Gamecocks Back Home Wednesday Night
No. 1/1 South Carolina hosts Morgan State Wednesday night at Colonial Life Arena in one of just two home games in the month of December.
The game will include a celebration of the 50th year of Hip Hop, including an exhibition from the University’s Museum of Education on the concourse above the box office.
The Morgan State Series
Today is the first meeting between the Gamecocks and Lady Bears. South Carolina has played seven other MEAC teams with a 40-9 record all-time against the league. Most of the games and all nine losses came against nearby South Carolina State (25-9).
By the Numbers
20.0 – South Carolina averages 20.0 second-chance points this season off 16.7 offensive rebounds per game.
23.3 – The Gamecocks allowed #24/24 UNC and Duke to shoot a combined 23.3 percent (7-of-30) in the fourth quarter last week.
57.7 – In last week’s true road wins, South Carolina shot 57.7 percent (15-of-26) from 3-point range.
South Carolina’s fourth-quarter defense has allowed just 11.9 points on 20.8 percent shooting. Meanwhile, the Gamecock offense is at its best in the fourth, averaging 24.4 points on 56.8 percent shooting.
Despite a faster pace offensively, the Gamecocks are still among the nation’s best in scoring defense, ranking 11th in the NCAA with opponents scoring just 51.9 points per game.
Five Gamecocks double-figure points this season, including freshman MiLaysia Fulwiley off the bench. Two others come in just under at 9.4 points per game (Ashlyn Watkins) and 9.3 (Bree Hall).
The Gamecocks continue to lead the nation in blocks per game with 10.3 per outing. Kamilla Cardoso (3rd, 3.43) and Ashlyn Watkins (9th, 2.86) are among the nation’s top 10 shot blockers, while MiLaysia Fulwiley’s 1.43 blocks per game rank her 11th in the SEC.
National Player of the Year candidate Kamilla Cardoso is sixth in the nation with six double-doubles. Her 12.1 rebounds per game are fourth-best in the country and her .600 field goal percentage is 25th.
Senior Te-Hina Paopao’s 53.1 percent 3-point shooting has her ranked 10th in the nation, and it comes on an SEC-leading 2.83 made 3s per game. Her 13.0 points per game are 20th in the SEC and go with her 3.5 assists per game, which are 10th in the league.
In addition to her 2.86 blocks per game being in the NCAA top-10, Ashlyn Watkins’ offensive explosion to 9.4 points per game has come on 60.0 percent shooting. She has two double-doubles among her four double-digit scoring games.
Bree Hall was the Gamecocks’ nominee for SEC Player of the Week behind her clutch performances in last week’s wins, during which she poured in 14.0 points per game on 69.2 percent shooting, including 75.0 percent from 3-point range.
Home Sweet Home
The Gamecocks are 517-165 (.758) in home games (some records prior to 1976-77 did not include location of games). Current head coach Dawn Staley is 205-34 at home with that .858 winning percentage is the best in program history.
Playing in its 22nd season at Colonial Life Arena, South Carolina boasts a 268-67 (.800) record in the building, including four undefeated seasons since 2013-14. Staley’s share of that record is 202-34 (.856).
South Carolina currently has a program-record 46-game home winning streak that began on Dec. 17, 2020.
Three for All
Long the Achilles Heel for the Gamecocks, this season’s South Carolina team has thrived behind the arc so far, especially when all 11 players have been available. The Gamecocks are second in the SEC and 25th in the nation in accuracy, hitting 37.9 percent from 3-point range and are making 6.7 3s per game on the season. Those numbers skyrocket to 45.1 percent accuracy and 7.7 made 3s per game against ranked opponents.
While the program record for made 3s per game is 9.2 set in 1993-94, the Staley era’s high was 5.8 per game in 2018-19.
Te-Hina Paopao’s SEC-best 53.1 percent accuracy ranks 10th in the country, and her 2.83 made 3s per game are also best in the SEC.
Easy, Breezy, Beautiful
Junior Bree Hall has been lauded by former teammates and some of the best to play at South Carolina in the Staley era for the way she trusted the process for the last two seasons and stepped into her spotlight this season to reap the rewards of her behind-the-scenes work.
Hall started the season with her usual solid defense, but it was the emergence of her fully developed offensive game during the Gamecocks’ Tobacco Road sweep at #24/24 North Carolina (Nov. 30) and at Duke (Dec. 3) that illustrated the complete, confident player she has become.
It wasn’t just Hall’s team-best 14.0 points per game on Tobacco Road on 69.2 percent shooting. It was her 6-of-8 3-point shooting that included a win-sealing three in the fourth quarter of each game. It was also her defense in the final period that held UNC’s top scorer Deja Kelly without a field goal and helped limit Duke’s hot-shooting Reigan Richardson to just 1-of-5 shooting in the final period.
For the season, Hall is scoring 9.3 points per game and shooting 36.7 percent from 3-point range while adding 3.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.