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Holiday Hoops Tips at Noon Wednesday
Women's Basketball  . 

Holiday Hoops Tips at Noon Wednesday

COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 1/1 South Carolina closes out its pre-holiday schedule with a noon tipoff on Wednesday against Coastal Carolina. Fans are encouraged to wear their favorite holiday-themed ugly sweater/shirt to help celebrate the season


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Gamecock Notables

  • South Carolina leads the nation in blocks per game (9.7) with the second-place team coming in at 7.1 (Florida State). The effort is a big reason the Gamecocks are holding opponents to just 32.3 percent shooting in the paint

  • While the Gamecock defense is often lauded, South Carolina’s much maligned offense deserves its flowers, too, this season. The Gamecocks are 24th in the nation in field goal percentage (46.6) and 17th in points per game (81.5). They have shot at least 50.0 percent from the field five times this season, a mark last season’s squad hit just seven times in 37 games.

  • South Carolina is 27th in the nation with just 13.2 turnovers per game. The Gamecocks have committed fewer than 10 turnovers in a game four times this season, including three of their last five outings. 

  • The Gamecock offense has shined in the second half this season, averaging 42.6 points on 49.7 percent shooting, compared to 37.4 points on 43.2 percent shooting in the first half.

  • Reigning National Player of the Year Aliyah Boston’s career of dominance has her ranked second in program history in career rebounds (1,234, most among active NCAA players, all divisions) and 22 points away from the program’s top 10 in scoring.

  • Guard Talaysia Cooper showed off how she’s been developing early in her freshman season against Charleston Southern. The South Carolina native put a complete game together with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting, three assists and three steals.

  • The newest Gamecock, Chloe Kitts put her three practices to good work in her college debut, posting 10 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals against Charleston Southern on Sunday.

By the Numbers

1 – Only one team has scored 65 or more points against the Gamecocks this season, and it required overtime to get there (#2 Stanford, Nov. 20).

11 – Of the 14 Gamecocks on the roster, 11 have scored in double figures in a game at least once this season.

18.0 – Zia Cooke has scored 18.0 points per game over the last three outings, shooting 46.5 percent over that stretch.


The Coastal Carolina Series
South Carolina leads the series 7-0, but the two teams have not met since Dec. 29, 2004, when the Gamecocks claimed a 70-50 victory in Columbia.

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 53.7 points per game with 45 of those 112 games (40.2 percent) coming against ranked opponents.

This season, South Carolina leads the nation in scoring defense (44.3) and field goal percentage defense (.269) and is second in 3-point percentage defense (.216). Out-scoring opponents by 37.2 points per game, the Gamecocks are second in the nation in scoring margin, and they lead the nation with 9.7 blocks per game.

No team has reached its scoring average against the Gamecocks this season with the closest being #15/17 UCLA (Nov. 29), which missed its average by 12.1 points. On average, opposing teams have been held 26.6 points below their average. 

The Gamecocks held their three ranked opponents 21.4 points below their average, including #2/2 Stanford, which scored 20 fewer than its average despite the game going into overtime. The Cardinal are the only team to reach 65 points against South Carolina, needing overtime to eclipse the mark.


Bench Mob
South Carolina’s depth has been a hot topic this season, and it has not disappointed.

The Gamecock bench has been especially productive offensively, averaging 40.2 points to account for 49.7 percent of the Gamecocks’ total offense. By comparison, last season’s bench netted just 21.1 points per game for 29.8 percent of the offense. 

South Carolina’s bench has out-scored its starters four times this season – at Clemson (Nov. 17), vs. Hampton (Nov. 27), vs. Memphis (Dec. 3) and vs. Liberty (Dec. 11). Five Gamecocks have come off the bench to score in double figures in at least two games so far this season – Kamilla Cardoso (5), Ashlyn Watkins (4), Laeticia Amihere (3), Sania Feagin (3) and Bree Hall (2).

The bench offensive production has come in key games with this season’s group averaging 31.7 points per game against ranked opponents (41.3 percent), including some timely buckets in tight games.

On the boards, the bench has grabbed 53.7 percent of the total rebounds so far this season (24.8 per game). Kamilla Cardoso leads that group with her 8.6 boards per game, which is fourth in the SEC.


Cooke-ing Time
South Carolina’s four-year starting shooting guard Zia Cooke has been mentioned among the best players in the country throughout her career, but the senior has been working toward a year that sees her physical talents meet the mental side of the game, and it appears 2022-23 is that season.

Cooke is the Gamecocks’ top scorer with 14.1 points per game (16th in SEC) and has led the team in scoring six times – the first three games of the season and the last three outings. She has shot at least 45.0 percent from the field five times.

Even with her increased scoring, Cooke has been distributing the ball well, too, ranking third on the team in assists (2.2 per game). With her own 14.1 points per game and teammates scoring 4.8 points per game off her assists, she has had her hands on 23.2 percent of the Gamecocks’ offense this season.