Back at Home Thursday for Women's Hoops
COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 1/1 South Carolina returns to Colonial Life Arena for the second time in three games, hosting Kentucky on Thu., Feb. 2, at 7 p.m. with a game show theme planned. The game will air on SEC Network.
A reminder to fans that Colonial Life Arena’s three entrances – main (by the fountain), Lincoln Street and College Street – open one hour prior to tipoff.
The Kentucky Series
South Carolina leads the series 38-35 after winning 16 of the last 18 meetings, including the last three games in Colonial Life Arena.
In this season’s first matchup, the Gamecocks poured it on in the fourth quarter to pick up a 95-66 victory on Jan. 12 in Lexington. South Carolina edged out a 37-33 lead at halftime then proceeded to shoot 70.4 percent in the second half, capped by a 36-15 fourth-quarter showing.
By the Numbers
24.5 – South Carolina is outscoring opponents in the paint by 24.5 points per game on the season
24.8 – The Gamecocks’ 20.4 second-chance points per game account for 24.8 percent of their total offense.
200 – South Carolina has been ranked in the last 200 Associated Press Top 25 Polls, the third-longest active streak and 12th longest all-time.
Over the last five games, South Carolina has assisted on 57.3 percent of its field goals (90/157 –18.0 apg). The Gamecocks are 29th in the nation with an SEC-best 16.6 assists per game.
In the six games this season in which the Gamecocks have trailed, been tied or held a single-digit lead going into the fourth quarter, they have out-scored their opponent by 9.8 points per the final period.
South Carolina leads the nation with 9.7 blocks per game (23.5 percent of opponents’ 2-point attempts), and it is a full team effort. Four Gamecocks are among the SEC’s top 10 in blocks per game on the season with three of those still among the top 10 during league play only. Boston leads the team with 2.05 blocks overall, including an SEC-best 2.56 in league action. The seven guards combine to average 2.4 blocks per game, led by Brea Beal’s 1.3 average.
Reigning National Player of the Year Aliyah Boston has hit her stride in 2023. In eight January games, she averaged 14.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.88 blocks while shooting 62.7 percent with six double-doubles. Her last five games have been even more impressive – 17.2 ppg, 11.4 rpg, 2.8 bpg, 2.6 apg, 73.5 FG%.
Sophomore Bree Hall embodies the South Carolina team-first culture, locking in on practice and preparation for every game to be ready to deliver when called upon, from a game-changing 12 points at #2/2 Stanford early in the season to her 18 points, including four 3s, at Alabama on Sunday when the rest of the team was shooting just 4-of-15 from outside.
Redshirt-freshman Raven Johnson has thrived in the last five games, averaging 6.8 points and 3.6 assists while shooting 63.6 percent from the field, including 50.0 percent (4-of-8) from 3-point range. She entered the stretch averaging just 2.5 points and shooting just 27.1 percent from the field.
Home Sweet Home
The Gamecocks are 507-165 (.754) in home games (some records prior to 1976-77 did not include location of games). Current head coach Dawn Staley is 195-34 at home with that .852 winning percentage ranking second in program history (Pam Parsons (41-7) .854).
Playing in its 20th season at Colonial Life Arena, South Carolina boasts a 258-67 (.794) record in the building, including four undefeated seasons since 2013-14. Staley’s share of that record is 192-34 (.850).
In SEC action, South Carolina is 137-89 (.606) at home with Staley posting a 93-22 (.809) mark.
South Carolina’s depth has been a hot topic this season, and it has not disappointed.
Averaging 96.9 minutes per game, the Gamecock bench has been especially productive offensively, averaging 39.8 points to account for 48.5 percent of the Gamecocks’ total offense while shooting 48.4 percent. By comparison, last season’s bench netted just 21.1 points per game for 29.8 percent of the offense.
Only two opponents’ benches have out-scored South Carolina’s this season – South Dakota State (Dec. 15, 19-15), at Georgia (Jan. 2, 21-19). The Gamecock bench has tied or out-scored an opponent’s starters 12 times and has out-scored its own starters seven times.
Four Gamecocks have come off the bench to score in double figures in at least five games so far this season – Kamilla Cardoso (9), Ashlyn Watkins (6), Laeticia Amihere (5), Sania Feagin (5).
The bench’s offensive production has come in key games with this season’s group averaging 33.3 points against ranked opponents (41.3 percent), including some timely buckets in tight games, and 35.8 points in SEC play.
On the boards, the bench has grabbed 52.4 percent of the total rebounds so far this season (24.4 per game). Kamilla Cardoso leads that group with her 8.4 boards per game, which rank her fourth in the SEC.