Women's Hoops Hosts Georgia for Sunday Senior Day
COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 1/1 South Carolina wraps up regular-season action on Sun., Feb. 26, hosting Georgia for Senior Day. It will be the Gamecocks’ second sell-out crowd this month for a noon tipoff on ESPN2.
All three entrances of Colonial Life Arena will open at 10:30 a.m.
The Senior Day ceremony will start at 11:35 a.m.
Fans are encouraged to bring non-perishable items to donate to the Gamecock Pantry outside the arena.
The Georgia Series
The Lady Bulldogs still hold the overall series lead at 33-23, but the Gamecocks have won the last 16 meetings, including their last five in Colonial Life Arena.
The Gamecocks and Lady Bulldogs met earlier this season with South Carolina claiming a 68-51 decision in Athens behind 31 points from Zia Cooke. The Gamecocks had to come back from a three-point halftime deficit, but outscored Georgia 42-22 in the second half, including shooting 83.3 percent in the fourth quarter.
By the Numbers
3 – The Gamecocks’ 2019 signing class has lost just three SEC games in their four-year careers.
3.8 – Brea Beal has handed out a team-high 3.8 assists per game over the last five outings, adding 9.6 points per game in that time.
24.1 – Zia Cooke’s 24.1 points per 40 minutes this season are a career high while averaging the fewest minutes per game of her career.
With Thursday’s win at Tennessee, South Carolina claimed at least a share of its seventh SEC Regular-Season Championships in the last 10 seasons. A win today would make them the out-right champion. The Gamecocks have shared the title just once in their previous six title seasons (2015).
South Carolina will honors its seven seniors prior to today’s game. First-year Gamecock Kierra Fletcher and fifth-year forward Victaria Saxton will join the five members of the 2019 signing class, the program’s first #1 class – Laeticia Amihere, Brea Beal, Aliyah Boston, Zia Cooke, Olivia Thompson – in a pregame ceremony.
The Gamecocks’ 2019 signing class – “The Freshies” – has won 93.8 percent of its college games (121-8), including a 42-6 mark against ranked teams (.875). The group has been ranked #1 in the AP Poll in for 66.7 percent of their careers (48 of 72 polls) and never been outside the top 10. They have three SEC regular-season title,s two SEC Tournament crowns and have played in the Final Four in every NCAA Tournament of their careers, claiming the title in 2022.
Reigning National Player of the Year Aliyah Boston is the NCAA active leader in career double-doubles and rebounds and ranks second in career blocks. Her 77 career double-doubles ranks 12th all-time in NCAA Div. I history and third in the SEC.
All-America candidate Zia Cooke has poured in 19.4 points per game on 50.0 percent shooting, including 52.4 percent from 3-point range, and handed out 2.4 assists per game over the last five outings.
SEC Sixth Woman of the Year candidate Kamilla Cardoso has grabbed double-digit rebounds in seven of her last 10 games, including three games of 15 or more boards. Playing just 19.8 minutes per game in that stretch, she averaged 11.0 rebounds along with 10.0 points in that time.
Home Sweet Home
The Gamecocks are 510-165 (.756) in home games (some records prior to 1976-77 did not include location of games). Current head coach Dawn Staley is 198-34 at home with that .853 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 261-67 (.796) record in the building, including four undefeated seasons since 2013-14. Staley’s share of that record is 195-34 (.852).
In SEC action, South Carolina is 140-89 (.611) at home with Staley posting a 96-22 (.814) mark.
“O” – That’s Good!
While retaining its sterling reputation as a defensive stalwart, South Carolina’s offense is clamoring for its share of the spotlight this season. The Gamecocks are sixth in the nation in scoring offense (81.6 ppg) and 13th in field goal percentage (.467). Both numbers top those of the program’s 2022 National Championship team (70.9, .426).
South Carolina has shot at least 50.0 percent in a game 11 times this season, including three games over 60.0 percent. Last season’s National Championship team hit the 50.0 percent mark just seven times all season.
Four Gamecocks are shooting at least 50.0 percent from the field with Aliyah Boston leading the way at 56.8 percent accuracy. In SEC games, 11 Gamecocks are shooting 40.0 percent or better, including five hitting at least 50.0 percent.
South Carolina’s paint dominance predates the 2019 signing class, but the Gamecocks have certainly perfected it since the group’s arrival, scoring 53.5 percent of their points in the paint since the start of the 2019-20 season.
The 2019-20 team had the highest final paint points average (42.4 ppg) in this stretch, but the 2020-21 team posted the highest percentage of paint points (.551).
So far this season, the Gamecocks are posting 44.9 points per game in the paint, which accounts for 54.9 percent of their offense.
Defensively, South Carolina controls the paint as well, allowing opponents to shoot just 36.8 percent in the lane to average 22.4 points in that area. The Gamecocks have been out-scored in the paint just three times this season – at #2/2 Stanford (40-36), at Mississippi State (32-28) and at #5/4 UConn (42-38). Only 10 games have seen an opponent shoot over 40.0 percent from the paint.