Sunday's NCAA Second Round Set for Gamecocks
COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 1/1 South Carolina continues play in the 2023 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament, hosting No. rv/24 USF on Sun., March 19, at 1 p.m. ET with the game airing on ABC.
The USF Series
The Gamecocks and Bulls have not previously met in women’s basketball. South Carolina has a 23-8 all-time record against current American Athletic Conference teams, including this season’s 79-54 win over Memphis on Dec. 3.
Home Sweet Home
The Gamecocks are 512-165 (.756) in home games (some records prior to 1976-77 did not include location of games). Current head coach Dawn Staley is 200-34 at home with that .855 winning percentage is the best in program history.
Playing in its 20th season at Colonial Life Arena, South Carolina boasts a 263-67 (.797) record in the building, including four undefeated seasons since 2013-14. Staley’s share of that record is 197-34 (.853).
Already the winningest basketball coach at South Carolina – men’s or women’s – head coach Dawn Staley is vying for her 400th win at the Gamecocks’ helm today. Her 79.2 winning percentage is also the best across both programs.
Today’s game will be the Gamecocks’ seventh this season against a team ranked in at least one of the two main national polls. South Carolina has won its previous six such games by an average of 18.8 points with those opponent scoring 20.2 points per game below their season average
South Carolina’s bench has scored 45.4 percent of the team’s points (36.8 ppg) and has tied or out-scored its starters 11 times, including four SEC games. The group is shooting 48.2 percent from the field.
The Gamecocks have gotten it done on both ends of the court this season, leading the nation in scoring margin (+30.4) and rebounding margin (+20.4).
South Carolina’s paint dominance is also reflected on both sides of the ball. Out-scoring opponents in the paint 44.5 to 22.2 points per game, the Gamecocks are shooting 55.2 percent inside while holding opponents to just 36.6 percent.
Ranking 19th in the nation with 16.8 assists per game on the season, the Gamecocks’ passing has been exceptional the last five games, averaging 20.0 assists on 28.4 made field goals per game (.704). Raven Johnson has spearheaded the effort with 5.4 assists per game in that stretch with Brea Beal dishing out 3.8 per game.
Four Gamecocks are averaging double-figure points in postseason action with Laeticia Amihere (12.0) and Kamilla Cardoso (11.3) joining Zia Cooke (12.8) and Aliyah Boston (11.5). The three post players are all shooting over 50.0 percent in those four games with Cardoso leading the way at 68.2 percent.
Against ranked teams, South Carolina is 105-66 (.614) in the Dawn Staley era (beginning 2008-09), and even that mark is skewed by the early seasons of her tenure.
Since the start of the 2014-15 campaign, the Gamecocks are 90-27 (.769) against ranked teams, including a 42-6 mark (.875) since the start of the 2019-20 season.
Senior Aliyah Boston has thrived in her 48 career games against ranked opponents, averaging 15.4 points, 12.3 rebounds and 2.8 blocks while shooting 53.5 percent. Senior Zia Cooke’s offense is not far behind with her 13.9 points per game in those 48 outings, including a career-best 15.3 average in this season’s six games.
This season, South Carolina is 6-0 against ranked teams, including wins over four teams currently in the top 10. The Gamecocks claimed their six wins by an average of 18.8 points with a +18.3 rebounding margin. Boston led the way with 16.8 points, 11.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game.
South Carolina’s six wins over ranked opponents are the fourth most in the nation this season, and its three true road wins over ranked opponents are second.
The Gamecocks also have two wins over Tennessee, which moved into the AP Poll on March 13, and three wins against teams receiving votes in at least one of this week’s polls – Ole Miss (W, 64-57 ot; W, 80-51) and South Dakota State (W, 62-44).
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 44.5 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 36.6 percent in the lane to average 22.2 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).