Gamecocks Meet Tigers Monday Night
South Carolina and Missouri featured as part of ESPN2's Big Monday lineup.
COLUMBIA, S.C. – #15/20 South Carolina hosts Missouri at Colonial Life Arena at 7 p.m. as part of ESPN2 Big Monday action. The Gamecocks (12-5, 4-1 SEC) and Tigers (15-4, 4-1 SEC) are tied for second in the SEC standings.
SOUTH CAROLINA NOTABLES
• South Carolina women’s basketball is in the midst of its most successful era. The Gamecocks have played in the NCAA Elite Eight three times in the last four seasons, including winning the 2017 National Championship, and have been ranked in the AP Top 25 for 122 consecutive weeks, the fifth-longest active streak in the nation. In SEC action, Staley has led the Gamecocks to four SEC regular-season titles and the last four SEC Tournament championships, becoming the first in league history to win four straight tournament crowns.
• Among the Gamecocks’ tightest SEC series, South Carolina and Missouri have held their home court in all but one game of the series – a 60-49 decision to then #1 South Carolina in Columbia, Missouri, on Jan. 15, 2015.
• South Carolina has played one of the toughest schedules in the country, coming in at 22nd in strength of schedule, with some of the toughest games still ahead of the Gamecocks. Four games against ranked opponents are behind them – including four against top-10 foes – and South Carolina is looking at two games against #16/15 Kentucky, road trips to #2/2 UConn and #20/17 Tennessee and a home game against #7/6 Mississippi State. Missouri, Georgia and Auburn were also receiving votes in the AP Poll last week, all of whom the Gamecocks have yet to take on this season.
• The recent Gamecock starting backcourt of Te’a Cooper, Bianca Cuevas-Moore and Tyasha Harris has proven to be a formidable one. All three are essentially point guards who can score as well as distribute and defend the perimeter aggressively. Cooper and Harris, especially, have delivered a solid balance of finding their own shot and distributing the ball. While Cooper scores more than Harris and Harris averages more assists than Cooper, their impact on the offense is essentially the same. Between points and assists, Harris has her hands on 20.6 points per game, while Cooper touches 20.3 points per game.
• Junior forward Mikiah Herbert Harrigan has shown her shooting touch away from the basket of late, ranking fifth in the SEC in field goal percentage in league games (.538). That accuracy includes 3-of-6 shooting from 3-point range.
BY THE NUMBERS
1 Win by South Carolina when allowing an opponent to score 70 or more points this season
2.8 Assist-to-turnover ratio by Tyasha Harris, which ranks 16th in the nation
5 Double-figure scoring games for Mikiah Herbert Harrigan through five SEC outings this season
11.2 Average AP ranking of the four teams to which the Gamecocks have lost this season
MISSOURI SERIES NOTES
The Gamecocks lead the series 5-3, including a 3-0 mark at Colonial Life Arena and a 4-3 edge under Dawn Staley.
South Carolina and Missouri split a pair of games last season with each winning on its home court. The Tigers won the first meeting, an 83-74 decision at Mizzou Arena on Jan. 7. The Gamecocks suffered a poor-shooting second quarter to fall behind 35-29 at halftime and could not recover, despite shooting 56.7 percent in the second half. The Tigers won the points-in-the-paint battle 34-28 and netted eight 3s to the Gamecocks’ six.
In the rematch, South Carolina broke open a halftime tie by hitting 12-of-18 from the free throw line in the second half for the 64-54 victory on Jan. 28. Then-sophomore Tyasha Harris scored 11 of her 19 points in the second half, including seven in the third quarter to put the Tigers on their heels out of the locker room. She averaged 16.5 points over the two games on 12-of-25 shooting.
A couple of juniors are marching up the South Carolina and SEC career standings this season, and another Gamecock is heading toward a classic milestone.
Guard Tyasha Harris currently ranks eighth in program history with her 410 career assists. She needs 14 more to match Sherry David’s (1988-91) 424 in seventh place. Harris is the first to break into the category’s top 10 since Cristina Ciocan moved into the top spot by the end of her career in 2003-04.
With a pair of blocked shots at Purdue (Dec. 16), Mikiah Herbert Harrigan became just the 13th Gamecock all-time to amass 100 career blocked shots. With five against Alabama (Jan. 6), she moved into the program’s all-time top 10 in just her 84th career game. With her current total of 120, she is 10 away from ninth place as Aleighsa Welch (2012-15) currently holds the spot with 130. Herbert Harrigan’s career total ranks her fourth among active SEC players.
Graduate transfer guard Nelly Perry is closing in on 1,000 career points – needing just 29 to reach the mark after accumulating 905 through her three seasons at Clemson.
After five seasons dominated by post play, the 2018-19 Gamecock roster is significantly tilted toward guard play – and who better to lead such a squad than arguably the best point guard in U.S. basketball history.
Guards are the team’s top two scorers this season – Te’a Cooper with 12.9 ppg and Tyasha Harris with 10.0 ppg – for the first time since the 2011-12 season that saw Markeshia Grant (11.1) and La’Keisha Sutton (10.6) pace the offense. Overall, the Gamecock guards account for 45.3 points per game – 60.6 percent of the team’s 74.8 ppg.