Palmetto Series Matchup for Women's Basketball Thursday
COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 1/1 South Carolina women’s basketball looks to put the Gamecocks ahead in the SC Education Lottery Palmetto Series Thursday night when it travels to Clemson for a 6 p.m. tipoff on ACC Network. Men’s basketball and women’s cross country leveled the series 2-2 last Friday.
South Carolina will look to take its first lead in the all-time series against Clemson tonight. The Gamecocks’ current 11-game win streak against the Tigers finally knotted the series at 33-33 last season.
South Carolina’s post players have owned the paint this season, accounting for 38.0 of the team’s 49.0 paint points per game. Defensively, they have allowed opponents to score just 15.0 points in the paint per game so far this season.
The Gamecocks once again dominate the glass, ranking third in the nation in rebounds per game at 55.5 and in rebounding margin at +26.0. The offensive glass has been key with South Carolina outscoring opponents 21.0-7.0 in second-chance points.
Reigning National Player of the Year Aliyah Boston always attracts a crowd, and this year has been especially smothering. The senior forward has dominated nonetheless, averaging 13.5 points and 12.0 rebounds while playing just 25.0 minutes per game. She is shooting 76.9 percent from the field and has a team-high seven offensive rebounds.
Junior center Kamilla Cardoso showed off her dominance at #17/18 Maryland (Nov. 11), posting 13 points and five rebounds (four offensive) in just 13 minutes against the Terrapins. She is shooting 84.6 percent on the season.
Senior guard Zia Cooke has been dialing in her shooting early this season, leading the team with 17.5 points per game, including 42.9 percent 3-point shooting.
Senior Brea Beal has been a stat stuffer so far this season, leading the Gamecocks with 3.5 assists per game while adding 7.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game to her usual smothering defensive effort, which this season includes a team-high 2.5 blocks per game and 1.5 steals per outing.
The Clemson Series
South Carolina has won the last 11 meetings to tie the overall series 33-33. The Gamecocks’ 11 straight victories have all come by double digits.
The Gamecocks have won just 10 of the 30 games played in Littlejohn Coliseum but half of those came in their five most recent trips there.
The rivalry’s most recent meeting was on Nov. 17, 2021, with the #1 Gamecocks posting a 76-45 victory. South Carolina’s defense locked down in the second and third quarters to deliver the win.
In the last game played in Littlejohn on Nov. 24, 2019, #5 South Carolina picked up an 84-48 victory. Six Gamecocks scored in double figures as South Carolina opened with a 20-9 advantage after the first quarter and never looked back.
Dial Up the Defense
Head coach Dawn Staley has always put a premium on defense, but the Gamecocks have taken it to another level over the last four seasons (2019-20 to present), during which opponents have scored just 54.5 points per game.
Last season’s program-record low 50.7 points per game ranked third in the nation and helped the Gamecocks lead the nation in scoring margin (+20.2). South Carolina was second in the nation in field goal percentage defense (.332) and first in blocked shots per game (7.4).
No team reached its scoring average against the Gamecocks last season, including some of the SEC and the nation’s most prolific offenses, and only three came within single digits of it – Missouri (Dec. 30), Mississippi State (Jan. 2), vs. Kentucky (Mar. 6).
This season, South Carolina is ninth in the nation in scoring defense (43.5) and eighth in scoring margin (+47.5). Opponents have shot just 24.4 percent (fourth in the nation), and the Gamecocks lead the nation with 10.0 blocks per game.