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Gamecocks Open NCAA Tournament Friday
Women's Basketball  . 

Gamecocks Open NCAA Tournament Friday

#1/1 SOUTH CAROLINA (29-2, 15-1 SEC) VS HOWARD  (21-9, 11-3 MEAC)


  • South Carolina stayed atop the AP Poll from the preseason to this week’s final poll, becoming the first team to do so since UConn in 2017-18. It marked the Gamecocks’ second No. 1 entry in the final AP Poll in the last three seasons.
  • South Carolina’s top three scorers picked up All-America honors this week. Aliyah Boston was a first-team selection of both the AP and USBWA. Destanni Henderson was a third-team choice by USBWA, and she and Zia Cooke earned honorable mention status from the AP.
  • The Gamecock defense has been consistently stingy all season with just one game yielding 70 points. Carolina leads the nation in field goal percentage defense (.330) and blocks per game (7.8) and is fourth in scoring defense (51.7). The effort is consistent across the court with opponents shooting just 39.0 percent within six feet of the basket, 29.3 percent in the midrange and 27.0 percent from 3-point range.
  • South Carolina’s glass work is among the nation’s best, leading the nation in offensive rebounding percentage (.454) and ranking third in defensive rebounds per game (31.0).
  • The Athletic National Player of the Year Aliyah Boston’s 24-game double-doubles streak is just one aspect of her dominance this season. She leads the nation in win shares (14.0) and player efficiency rating (45.0). during her double-double streak, her averages jump to 17.5 points and 13.4 rebounds.
  • Forward Laeticia Amihere used the 2021 NCAA Tournament to show what she had in store for this season. In five tournament games last season, she averaged 10.0 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks while shooting 51.2 percent from the field. This season, she is posting career offensive numbers with 7.1 points per game on 44.9 percent shooting.


9 – South Carolina is 9-0 in NCAA Tournament first-round games under head coach Dawn Staley.

18 – South Carolina’s 18 wins over NET top-50 teams (10 vs. NET top-25) lead the nation.


The Howard Series
The Gamecocks and Bison have never met in women’s basketball.

Home Sweet Home
The Gamecocks are 494-165 (.749) all-time in home games, including a 182-34 mark under head coach Dawn Staley. That .843 winning percentage is second among the program’s all-time head coaches (Pam Parsons (41-7) .854).

Playing in its 19th season at Colonial Life Arena, South Carolina boasts a 245-67 (.785) record in the building, including three undefeated seasons since 2013-14. Staley’s share of that record is 179-34 (.840).

This marks the 11th season that the Gamecocks have hosted NCAA Tournament games in Columbia, most recently in the 2018 event. (South Carolina earned the right to host games in 2019 but had to play in Charlotte, N.C., due to Colonial Life Arena hosting the men’s tournament that season.)

The Gamecocks are 13-2 in home NCAA Tournament games, including an 8-0 mark in Colonial Life Arena.

NCAA Tournament Take
South Carolina is in its 18th NCAA Tournament and its 10th straight under head coach Dawn Staley. The Gamecocks are 34-16 overall in the event with 11 Sweet 16 appearances, five Elite Eight seasons, three Final Four showings and the 2017 National Championship.

In her 22nd season as a head coach, Staley has taken a team to the NCAA Tournament 16 times. She is 28-14 at the event, including a 26-8 mark at South Carolina.

Junior Zia Cooke’s 16.2 career scoring average in NCAA Tournament games leads the Gamecocks. Aliyah Boston is just behind with 13.8 points and 10.8 rebounds per game in the event in her career.

Gamecocks Against the Field
South Carolina faced 15 of the 68 teams in the NCAA Tournament field, just one of which is in the Greensboro Region with them. The Gamecocks went 19-1 against those 15 teams, including an 11-1 mark against the seven other SEC teams in the field.

In addition to their seven league rivals in the field – Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Ole Miss and Tennessee  – South Carolina played non-conference games against Buffalo, Connecticut, Kansas State, Maryland, NC State, Oregon, South Dakota and Stanford.

Ranked Readings
Against ranked opponents, South Carolina is 96-66 (.593) in the Dawn Staley era (beginning 2008-09), and even that mark is skewed by the early seasons of her tenure.

Since the start of the 2014-15 campaign, the Gamecocks are 81-27 (.750) against ranked teams, including a 33-6 mark since the start of the 2019-20 season.

This season, South Carolina’s 11 wins over ranked opponents are more than any other team in the country and have come by an average of 13.5 points.

Junior Aliyah Boston leads the team against ranked opponents, averaging a double-double (17.5 pts/12.6 rebs) to go with 3.2 blocks per game. Zia Cooke has 13.4 points per game, and Destanni Henderson is also in double figures at 12.4.

Ranking Review
The Gamecocks are atop both the AP and the USA Today/WBCA Coaches’ Polls for the 19th-straight week after opening the season in that position for the second time in as many seasons.

In the AP Poll, the Gamecocks’ 44 total weeks at No. 1 make them just the sixth program all-time to sit atop that poll at least 40 times. South Carolina has appeared in each of the last 187 AP Polls, giving it the fourth-longest active streak in the nation, which dates back to Dec. 10, 2021. It has spent the last 56 of those weeks ranked in the top 10.

In the USA Today/WBCA Coaches’ Poll, South Carolina has been in the top 10 since claiming the No. 10 spot in the 2019-20 preseason poll. It has been No. 1 in this poll 28 times in the last eight seasons.