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Gamecocks Open NCAA Tournament Play Sunday
Women's Basketball  . 

Gamecocks Open NCAA Tournament Play Sunday

#6/5 SOUTH CAROLINA (22-4) VS. MERCER (19-6)

NCAA Tournament Digital Program | South Carolina Game Notes | TV: ESPN | Radio: 107.5 The Game | Live Stats | Media Availability

Appearances: 17 (1982, 1986, 1988, 1989,1990, 1991, 2002, 2003, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021)
Overall Record (Staley Era): 30-15 (22-7)
Sweet 16 Appearances: 10 (1982, 1990, 2002, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)
Elite Eight Appearances: 4 (2002, 2015, 2017, 2018)
Final Four Appearances: 2 (2015, 2017)
National Championships: 1 (2017)
Italics indicates during the Dawn Staley era


  • The Gamecocks are 6-2 all-time against Mercer. This will be the two teams’ first meeting in the NCAA Tournament.
  • South Carolina is 13-3 all-time in its first game of the NCAA Tournament, including an 8-0 mark in the Dawn Staley era. The Gamecocks have won Staley’s eight first-round games by an average of 27.6 points.
  • A win tonight would be the 500th of Dawn Staley’s college coaching career. So far, 327 of those wins have come in her 13 seasons at South Carolina as the program’s all-time winningest coach.


  • South Carolina enters the NCAA Tournament as a No. 1 seed for the fifth time in the last eight tournaments. The Gamecocks earned that seed playing the toughest schedule in the country, facing an NCAA-best 13 ranked opponents, while not suffering any “bad losses” as their four defeats came to the Nos. 1, 3, 4 and 13 teams in this week’s AP Poll.
  • With so many known stars on the South Carolina roster, it’s easy to forget that this season’s team is young, especially in the postseason. Just four returning Gamecocks have played in an NCAA Tournament, and those four have played a combined 153 minutes in the event. Take senior LeLe Grissett, who is out for this year’s event due to injury, out of that group, and the combined minutes fall to 83.
  • First-Team All-American Aliyah Boston continues to be in the discussion for national player of the year because of the myriad of ways she can impact a game. In the Gamecocks’ offense she has been both primary scorer and key distributor as her vision, calm and basketball IQ make her a keen passer. Defensively, she is among the country’s best shot blockers (12th, 2.8 bpg) but she is also able to defend on the perimeter against post players or against guards on a switch, while still recovering to protect the paint. The combination has made her a finalist for the Naismith Trophy and a semifinalist for Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, so far.
  • While Boston often steals the headlines, the Gamecocks’ starting backcourt is among the most dynamic in the country. Sophomore Zia Cooke can pour in points, ranking 13th in the SEC with 15.9 ppg, which includes 22 double-figure games and five 20-point outings, and can be a hawkish on-ball defender. Junior Destanni Henderson powers the Gamecock offense, both with her SEC-best 5.2 assists per game and her 12.6 points per game, and is lightning fast with the ball. Henderson scores or assists on 45.0 percent of the Gamecocks 16.0 fast-break points per game. Both were named to the SEC All-Tournament Team.