Women's Hoops Closes Road Trip Tuesday
COLUMBIA, S.C. –No. 1/1 South Carolina women’s basketball closes out a four-game road trip Tuesday night at Cal Poly with a 8 p.m. ET tipoff that will stream on ESPN+. The Gamecocks will play their next four at home, beginning on Sunday afternoon.
- South Carolina’s depth was on full display at #2/2 Stanford with the bench accounting for 44.7 percent of the total offense – the highest number against a ranked opponent since the bench posted 54.4 percent of the team’s 68 points in an NCAA Sweet 16 loss to Baylor on Mar. 30, 2019. The bench’s 34 points at Stanford included all 20 points of the second quarter, during which the group’s defensive effort also helped close the gap to just a four-point deficit at the half. Six of the seven players who came off the bench scored at least one field goal in the quarter.
- The bench production Sunday was not just about quantity but quality as the group made a series of big plays in overtime, Sophomore guard Bree Hall hit a pair of clutch 3s – to stop the Cardinal’s opening 4-0 run and to give Gamecocks a four-point lead with 41 seconds to play. Senior Laeticia Amihere came up with a huge offensive rebound on a missed free throw with 27 seconds left.
- Reigning National Player of the Year Aliyah Boston continues to show why she is the best player in the country – this season despite defenses schemed to stymie her at every turn. The senior forward posted her 16th-straight double-double against a ranked opponent on Sunday (14 pts/13 rebs) with nearly all off that coming when it mattered most. Boston poured in eight points and nine rebounds in the final 15 minutes of the game, including the game-tying shot with two seconds left in regulation.
- Senior guard Zia Cooke has had her offense dialed in this season, leading the team with 15.8 points per game to rank ninth in the SEC. On Sunday, it was as much her defense and distribution skills that made the difference, holding Hannah Jump to just two points in the final 15 minutes of the game. Cooke handed out all four of her assists in that time as well.
By the Numbers
7 – The Gamecock defense has held an opponent to single-digit scoring in a quarter seven times this season, including the 4th quarter at Stanford.
43.3 – In two games against ranked opponents this season, the bench has contributed 43.3 percent of the Gamecocks’ scoring (34.0 ppg).
47.3 – South Carolina is 14th in the nation in scoring defense, yielding just 47.3 points per game so far this season.
The Cal Poly Series
Tuesday marks the first ever meeting between the two programs.
The Gamecocks opened this season atop both the AP and the USA Today/WBCA Coaches’ Polls for the third time in as many seasons and remained there in the Week 2 AP Poll (coaches poll not yet released this week).
In the AP Poll, the Gamecocks’ 47 total weeks at No. 1 are the fourth most of any program in that poll’s history. South Carolina has appeared in each of the last 190 AP Polls, giving it the fourth-longest active streak in the nation, which dates back to Dec. 10, 2012.
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 that poll 31 times in the last nine seasons.
South Carolina annually ranks among the best shot blocking teams in the country and leads the way again this season at 9.7 blocks per game after finishing the 2021-22 season with an NCAA-best 7.4, including 7.3 in SEC play.
Early this season an unexpected shot blocker leads the way with guard Brea Beal ranking fourth in the SEC with 2.0 blocks per game. Senior Laeticia Amihere and freshman Ashlyn Watkins are next in line at 1.3 per contest – 10th in the SEC.