Another Monday Night Match Up for Women's Hoops
Gamecocks host Vanderbilt at 7 p.m.
COLUMBIA, S.C. – #19/20 South Carolina is back in action for the first time since last Monday, hosting Vanderbilt on Mon., Jan. 28, at 7 p.m. at Colonial Life Arena, It is the last home game for the Gamecocks (13-5, 5-1 SEC) until Thu., Feb. 7, as they head to Kentucky and Arkansas following Monday’s SEC matchup.
SOUTH CAROLINA NOTABLES
• Since inserting senior Bianca Cuevas-Moore into the starting lineup against Florida (Jan. 10), Staley has seen her team’s offense hit its stride. In its first two SEC games, South Carolina scored just 61.0 points per game on 37.2 percent field goal shooting. In the last four with the newest starting lineup, those numbers went up to 75.0 points per game on 46.5 percent shooting.
• The Gamecock defense has also been dialed in during SEC action, allowing just 60.5 points per game after yielding 65.0 in non-conference play.
• Junior Tyasha Harris has built a reputation as an elite distributor, averaging 4.6 assists over her career and handing out five or more assists in more than half of her games started (41 in 80 games), but she has emerged this season as an all-around threat. She is second on the team this season in scoring (10.3 ppg), including a team-high 11 games in double figures. Her 23 made 3-pointers is a team high, as is her 87.8 percent free throw shooting and her 1.9 steals per game.
• There may be no more confident Gamecock in the lineup right now than Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, who has ramped up her production in SEC action and scored in double figures the last six games. Her conference-game numbers are among the league’s top 20 with 13.0 points per game (19th), a team-high 6.3 rebounds per game (15th), 52.3 percent field goal shooting (5th) and 2.5 blocks per game (2nd).
• While other teammates may bask in the spotlight of 3-pointers and dramatic blocked shots, senior forward Alexis Jennings has quietly been holding down the paint for the Gamecocks, especially of late. She has scored in double figures in three of the last four games (10.3 ppg) to go with 6.0 rebounds per game.
BY THE NUMBERS
2.9 Assist-to-turnover ratio by Tyasha Harris, which ranks 13th in the nation
4 Gamecocks averaging 10.0 or more points over the last five games
10 Games against RPI top-50 teams already this season
10.3 Points per game from Bianca Cuevas-Moore since she joined the starting lineup
24.9 Percent of Carolina’s points that have come from the 3-point line this season
VANDERBILT SERIES NOTES
The Commodores lead the series 21-15, but the Gamecocks have won the last nine meetings for a 10-2 advantage in the Dawn Staley era.
Last season’s win at Vanderbilt (95-82, Jan. 18) came without the services of A’ja Wilson or Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, but the Gamecock frontcourt still dominated with Alexis Jennings (27 points/13 rebounds) and LeLe Grissett (22 points). Three others finished with double-figure points as the Gamecocks shot 66.7 percent from the field in the game.
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 12.6 ppg and Tyasha Harris with 10.3 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 45.2 points per game – 60.3 percent of the team’s 75.0 ppg.
Harris and Cooper are just as happy to pass the ball as score it themselves as the duo are atop the assist standings as well with Harris handing out 4.3 per game (7th in the SEC) and Cooper dishing 2.9 per game.
THREE FOR ALL
With the depth of guards on this season’s roster, outside shooting has become a more prominent feature in the Gamecock offense. Overall this season, 3-pointers have accounted for 24.9 percent of the Gamecocks’ offense. In SEC play, that number dips slightly to 24.2 percent. The last time a Gamecock team had at least 20.0 percent of its offense come from the 3-point line was 2015-16 (22.1 percent), and the last time the mark was as high as 24.9 percent as 2010-11 (24.9).
After entering the season with just nine games in the Staley era of making 10 or more threes, the Gamecocks have hit the mark five times this season. The Staley-era record for made 3s in a game is 16 against Minnesota on Dec. 11, 2016. Nine different Gamecocks have hit at least one 3-pointer this season and 11 have attempted at least one.
The Gamecocks’ 68.8 percent 3-point accuracy against ETSU (11-of-16) was the best percentage in the Staley era. So far this season, South Carolina is hitting 33.0 percent from outside the arc. The Staley-era season record for 3-point percentage is .349 (130-of-372) set by the 2014-15 team.
Individually, Tyasha Harris leads the 3-point barrage, hitting 23 3s on 66 attempts. Her 34.8 percent accuracy is fourth on the team, though, trailing Mikiah Herbert Harrigan (5-of-13, .385), Destanni Henderson (14-of-41, .366) and Bianca Cuevas-Moore (17-of-47, .366).