USC Women Host Mizzou
COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) — No. 7/8 South Carolina looks for its 20th win of the season on Sunday as Missouri comes to Colonial Life Arena for a 3 p.m. tipoff. Fans will receive a neon “There’s No Place Like Home” t-shirt at the door, while supplies last up to 4,000. Students will also receive free food vouchers. The Gamecocks (19-2, 7-1 SEC) are coming off a dominating offensive performance, scoring a school SEC-game record 99 points against Ole Miss Thursday night. The Tigers (14-7, 3-5 SEC) are fresh off an upset of No. 16/18 Vanderbilt on the same night. Missouri is second in the nation with 9.6 3-pointers made per game, while South Carolina ranks second in the conference in 3-point percentage defense. Opponent: Missouri Tigers (14-7, 3-5 SEC) Date: Sunday, February 2, 2014, 3 p.m. Site: Columbia, S.C. Arena: Colonial Life Arena (18,000) Tickets: $7 adult, $4 youth (17 and under) TV: None Radio: WNKT 107.5 FM/WISW 1320 AM (Brad Muller) Live Video: GamecocksOnline.com Live Stats: GamecocksOnline.com Series History: Tied 1-1 South Carolina Notables South Carolina is 7-1 in SEC play for the first time in school history. The Gamecocks’ best ever eight-game start in conference play was an 8-0 mark in the Metro in 1987-88. Eschewing the idea of a sophomore slump, South Carolina leading scorer Tiffany Mitchell has established herself as one of the most versatile players in the SEC this season. She is one of two players in the league to rank among the conference’s top 15 in points (10th, 15.3), field goal percentage (3rd, .527), assists (11th, 3.7) and steals (4th, 2.4). Freshman center Alaina Coates averages a league-best 9.5 rebounds per SEC game this season. Her seventh double-double of the season (against Ole Miss, Jan. 30) was her fourth in conference play, tying the Gamecock record for SEC regular-season double-doubles (Kelsey Bone, 2009-10). Junior center Elem Ibiam’s five blocks against Ole Miss (Jan. 30) moved her into the program’s all-time top five with 53 blocked shots, just seven off the school record of 60 held by Lakesha Tolliver (2006-07). The last of those blocks against the Rebels also made her just the ninth Gamecock to record 100 career blocks. Notes A South Carolina Win Would… Be the Gamecocks’ 13th at Colonial Life Arena this season, two shy of the facility record of 15 set in 2006-07. Make the Gamecocks 8-1 in conference play for the second time in school history, tying the record for best league start of the 1987-88 team’s 8-1 Metro Conference mark. By the Numbers 2 Double-doubles needed by center Alaina Coates to tie the Gamecock freshman record for double-doubles in a season (9 by Kelsey Bone in 2008-09) 7 Blocks needed by junior center Elem Ibiam to tie the single-season record of 60 currently held by Lakesha Tolliver (2006-07) 8 Games this season in which sophomore guard Tiffany Mitchell has had a hand in at least one-third of the offense (points plus assists) – highlighted by helping to deliver 52.2 percent of the Gamecocks’ 69 points against Winthrop (Dec. 20) – during which the Gamecocks are 7-1 9 Individual 20-point games this season by the Gamecocks – five by Alaina Coates and two each by Tiffany Mitchell and Aleighsa Welch 12 Games in which South Carolina has shot at least 50.0 percent from the field this season – including two games over 60.0 percent (Charleston Southern, Ole Miss) – after reaching the mark just 12 times in the previous five seasons under Staley 12 Games this season in which South Carolina has scored at least 50.0 percent of its points in the paint, including four of at least 60.0 percent of scoring coming from the paint (Chas. Sthrn., 70.7%; at USC, 60.0%; UK, 61.8%; at Vandy, 75.4%) 32 Free throws made by the Gamecocks against Ole Miss (Jan. 30), tying the Staley-era record 43 Blocked shots by center Alaina Coates this season, setting a new Gamecock freshman record 55 Points scored by the Gamecocks in the second half against Ole Miss (Jan. 30), a season-high 99 Points scored by the Gamecocks against Ole Miss (Jan. 30), a school record in an SEC game Missouri Series Notes The series between the Gamecocks and Tigers is tied at 1-1 after Missouri claimed the first SEC meeting between the teams last season at Mizzou Arena. This is Missouri’s first visit to Colonial Life Arena. In last year’s game on Feb. 28, then-No. 14/13 Gamecocks struggled shooting the ball in the first half while the Tigers lit up the boards, hitting 63.2 percent in the opening stanza. South Carolina’s Khadijah Sessions scored 14 points to tie for the team lead, but no other Gamecock reached double figures. The Tigers dominated the paint, out-scoring South Carolina 34-14 inside. Stat Stuffer Sophomore guard Tiffany Mitchell has both honed and diversified her game this season, making her one of the most productive players in the SEC. The Charlotte, N.C., native is one of two SEC competitors to rank among the league’s top 15 in scoring, field goal percentage, assists and steals. Mitchell is 10th at 15.3 points per game, third with a .527 field goal percentage, 11th at 3.7 assists per game and fourth with 2.4 steals per game. Ole Miss senior Valencia McFarland is the other player to match those rankings – third in scoring, 14th in field goal percentage, second in assists and eighth in steals. Freshman Figures Three-time SEC Freshman of the Week honoree Alaina Coates has already put her stamp on the program, performing especially well in SEC action. Her seven double-doubles is two shy of the Gamecocks’ freshman record (Kelsey Bone, 2009-10), and she is one of now just six South Carolina freshmen all-time to post at least five 20-point games and is just the second to do it in the SEC era. Her 43 blocked shots this season are the new Gamecock freshman record and are tied for 11th in school history regardless of class. The 6-foot-4 center is the league’s best freshman rebounder with 8.1 per game overall and leads the league, regardless of class, with 9.1 boards per conference game. Overall, Coates is the only freshman in the SEC to rank among both the top 25 scorers and top 20 rebounders (12.3 ppg, 21st; 8.1 rpg, 6th). Many of Coates’ single-game performances this season already rank among the program’s best for a freshman, highlighted by becoming the first Gamecock freshman to post a perfect shooting night with 7-of-7 field goals and 9-of-9 free throws against SC State (Dec. 22) and the first to post double-doubles in her first two SEC contests (later extended to three games). Coates’ 17 rebounds against No. 9/10 Kentucky (Jan. 9) are the most ever by a Gamecock freshman, and her five blocks at Arkansas (Jan. 2) and 15 free throw attempts at San Diego State (Nov. 23) tied the South Carolina freshman records. Rising to the Challenge Junior forward Aleighsa Welch has expanded her game this season, while making room of the expanded roles of her younger teammates. As one of three team captains, Welch has shown leadership and maturity in welcoming teammates into the spotlight with her, which is not to say that she has shied away from it. When the spotlight shines the brightest and the team needs her most, Welch has delivered. The Gamecocks have played four nationally ranked opponents so far this season and, in those games, Welch leads the team in scoring and rebounding. She averages a double-double in those four games with 17.3 points – nearly four points higher than her season average – and 10.5 rebounds – nearly three more than her season average. She is tied for the team lead with 2.0 assists in those outings as well, matching sophomore Tiffany Mitchell’s distribution number. Overall this season, Welch leads the SEC (and ranks fifth in the nation) in field goal percentage (.614) and is 15th in the league in scoring (15.3), 10th in rebounding (7.6) and fourth in offensive boards (3.3).