Alexis Jennings has strengthened the Gamecocks’ frontcourt, providing a steady, physical presence in the lane. After averaging 8.9 points and 5.4 rebounds in her two seasons at Kentucky, the powerful post has elevated her play this season, posting 11.8 points and 7.1 rebounds per game to rank second on the team and among the SEC’s top 30 in both categories. Jennings is third in the league in field goal percentage (.611), 16th in rebounding and 27th in scoring. Both her scoring and rebounding have been on full display versus ranked opponents, against which she averages 12.3 points and 7.3 rebounds. Two of her three double-doubles so far this season have come against top-15 foes in #15/13 Maryland (Nov. 13, 12 pts/13 rebs) and #14/16 Duke (Dec. 3, 21 pts/10 rebs). Jennings has nine other double-figure scoring games this season, including a 25-point outing vs. St. John’s (Nov. 25).