Women's Hoops Opens New Year at Georgia Monday
COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 1/1 South Carolina faces its first SEC road test Monday night at Georgia. Tipoff against is set for 7 p.m. ET on SEC Network.
The Georgia Series
The Lady Bulldogs still hold the overall series lead at 22-33, but the Gamecocks have won the last 15 meetings, including their last five trips to Stegeman Coliseum.
In the most recent meeting, South Carolina won the top-20 matchup on Feb. 13, 2022. The #1 Gamecocks topped #17 Georgia 72-54 behind an 18-point, 12-rebound double-double from eventual National Player of the Year Aliyah Boston. South Carolina stormed out to a 51-25 lead at halftime, which was enough lead to overcome a cold-shooting second half.
By the Numbers
6 – Six Gamecocks rank among the league’s top 15 shot blockers, including four who come off the bench.
48.9 – The Gamecocks’ bench is shooting 48.9 percent from the field this season.
49.6 – South Carolina secures 49.6 percent of its own missed shots, ranking second in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage.
- While South Carolina’s 2022-23 schedule has not been the gauntlet head coach Dawn Staley created for her 2021-22 team, the Gamecocks’ three games against ranked opponents are as many or more than 18 other top-25 teams. Their three victories in those games are tied for second-most among ranked teams.
- Seven different Gamecocks have led or tied for the team lead in scoring at least once this season, and 12 have scored in double figures at least once.
- South Carolina’s defense continues dominate – leading the NCAA in scoring defense (43.1 ppg), field goal percentage defense (.260) and 3-point percentage defense (.203) and blocks per game (10.2).
- The much maligned Gamecock offense should be getting its due as well this season, ranking 14th in the nation in scoring (82.6 ppg) and 16th in field goal percentage (.474).
- Staley has managed the development off her bench masterfully in the first part of the season, keeping the load off her starters – Cooke leads with 23.2 minutes per game – and giving her younger bench 101.5 minutes per game. The result is balanced scoring with the starters averaging 39.9 points to the bench’s 42.7.
- Reigning National Player of the Year Aliyah Boston clearly dominates opponents’ scouting reports with schemes built to slow her down. Still she rises, averaging 11.9 points in just 23.1 minutes per game (translating to 20.6 points per 40 minutes).
- Zia Cooke’s buildup to SEC action has been outstanding, averaging 16.4 points on 48.4 percent shooting and 2.4 assists over the last five games. She shot 52.6 percent over her last two outings.
- Brea Beal’s trademark defense has amped up this season. Peer to Synergy, she has allowed just 3.0 ppg this season, including six games of shutting out her defensive assignment.
The Gamecocks are 290-260 all-time in road games, including a 115-46 mark under head coach Dawn Staley. Her .714 winning percentage on the road is the best in program history.
In SEC road games, Gamecocks are 78-33 (.703) during Staley’s tenure.
South Carolina annually ranks among the best shot blocking teams in the country and leads the way again this season at 10.2 blocks per game (the second-place team is Florida State at 7.0).
The Gamecocks have blocked 25.3 percent of their opponent’s 2-point attempts, which also leads the country. They have posted double-digit blocks five times this season, led by 16 against Coastal Carolina (Dec. 21).
Six Gamecocks are among the SEC’s top-15 shot blockers with their leader – Kamilla Cardoso (1.92) – coming in third in the league and 26th in the nation. The second Gamecock is just as unexpected as guard Brea Beal’s 1.62 blocks per game are fourth in the SEC.
Aliyah Boston (1.54, 7th) rounds out the trio in the SEC top 10. Laeticia Amihere (1.42, 12th), Sania Feagin (1.27, 13th) and Ashlyn Watkins (1.23, 14th) come off the bench to be among the SEC’s best.