Gamecocks Head to Vandy Thursday Night
COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 1/1 South Carolina women’s basketball is back on the road Thursday night, traveling to Nashville to take on Vanderbilt. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. ET with the game airing on SEC Network.
The Vanderbilt Series
South Carolina is looking to even the overall series against Vanderbilt for the first time since it was tied at 1-1 in 1991-92. The Gamecocks are 20-21 all-time against the Commodores but have won the last 14 meetings, including the last six in Memorial Gymnasium.
By the Numbers
1 – Aliyah Boston needs one double-double to tie Sheila Foster (1979-82) with a program-record 72 career double-doubles.
16.5 – South Carolina’s SEC-best 16.5 assists per league game mean its has assisted on 59.3 percent of its 167 made field goals in SEC action.
30 – South Carolina’s 30-straight weeks as AP No. 1 is tied for the fourth-longest streak in the history of that poll.
Among the nation’s best defensive (45.6 ppg, 1st) and rebounding teams (+20.6 reb. margin, 2nd), the Gamecocks can win both high and low scoring games. South Carolina has won three games scoring under 70 points, five in the 70s, six in the 80s and four scoring at least 90.
Since the 2019-20 season, the Gamecocks have never ranked lower than fourth in the country in offensive rebounding percentage. They are currently second in the nation rebounding 48.4 percent of their own missed shots, which translates to 19.1 second-chance points per game (18.3 in SEC play).
South Carolina’s bench has played more than half the team’s 1,200 minutes in SEC games, scoring 34.7 points per league game, accounting for 44.1 percent of the team’s SEC-best 78.67 points per league game.
Reigning National Player of the Year Aliyah Boston has dominated over the last three games. Posting double-doubles in each of them, she averaged 17.7, 12.0 rebounds, 2.7 blocks and 2.0 assists, while shooting 20-of-33 (.606) in the stretch.
Zia Cooke’s consistency has been off the charts this season, scoring in double figures 16 times in 18 game while shooting a career-high 41.3 percent from the field. In SEC action, her 17.8 points per game ranks sixth in the league, and, along with 3.5 points per game scored off her assists, she has her hands on 27.1 percent of the Gamecocks’ offense in league games.
Over the last three games, redshirt-freshman Raven Johnson has played 20.0 minutes per game as she grows more comfortable in her role. She shot 9-of-14 (.643) in that time, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range, for 7.3 points per game. Her other numbers did not fall off as her own offense grew, averaging 4.3 assists, 2.3 steals and 3.3 rebounds in that time.
Senior Laeticia Amihere has the size, strength, agility and basketball IQ to play every position on the floor. With a treasure trove of international experience – including playing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics – the 6-foot-4 Canadian is a dynamic player with unwaivering confidence.
Averaging a career-best 7.1 points per game this season, Amihere’s 51.2 percent shooting is also a career high. She is ninth in the SEC in blocks per game (1.41) while also handing out 1.5 assists per game. Amihere has five double-figure scoring games this season off the bench, including 10 at #17/18 Maryland (Nov. 11) and 11 at Kentucky (Jan. 12) with nine of those coming in the decisive fourth quarter.
On the Gamecocks’ 14-woman roster, nine were McDonald’s All-Americans in high school – Brea Beal, Aliyah Boston, Kamilla Cardoso, Zia Cooke, Talaysia ooper, Sania Feagin, Bree Hall, Raven Johnson and Ashlyn Watkins.
At South Carolina, Staley has coached 20 McDonald’s All-Americans, including 16 who joined the Gamecocks as freshmen. All three members of Staley’s 2023 signing class have been nominated for the award.