Created: Tue, 17 Sep 2013 04:34:00 EST
Updated: Tue, 17 Sep 2013 04:39:59 EST
COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) -- South Carolina women’s basketball head coach Dawn Staley announced today her team’s 29-game schedule for 2013-14. The Gamecocks’ opponents include 14 teams that competed in the 2013 postseason, accounting for 17 of the 29 regular-season contests this season. Two teams that advanced to last season’s NCAA Elite Eight will visit Colonial Life Arena, which will host a total of 16 dates.
Nearly half of the 26 teams on the Gamecocks’ schedule recorded at least 20 wins last season, including eight SEC teams. South Carolina faces three of those conference opponents twice, playing Arkansas, Vanderbilt and Kentucky home and away this season. The Gamecocks open and close the conference slate on the road and face a gauntlet of traditional SEC powers down the stretch. Thirteen games comprise South Carolina’s non-conference schedule, which features four in-state opponents.
South Carolina is launching its “Drive for 5K” season-ticket campaign this season as Staley’s former jersey number inspires an effort to bring 5,000 fans to Gamecock women’s basketball every game. In the last two seasons, South Carolina has gone from 43rd in the nation to 26th in average attendance, bringing in nearly 4,000 fans per game last season, and Staley is committed to continuing that momentum. Season tickets are $50 for a reserved seat or $100 for a Family Four-Pack of four general admission tickets. Visit www.GamecocksOnline.com/tickets or call 1-800-4SC-FANS to purchase season tickets.
“We’re excited to release our schedule and get one step closer to starting the season,” Staley said. “It will be great to play so many of our in-state opponents leading us into SEC action, which is always challenging. We’re looking forward to great crowds at Colonial Life Arena to help us through!”
Following an exhibition game on Fri., Nov. 1, a four-game home stand opens the Gamecocks’ season and includes Charleston Southern (Nov. 8), Louisiana Tech (Nov. 10), College of Charleston (Nov. 14) and Seton Hall (Nov. 17). Trips to Clemson, San Diego State and Southern Cal lead into a single home game against NC Central (Dec. 2). Following games at Charlotte and against North Carolina in the Myrtle Beach Classic, the Gamecocks close out non-conference play against Winthrop (Dec. 20), South Carolina State (Dec. 22) and Savannah State (Dec. 28).
South Carolina kicks off its league slate at Arkansas (Jan. 2), before hosting a pair of games at Colonial Life Arena. Vanderbilt arrives on Sun., Jan. 5, looking to snap a three-game skid to the Gamecocks, and a Thu., Jan. 9, game against Kentucky follows it. The last time the Wildcats came to Columbia, the Gamecocks upset the then-No. 5 team in the nation in a series that has seen four of the last five games decided by five or fewer points.
Following two more road games, the Gamecocks host Alabama on Sun., Jan. 19, then head to Vanderbilt for a Sun., Jan. 26, contest. Mississippi visits South Carolina on Thu., Jan. 30, and the Missouri Tigers make their first trip to Columbia on Sun., Feb. 2. After traveling to Mississippi State (Feb. 6), South Carolina hosts Arkansas on Sun., Feb. 9.
A two-game road swing kicks off arguably the most challenging stretch of the Gamecocks’ season as four of their last five games come against teams that advanced to at least the NCAA Sweet 16 last season, including four Elite Eight teams. A Sun., Feb. 16, matchup at LSU opens the slate with the Tigers coming off a Sweet 16 appearance in 2013. South Carolina closes out its two-game set with Kentucky, an Elite Eight finisher last year, on Thu., Feb. 20. The Gamecocks host Florida, which reached the WNIT semifinals in 2013, on Sun., Feb. 23, before closing out the home schedule against Georgia on Thu., Feb. 27. Another Elite Eight finisher last season, the Bulldogs just edged out South Carolina in last season’s contest in Athens. The Gamecocks close the season at Tennessee, the last of the league’s three Elite Eight teams, on Sun., Mar. 2.
This season’s SEC Tournament tips off on Wed., Mar. 5, in Duluth, Ga., at the Arena at Gwinnett Center. The tournament includes all 14 teams with the championship game slated for Sun., Mar. 9.