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

Jan. 20, 2018

#10/10 South Carolina at Kentucky

COLUMBIA, S.C. — No. 10/10 South Carolina opens its home-and-home series with SEC-rival Kentucky Sunday in Lexington. The Gamecocks have won the last six against the Wildcats, and Sunday marks the first game in which only one team is ranked since February 2012. In that one, the unranked Gamecocks battled then-No. 13 Kentucky to a three-point decision in the Wildcats’ favor.

South Carolina Notables

Today’s game matches up two of the three active SEC coaches who have recorded at least 100 regular-season league victories in Kentucky’s Matthew Mitchell (103) and South Carolina’s Dawn Staley (102). The two leaders, in their 11th and 10th seasons, respectively, are among just eight coaches all-time have amassed at least 100 SEC regular-season victories at one school.

While the Gamecocks are second in the SEC in scoring with 76.5 points per league game, the Wildcats are second in scoring defense by yielding just 62.4 points per SEC contest.

South Carolina is one of just five teams in the nation shooting at least 50.0 percent from the field this season. The have hit that mark in 10 games this season, including a Staley-era record 66.7 percent accuracy Thursday night at Vanderbilt.

The Gamecock frontcourt may have been down its All-American in the last two games, but the remaining forwards continued to contribute at the pace Staley expects from inside-out play. Junior Alexis Jennings has done the bulk of the heavy lifting in the last two outings at 19.5 points per game on 82.4 percent shooting to go with 10.0 rebounds per game. Freshman LeLe Grissett showed how her hard work is paying off with her best two games — 16.0 points per game on 88.2 percent field goal shooting along with 8.5 rebounds per game.

By the Numbers

6 Freshmen and sophomores on the Gamecocks’ 12-player roster this season

7 Rank of sophomore Tyasha Harris in career assists among active SEC players (235)

49 Points the Gamecocks got from their starting frontcourt at Vanderbilt WITHOUT senior All-American A’ja Wilson in the lineup

66.7 Percent field goal shooting by the Gamecocks at Vanderbilt (Jan. 18) — the third-best percentage in program history

68.6 Percent of South Carolina’s made field goals that have come in the paint

The Kentucky Series

Kentucky leads the series 33-28, but the Gamecocks have won the last six and nine of the last 11 contests. South Carolina is 12-9 against Kentucky in the Dawn Staley era. In the annual home-and-home series that is among the best rivalries in the SEC, today’s game is the first since February 2012 that only one of the teams is ranked. Adding to the rivalry has been the two teams facing off in the SEC Tournament in three of the last four seasons as well.

Tough Road Ahead

South Carolina’s 2017-18 schedule includes 12 games against teams ranked in this week’s Associated Press and/or USA Today Coaches Poll. Seven of those games are already behind the Gamecocks, who went 4-3 in the outings. Still up for the Gamecocks are rematches with #11/12 Missouri and #6/7 Tennessee as well as games against #1/1 UConn, at #3/3 Mississippi State and at #-/24 Georgia.

Getting Some Le-Way

Freshman forward LeLe Grissett spent the semester break putting in extra time in the gym, especially with assistant coach Fred Chmiel. The work is paying off just when the Gamecocks have needed it most due to injuries, as the athletic, energetic newcomer has put it all together in the last two games. Scoring in double figures against #6/6 Tennessee (Jan. 14) and at Vanderbilt (Jan. 18), Grissett averaged 16.0 points on 88.2 percent shooting in those outings while pulling down 8.5 rebounds per game. 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 12.7 points and 7.4 rebounds per game to rank second on the team and among the SEC’s top 25 in both categories. Jennings is third in the league in field goal percentage (.631), 14th in rebounding and 22nd 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 10 other double-figure scoring games this season, including two 20-point outings — 25 vs. St. John’s (Nov. 25) and 27 at Vanderbilt (Jan. 18).