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Top-Ranked Gamecocks Head North for ACC/SEC Challenge
Women's Basketball  . 

Top-Ranked Gamecocks Head North for ACC/SEC Challenge

No. 1/1 South Carolina heads to border rival North Carolina for its ACC-SEC Challenge game against the No. 24/24 Tar Heels. Tipoff at Carmichael Arena is set for 7 p.m. on ESPN.

South Carolina Gamecocks
South Carolina Gamecocks
North Carolina Tar Heels
North Carolina Tar Heels
Dean Smith Center | Chapel Hill, N.C.

The North Carolina Series
The Gamecocks and Tar Heels have history dating back to 1975-76, but they have not played in the regular season since Dec. 18, 2013. Neither team has played on the other’s home court since Jan. 4, 1989.

Overall the Tar Heels lead the series 11-9, including a 4-3 edge in the Gamecocks’ Dawn Staley era (beginning 2008-09), but South Carolina has won the last two meetings.

In the most recent meeting between the border rivals, then-No. 1 South Carolina topped then-No. 17 North Carolina 69-61 in the 2022 NCAA Sweet 16 in Greensboro en route to its second NCAA Championship.

By the Numbers

10 – South Carolina has 10 games scheduled against ranked opponents, including five in non-conference action.

62.8 – The Gamecocks average 62.8 points in the paint this season, including 63.0 such points per game against nationally ranked opponents.

64.4 – South Carolina has assisted on 64.4 percent of its made field goals this season to rank second in the nation with 26.4 assists per game.

Gamecock Notables

  • South Carolina’s high-powered offense is second in the nation with 100.4 points per game, which includes 107.0 points per game against ranked opponents. The Gamecocks rank ninth in the country with 0.99 points per play (Her Hoop Stats).

  • The Gamecocks have proven to be sure-handed this season with the team ranking fourth in the nation in turnover percentage (.117) per Her Hoop Stats. Their SEC-best 11.8 turnovers per game are 13th in the nation.

  • South Carolina’s scoring is as widespread as any time in the program’s Dawn Staley era. Five Gamecocks average double-figure points with three others scoring at least 7.4 points per game. Ten of the 11 players on the roster have scored in double figures at least once.

  • The Gamecocks have continued their rebounding domination this season, leading the nation with 58.2 per game and a +23.0 rebounding margin.

  • Senior Kamilla Cardoso has wasted no time certifying her inclusion in the National Player of the Year conversation. She is second in the country in double-doubles (4), seventh in blocks per game (4.0), 13th in rebounding average (11.0) and 18th in field goal percentage (.636). Her numbers include similar marks in her two games against ranked foes – 16.0 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 3.0 bpg, .667 FG%

  • Sophomore Raven Johnson’s improved offensive numbers have gotten the most attention – 11.0 ppg, 8.6 apg (3rd in nation), 6.14 assist-to-turnover ratio (6th in nation) – but her defense has also helped power the Gamecocks’ high-octane offense as she is 16th in the nation with 3.4 steals per game, including five in each of the last three outings.

  • Senior transfer Te-Hina Paopao has been the spark to the Gamecocks’ outside shooting, ranking 11th in the country in 3-point percentage (.545) and 28th in made 3s per game (3.0).

Up Next graphic at UNC, 11/30/23 - Te-Hina Paopao

Road Ready
The Gamecocks are 299-260 (.535) all-time in road games (some records prior to 1976-77 did not include location of games), including a 124-46 mark (.729) under head coach Dawn Staley.  Her .729 winning percentage on the road is the best in program history.

Keep It a Buck
South Carolina has scored at least 100 points in four of its five games this season, including the program’s first three-game streak of 100-point outings.

The 2020-21 team finished the season with four 100-point games, but, the 1978-79 team holds the program record with five games hitting the century mark.

The Gamecocks’ 114 points against Maryland were the second-most in program history and the most against a ranked opponent.


Serious Scheduling
South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley has never been afraid to challenge her team to prepare it for the rigors of March and April. Over the last 10 seasons, the Gamecocks have played an average of 9.7 regular-season games against ranked opponents.

Three teams hit the high-water mark of 12 – 2019-20 (11-1), 2017-18 (6-6), 2015-16 (11-1). Each of those years four of the 12 games were non-conference matchups. The 2021-22 edition of the Gamecocks went a perfect 11-0 against its regular-season ranked opponents, including six such non-conference wins.

Last season’s team faced the fewest regular-season ranked games, playing just five games such games – three against top-five foes. Just one of the five games was against an SEC rival.


Pao-erful Impact
Senior transfer Te-Hina Paopao is often mentioned by her teammates as a leader, despite her summer arrival to the program. The three-time All-Pac-12 selection illustrated that leadership beautifully in the season opener against #10/10 Notre Dame (Nov. 6). As the starter with the most experience at the position, the steady guard led the way in the opening 10 minutes with seven points on 3-of-4 shooting, two assists and two steals to keep the Gamecocks within a point at the end of the period.

That steady hand has not wavered since. Paopao is 20th in the SEC with 13.0 points per game. Her 54.5 percent 3-point accuracy (12-of-22) ranks 11th in the nation (2nd in the SEC). Her SEC-best 3.00 made 3s per game are 28th in the nation. She hit a sterling 4-of-5 (.800) from beyond the arc against Clemson (Nov. 16).

Not just an outside shooter, Paopao is second on the team in assists, ranking seventh in the SEC with 4.0 per game, including two games with five or more. The Gamecocks are scoring 9.8 points per game off Paopao’s assists, putting her fingerprints on 22.8 points per game.