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Gamecocks Set for Championship Day Sunday
Women's Basketball  . 

Gamecocks Set for Championship Day Sunday

#1/1 SOUTH CAROLINA (29-1, 15-1) VS KENTUCKY (18-11, 8-8)


  • The Gamecocks and Wildcats have squared off four times in the SEC Tournament, but this is the first in a title game. Kentucky won the first two meetings (1994, 2014), and the Gamecocks claimed the last two (2016, 2017), both in the semifinals.
  • Four of South Carolina’s six SEC Tournament titles have come as a No. 1 seed, which it has earned five times.
  • South Carolina continues to lead the SEC in offensive rebounding percentage, and the Gamecocks 16.5 offensive rebounds per game rank sixth in the SEC. Matching that average in the SEC Tournament, South Carolina has increased its second-chance points to 19.0 per tournament game, including a season-best rate of 19 points off 13 offensive boards in the semis.
  • The Gamecocks average 38.3 points in the paint this season, including 39.0 per SEC Tournament game, accounting for 56.9 percent of their total offense.
  • South Carolina’s four primary post players have all been dominant in this SEC Tournament. The quartet has contributed 40.5 of the team’s 68.5 points per tournament game, accounting for 59.1 percent of the offense, and they average 8.0 assists per game, too.
  • Ranked fourth in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 51.3 points per game on the season, the Gamecocks have not allowed an opponent to reach 60 points since then-#13/16 LSU hit that exact mark on Jan. 6 (15 game).
  • National Player of the Year candidate Aliyah Boston has stretched beyond her steady stream of double-doubles over the last three games, adding guard-like averages of 3.3 assists and 3.3 steals to her 15.7 points,13.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game.
  • South Carolina’s bench has gone from averaging 21.4 points in the first three months of the season to posting 23.0 in February to 27.5 in the SEC Tournament.


2 – Two of the Gamecocks’ top five scorers in the SEC Tournament come off the bench.

6 – South Carolina has won six SEC Tournament titles in the last seven seasons.

8 – Eight Gamecocks average at least 5.5 points in the 2022 SEC Tournament.


The Kentucky Series
After winning 15 of the last 16 meetings, South Carolina leads the all-time series against Kentucky 37-34. In the Dawn Staley era, the Gamecocks are 21-10 against the Wildcats.

South Carolina won this season’s initial meeting on Jan. 9 at Colonial Life Arena 74-54, turning in commanding defensive performances in the second and third quarters. (Full box score on page 17)

In Lexington on Feb. 10, the Gamecock defense held the Wildcats to single digits in each of the first three quarters and held an 18-point lead early in the fourth and led by as much as 15 with five minutes to play. The Gamecock reserves struggled to hold off  suddenly hot-shooting Rhyne Howard down the stretch, and the Wildcats pulled within eight with 90 seconds to play, forcing South Carolina’s starters back onto the court to close out the 59-50 victory.

SEC Tournament Take
South Carolina is 28-24 all-time in the SEC Tournament since joining the league for the 1991-92 season. In her 14th trip to the event, head coach Dawn Staley is 25-7 with six championships, all coming in the last seven years.

The Gamecocks have reached the tournament semifinals nine times in the last 10 seasons and have won the tournament in each of their six trips to the championship game. With titles in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, South Carolina is the only program in league history to win four consecutive SEC Tournament title, and the Gamecocks added two more titles in 2020 and 2021.

The Gamecocks’ overall leading scorers are also the current team’s top performers in their SEC Tournament careers. Aliyah Boston leads the way at 14.5 points per game with Destanni Henderson (11.6) and Zia Cooke (10.5) just behind. Henderson has twice been named to the All-Tournament Team, and Boston was the 2021 Tournament MVP.

Bench Boom
With one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country and a veteran starting lineup accustomed to playing together, head coach Dawn Staley saw her reserves languishing more than she had anticipated given the volume of elite high school talent sitting there. As the SEC season wore on, she adjusted her approach to the less experienced group, and February began bearing the fruits of that change.

In seven games in February, the Gamecock reserves averaged 3.5 more points and 7.1 more minutes per game than it had in January. The group’s 23.0 points per game represented 31.2 percent of the team’s total scoring in February, compared to just 27.8 percent of the January offense. The February increases are even more impressive when considering that the two most experienced reserves – junior Laeticia Amihere and sophomore Kamilla Cardoso – missed two and four games, respectively, in that month.

In March, the reserves have further stepped up, largely on the back of Amihere, who is the Gamecocks’ second-leading scorer in the tournament at 12.0 points per game. As a group, the reserves have scored 27.5 of the Gamecocks’ 68.5 points per game in the tournament (40.1 percent). In addition to Amihere’s production, Cardoso has added 6.5 points per game, and Bree Hall has netted 5.5 per game.