No. 1 Gamecocks Renew Annual Rivalry with UConn Sunday
No. 1/1 South Carolina hosts No. 11/9 UConn Sunday afternoon in the Gamecocks’ sixth game against a ranked opponent this season. Tipoff at Colonial Life Arena is set for 2 p.m. ET with the game airing on ESPN.
- Because the game is a sellout, Colonial Life Arena doors will open 90 minutes before tipoff (12:30 p.m.)
- A fan shuttle has been added for this game. Fans can park for free at Founders Park (lot at Williams Street and Blossom) and ride the shuttle to Colonial Life Arena (Noon-5 p.m.).
The UConn Series
The Gamecocks are 4-9 all-time against the Huskies, but those four wins have come in the last five meetings, including wins in the last three.
In the most recent meeting, South Carolina claimed an 81-77 comeback victory in Hartford (Feb. 5, 2023). The Gamecocks used a 20-9 second quarter to overcome an 11-point deficit after the opening 10 minutes to go into halftime tied. In the second half, the battle of the bigs went the Gamecocks’ way en route to the program’s first road win against the Huskies.
By the Numbers
4 – South Carolina has announced four sellouts (18,000) this season, including today’s game – the most by the program in a single season.
7 – Over the last five games, seven Gamecocks average at least 8.0 points.
58.2 – South Carolina is fifth in the nation in rebounding percentage, grabbing 58.2 of the opportunities actually rebounded (HerHoopStats).
The Gamecock offense is in near perfect balance with 55.1 percent of its 88.8 points per game coming in the paint (48.9 ppg). The front and backcourts are similarly aligned with guards accounting for 53.2 percent of the offense (47.2 ppg).
In Thursday’s win over Missouri, South Carolina’s four-woman bench outscored the Tigers’ starters 40-31 and nearly matched its own starting five, which scored 43 points. On the season the Gamecock bench has outscored its counterparts by 20.3 points per game, including 22.0 points per game against ranked opponents.
South Carolina is 20th in the nation in fewest turnovers per game (12.9) and has allowed just 8.0 points per game off them. Over the last five games, that turnover number is down to 10.8 per game with a +5.2 turnover margin.
Senior Te-Hina Paopao is second in the nation in 3-point percentage (.489) and has shot at least 50.0 percent from the arc 14 times this season.
Sophomore Raven Johnson is fourth in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio at 5.2. She has had more than two turnovers in just six games this season.
Freshman MiLaysia Fulwiley has scored in double figures in each of the last four games to average 14.5 points in that stretch.
Sophomore Ashlyn Watkins has earned three starts of the last five games and has averaged 9.4 points and 8.2 rebounds over those five outings.
Junior Bree Hall has reeled in 7.0 rebounds per game over her last two outings to go with her 10.0 points per game in that time.
Junior Sania Feagin has scored in double figures each of the last two games (10.5 ppg) with efficient shooting – 75.0 percent from the field, 90.0 percent from the free throw line.
Against ranked teams, South Carolina is 111-67 (.624) 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 96-28 (.774) against ranked teams.
This season, South Carolina is 5-0 vs. ranked teams, and those five are the most by any team this season as are the Gamecocks’ four top-15 victories.
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 seen this year’s team bring that philosophy to life. The Gamecocks twice broke the program’s Staley-era record for single-game assists in the first three games of the season.
South Carolina has assisted on 55.5 percent of its made field goals this season. The Gamecocks are 11th in the country with an SEC-best 19.2 assists per game and are ninth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.5 also an SEC best.
Four Gamecocks average at least two assists per game, including center Kamilla Cardoso’s 2.1.
Raven Johnson leads the way at third in the SEC with 5.2 assists per game. Her 17 assists against Clemson (Nov. 16) were the second-most in program history, the most by an SEC player since 2005 and the most by any NCAA Div. I player this season. She leads the SEC with a 3.2 assist-to-turnover ratio, which ranks fourth in the NCAA.
Behind Johnson, Te-Hina Paopao is 10th in the SEC with 3.9 assists per game, and her 2.5 assist-to-turnover ratio is fourth in the league and 25th in the nation.
The Gamecocks continue to dominate the glass, ranking third in the nation with 47.2 rebounds per game. According to Her Hoop Stats, South Carolina is fifth in the nation in rebounding percentage, securing 58.2 percent of the opportunities actually rebounded.
Their offensive glass work is equally strong, ranking ninth in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage at .397 (Her Hoop Stats). The Gamecocks’ 13.9 offensive boards have yielded 16.1 second-chance points, turning each offensive board into an average of 1.16 points. Against ranked opponents, that efficiency improves to 1.39 points per offensive board.
Three Gamecocks are among the SEC’s top-20 rebounders, led by Kamilla Cardoso’s 9.8 average, which ranks fifth in the SEC. Ashlyn Watkins stands 11th in the league with 7.3 rebounds per game, and Chloe Kitts is next in line at 20th with a 6.2 rebounding average.
Cardoso’s 3.1 offensive boards per game are sixth in the SEC, and she scores on 45.4 percent of those rebounds. Her 3.2 offensive boards per league game rank fifth. Watkins grabs 2.7 offensive boards per game (10th), including 2.6 per SEC outing.