Gamecocks and Gators Thursday Night at Colonial Life Arena
COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 21/25 South Carolina looks to remain undefeated in SEC action when it hosts Florida Thursday night. The Gamecocks (10-4, 2-0 SEC) are one of four women’s basketball teams at 2-0 in league play so far this season. In fact, the Gamecock basketball teams are a combined 4-0 in league action – the only SEC school to be undefeated in conference basketball action.
SOUTH CAROLINA NOTABLES
• Playing in its 17th season at Colonial Life Arena, the Gamecocks are vying for their 200th all-time win at the facility tonight. Their 199-65 mark in the building includes a pair of undefeated home seasons – 2013-14 and 2014-15 – and a 78-44 mark in SEC action. South Carolina has lost just six times in its last 91 home games, including just two SEC regular-season games since the start of the 2013-14 season.
• South Carolina is one of four SEC teams to open league play at 2-0, helping the Gamecocks move up in both polls this week as they stand at #21 in the AP Poll and re-entered the USA Today Coaches Poll at #25.
• The Gamecock defense has been locked in, holding eight opponents under 60 points this season, including both SEC games so far. In league play, South Carolina leads the conference in opponent field goal percentage (.304) and blocks per game (10.0) and is third in scoring defense (58.0 ppg). Overall, the Gamecocks lead the country with 7.6 blocks per game.
• Few players had a more impactful start to SEC play than Gamecock forward Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, who averaged a double-double and blocked 5.5 shots per game last week. In league games, she is second in rebounding (12.5 rpg) and 14th in scoring (14.5 ppg). Only Preseason SEC Player of the Year selection Teaira McCowan of Mississippi State has been more productive than Herbert Harrigan in SEC games this season with her 14.5 ppg and 16.0 rpg, though she blocked just 1.5 shots per game.
• SEC play has seen junior Te’a Cooper put her full stat-stuffing game on display as she averaged 14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.5 steals – team highs in all but rebounds.
BY THE NUMBERS
3 Gamecocks averaging double-figure points over the last five games – Herbert Harrigan (12.6), Jennings (10.4), Cooper (10.2)
4 Consecutive games with the same starting lineup after opening the season with six different lineups through the first 11 games
26.9 Points per game by the Carolina bench, which out-scores its opponents’ bench by 11.9 points per game (highest margin in the SEC)
83.1 Percent free throw shooting for the Gamecocks over the last five games
FLORIDA SERIES NOTES
The Gators lead the series 20-17, but the Gamecocks have won the last nine and are 9-4 against Florida in the Dawn Staley era.
Four games in the nine-game win streak have been decided by single digits, including the Gators’ last trip to Columbia. The Gamecocks claimed a 64-57 victory in that game on Feb. 11, 2018, inching away from the Gators after going into halftime tied. Then-sophomore Tyasha Harris scored 13 of her 18 points in the fourth quarter, adding a pair of steals to close out the rallying Gators.
The Gamecocks are ranked 21st in this week’s AP Poll, marking their 121st consecutive week in that poll, the fifth-longest active streak in the nation. In those 121 weeks, the Gamecocks spent 91 in the top 10, including 63 in the top five and 12 at No. 1.
South Carolina is back in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll this week at #25 after a four-week hiatus from that organization’s rankings.
South Carolina’s schedule features nine games against teams ranked in this week’s AP and/or USA Today Coaches Poll, including six against top-10 foes. Overall, the Gamecocks rank 28th in strength of schedule with an RPI of 33.
With four games against ranked foes behind them (1-3), the Gamecocks have six more games on the schedule against a ranked opponent. Still ahead in non-conference play is #3/3 UConn (Feb. 11). In SEC action, the Gamecocks will face both #7/6 Mississippi State and #16/16 Kentucky twice. They travel to #13/13 Tennessee.
GREAT GAMECOCK FANS
After winning the title for the last four seasons, South Carolina continues to lead the nation in average attendance this season with 11,001 and is the only program drawing at least 10,000 fans per game.
Five of the top-10 attended games this season have been at Colonial Life Arena, including the Gamecocks’ season-high attendance of 11,539 against Clemson (Nov. 15), which ranks third in the nation on the season. Only 20 games in the country this season have had over 10,000 fans attend – a benchmark the Gamecocks have met in all eight home games so far and in their last 60 regular-season games.
South Carolina’s last regular-season game with less than 10,000 attendance was on Dec. 14, 2014, when 9,605 were on-hand to see the Gamecocks defeat Savannah State – a streak of 60 games. The last game at Colonial Life Arena with an attendance below 10,000 was in the 2017 NCAA Tournament when the Gamecocks’ second-round game against Arizona State drew 8,276.