No. 1 Gamecocks Host Palmetto Series Rival Thursday
No. 1/1 South Carolina women’s basketball is set for its time in the Palmetto Series, hosting Clemson at Colonial Life Arena on Thu., Nov. 16, at 7 p.m. The game will air on SEC Network.
Vista Lights begins on Thursday, which means the Columbia Police Department will be closing down Gervais Street from Assembly to Lincoln Streets. Those closures will affect the traffic flow around Colonial Life Arena.
The Clemson Series
This in-state rivalry dates back to the Gamecocks’ first official season of intercollegiate women’s sports – 1975-76.
South Carolina’s current 12-game win streak finally put the Gamecocks on top in the series 34-33 after last season’s 85-31 victory in Clemson (Nov. 17). In the Dawn Staley era (beginning in 2008-09), South Carolina is 12-2.
By the Numbers
1.05 – The Gamecocks are fourth in the nation with 1.05 points per play finished with a shot, free throw trip or turnover (Her Hoop Stats).
4.14 – South Carolina’s starting backcourt of Raven Johnson and Te-Hina Paopao combine for a 4.14 assist-to-turnover ratio (29:7).
21.0 – The Gamecocks are blocking 21.0 percent of their opponents’ 2-point field goal attempts, which ranks third in the nation.
Tonight’s game is the fourth point available in the 2023-23 SC Education Lottery Palmetto Series competition. South Carolina and Clemson each have 1.5 points in the series after a Gamecock volleyball win volleyball, a Clemson men’s soccer victory and a women’s soccer tie. South Carolina has won the Palmetto Series every year since its inception in 2015.
A win tonight would be Dawn Staley’s 200th in Colonial Life Arena in just her 234th game coaching in the facility. The win would also be the Gamecocks’ 43rd straight at home, putting them just two shy of tying the program record of 45 consecutive home victories (2/24/13-2/4/16).
South Carolina’s fast tempo has yielded the nation’s second-ranked offense at 107.0 points per game. The Gamecocks average 81.0 field goal attempts this season. By comparison, last season’s high was 77, and only 11 games featured at least 70 attempts. South Carolina’s 43 made field goals in each of the first two games match the program’s Staley-era record.
The Gamecock offense is as efficient as it is fast, ranking seventh in the nation with a .531 field goal percentage. Only one South Carolina team has ever finished the season shooting over 50.0 percent (1988-89, .527).
South Carolina’s 3-point barrage – 8.5 made per game – has come from a variety of sources. While Te-Hina Paopao leads the way with 3.0 made per game (2nd in the SEC) on 50.0 percent shooting, three other Gamecocks have hit at least three 3s shooting at least 37.5 percent from beyond the arc.The Gamecocks once again the lead the nation in blocks per game (11.0) and have the nation’s top individual shot blocker in Ashlyn Watkins (4.5 bpg).
South Carolina has assisted on 68.6 percent of its field goals this season and leads the nation in assists per game (29.5).
South Carolina’s regular-season schedule includes 10 games against teams ranked in at least one of the two national polls this week. Five of those games come in the first five weeks of the season, including the first two out of the gate against #10/10 Notre Dame (W, 100-71) and #14/11 Maryland (W, 114-76).
Four of the games against ranked teams are at home – #14/11 Maryland (W, 114-76), #23/25 Ole Miss (Feb. 4), #8/8 UConn (Feb. 11), #15/20 Tennessee (Mar. 3).
Four others are true road games – at #17/16 North Carolina (Nov. 30), at #rv/22 Duke (Dec. 3), at #7/5 LSU (Jan. 25), at #15/20 Tennessee (Feb. 15). Another two are at neutral sites – #10/10 Notre Dame (W, 110-71) and #4/4 Utah (Dec. 10).
South Carolina’s 10 games are the second-most of any ranked team this season (NC State/UCLA 11). The Gamecocks’ five non-conference ranked contests are second behind UConn’s seven and match Tennessee’s five.
There are few things head coach Dawn Staley likes more than the extra pass. Long preaching that the ball will find who should shoot it, she has developed that mentality with year’s team early.
South Carolina has assisted on 68.6 percent of its made field goals this season. The Gamecocks lead the country with 29.5 assists per game are second in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.46 – leading the SEC in both.
Three Gamecocks are among the SEC’s top 11 in assists per game, including two of the top three spots. Raven Johnson leads the way at ninth in the nation and second in the SEC with 7.5 per game with Te-Hina Paopao close behind at 7.0 per game to rank 12th in the country and third in the league.
Sophomore Chloe Kitts worked her way into the starting lineup this season, and proved immediate what Staley has seen in the young 6-foot-2 forward – physicality, basketball IQ and tenacity
After a modest seven-point outing in the season opener against #10/10 Notre Dame (Nov. 6), Kitts stamped her name on the home opener against #14/11 Maryland (Nov. 12). Her first career double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds) came in under 21 minutes on the court. She powered home eight of her 13 points in just six minutes in the second quarter to power the Gamecocks to a 12-point halftime lead.
On the season, Kitts averages 10.0 points and 5.5 rebounds while shooting 50.0 percent from the field.