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SEC Play Opens on Road for Gamecocks
Women's Basketball  . 

SEC Play Opens on Road for Gamecocks

Women's basketball starts its 28th season in the SEC on the road at Texas A&M Thursday.

COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 23/- South Carolina heads to #21/21 Texas A&M for the SEC opener for both teams. Tipoff at Reed Arena is set for 9 p.m. ET with the game airing on SEC Network. It is the second time in as many seasons that the Gamecocks (8-4) and Aggies (11-2) have played each other in the first league game of the season.

• The Gamecocks are entering their 28th season in the SEC with a 173-206 overall conference record. In the 10 seasons of the Dawn Staley era, that mark improves to 109-49, accounting for 63.0 percent of the program’s overall regular-season SEC victories. South Carolina has finished in the top half of the league standings 11 times in its first 27 SEC seasons, including four regular-season championships and two other second-place finishes. In 2017-18, the Gamecocks became the first program in league history to win four consecutive SEC Tournament titles.

• The Gamecocks and Aggies, who are opening SEC play against each other for the second time in as many seasons, have seen four of their eight all-time meetings decided by two or fewer points and only two games decided by double digits. Both teams have been ranked in seven of the previous eight meetings.

• South Carolina is enjoying balanced offensive attack as seven Gamecocks have led the team in scoring at least once this season with 11 of the 13 active Gamecocks scoring in double digits at least once. Six Gamecocks average at least 6.0 points per game with one more just a tick below at 5.9 ppg.

• Senior forward Alexis Jennings is the team’s top scorer over the last five games, posting 12.2 points per game on 65.0 percent shooting over that stretch. The series includes the Temple game, which saw injury limit her to just six minutes. In the other four games, her numbers rise to 14.8 ppg on 64.1 percent shooting with 6.0 rebounds per game.

• Freshman Destanni Henderson moved into the starting lineup at Purdue (Dec. 16) and seems to be settling into the spot. After playing just 10 minutes in that initial start, she has played 20.0 minutes per game over the last two, contributing 8.0 points and 3.0 assists per game while shooting 41.6 percent from the field, including 50.0 percent (4-of-8) from 3-point range.


2.75 Blocked shots per game by Mikiah Herbert Harrigan over the last four games

3 Gamecocks who rank among the SEC’s top-10 active players in at least one statistical category

4 Regular-season SEC Championships in the list five seasons for the Gamecocks

7 Games this season in which Gamecock forwards have scored at least 40.0 percent of the team’s points, including four of the last five outings

12.8 Average AP rank of the four teams that have defeated the Gamecocks this season

South Carolina has won the last five meetings in the series, including the last two games in College Station, to take a 5-3 advantage. Six of the eight games have been decided by single digits, including last season’s 61-59 Gamecock victory in Columbia.

In the Dec. 31, 2017, matchup in Columbia, the Aggies capitalized on poor Gamecock shooting in the second and third quarters to take an eight-point lead into the final period. While solid guard play opened the period to make it one-possession game, then-senior A’ja Wilson scored 10 points in the final period, including the game winner with just one second left on the clock. The Gamecocks locked down defensively in the period, allowing just 4-of-14 shooting (.286). Guards Doniya Cliney and Tyasha Harris finished the game in double-figures, scoring 16 and 11 points, respectively, with Harris handing out seven assists.

The Gamecocks are 251-254 all-time in true road games, including a 76-40 (.655) mark under head coach Dawn Staley. In SEC action, Staley is 50-29 (.641) through her 10 seasons at South Carolina.

With an 0-3 mark so far season, South Carolina is 59-55 against nationally ranked opponents under head coach Dawn Staley, although that record is skewed by the early seasons of her tenure. The Gamecocks are 44-16 versus ranked foes since the start of the 2014-15 campaign. 

Senior forward Alexis Jennings has been especially effective against ranked foes, averaging 10.7 points and 9.0 rebounds in her three games against such opponents this season. Sophomore forward LeLe Grissett’s numbers also go up vs. ranked foes as she has posted 7.0 points and 6.3 rebounds per game against them this season. Junior guard Te’a Cooper is the leading scorer in the Gamecocks’ three games against ranked opponents with 16.3 points per game.


Head coach Dawn Staley has built the Gamecocks into a consistent SEC contender with four regular-season titles in the last five seasons, shirking decades of difficulty in the nation’s best women’s basketball conference.

Now in her 11th SEC season at the helm, Staley boasts a 109-49 (.690) conference regular-season record and has finished outside the league’s top five just twice – an unprecedented achievement for a program that had finished INSIDE the top five only two times in the  previous 17 seasons. Staley’s 109 wins include seven seasons of double-digit league victories – 10 in 2012; 11 in 2013; 14 in 2014; 15 in 2015; 16 in 2016;  14 in 2017; and 12 in 2018 – and account for 63.0 percent of the program’s all-time 173 league wins.

Staley’s SEC regular-season record includes a 59-20 (.747) mark at home and a 50-29 (.633) slate on the road.