(2) USC Hosts Hampton Wednesday
BY: USC SID
Date: Wed., Dec. 16, 2015
Tipoff: 7 p.m.; Doors open at 6 p.m.
Location: Columbia, S.C.
Arena: Colonial Life Arena
Tickets: $8 Adult, $4 Youth (17 and under)
Broadcast: SEC Network+ (Derek Scott, play-by-play; Debbie Antonelli, analyst)
Radio: 107.5 The Game (Brad Muller); GamecocksOnline.com
Live Stats: GamecocksOnline.com
- • South Carolina looks to improve to 10-0 for the fourth-straight season with the ability to do so against Hampton for the second time in as many seasons. The Gamecocks faced the Lady Pirates on Dec. 27, 2014, in their 10th game of that season as well. This season’s nine wins have come against the most challenging opponents of the previous three 9-0 starts with three of the nine victories coming against nationally ranked opponents (#6/10 Ohio State, #16/18 Arizona State and #14/13 Duke) with a fourth win over a team currently climbing the national rankings (UCLA is ranked #19/- this week).
- • The Gamecocks have stayed out of foul trouble this season, averaging just 16.4 personal fouls while drawing 21.6 fouls per game. The different shows up most prominently at the free throw line where South Carolina attempts 23.1 per game to just 16.4 per game by opponents.
- • After posting the Gamecocks’ first triple-double since December 2006 in her last outing, junior centerAlaina Coates catapulted up the national statistical rankings. She is fourth in the country in field goal percentage at .671 and 40th in blocked shots per game (2.22). She is one of nine players in the nation to have a triple-double this season, including two other SEC members — Shacobia Barbee (Georgia) and Makayla Epps (Kentucky).
BY THE NUMBERS
3 Gamecocks named to the Wooden and Naismith Award Watch Lists — Alaina Coates, Tiffany Mitchell andA’ja Wilson
5 Games in which junior center Alaina Coates has shot over 60.0 percent from the field
6 Statistical categories in which sophomore forward A’ja Wilson ranks among the SEC’s top 10, including two in which she leads the league (blocks per game, double-doubles)
9 Years since a Gamecock posted a triple-double before Alaina Coates’ 29-point, 16-rebound, 10-block effort against Winthrop (12/13)
11 Games on South Carolina’s schedule against teams currently ranked in the top 25, including seven against the top 15
16 Blocked shots by the Gamecocks against Winthrop (12/13), a Dawn Staley-era record
22.5 Points per game scored by junior center Alaina Coates over the last two games
HAMPTON SERIES NOTES
The Gamecocks are 2-0 all-time against the Lady Pirates with both contests coming in the last four seasons. South Carolina traveled to Hampton on Dec. 17, 2014, using a hot-shooting second half to push past the home team 69-49. Now-senior guard Tiffany Mitchell matched her career high with six 3-pointers in the game to lead the team with 20 points. The first meeting between the teams was more of a defensive battle in the 2012 Paradise Jam (Nov. 22). South Carolina shook off tough shooting in the first half to net 42.1 percent in the second half en route to the 45-34 victory, which saw the Lady Pirates hit just 19.3 percent from the field.
The Gamecocks blocked a Dawn Staley-era high 16 shots against Winthrop (Dec. 13), led by junior Alaina Coates’ single-game school-record 10. In completing the program’s first triple-double since Dec. 2006, Coates broke the 38-year-old record of eight set by Jean Walling against SC State on Dec. 7, 1977, and doubled her previous career high of five. Sophomore forward Jatarie White also updated her career high for blocks with four against the Eagles.
SEC ACTIVE LEADERS
The SEC compiled its active leaders in seven statistical categories this week, and five different Gamecocks are among the top 10 in at least one category. Senior Tiffany Mitchell’s league-high six entries is not a surprise given the breadth of her resume, but the appearance of sophomore A’ja Wilson at No. 4 on the active blocked shots list, which junior Alaina Coates leads, may catch some observers off guard. Mitchell headlines the South Carolina entries ranking second in scoring (1,481); third in steals (185), field goals made (498) and 3-pointers made (134); fourth in assists (286) and eighth in rebounding (502). She is the highest-ranking guard on the rebounding list, which includes just one other true perimeter player. Senior Khadijah Sessionsholds seventh in steals (137) and eighth in assists (243). Senior Tina Roy is on the 3-pointers made list, coming in at sixth (112). Junior Alaina Coates is the league’s active leader in blocks (146), sits third in rebounds (643) and ninth in scoring (927).
GREAT GAMECOCK FANS
The state of South Carolina has rallied around head coach Dawn Staley’s program in unprecedented numbers. Average attendance has grown steadily over the last three seasons, culminating in this season’s sell-out of the season-ticket allotment — over 11,000. Only single-game, general admission tickets remain available for purchase. And fans are doing that, too. South Carolina leads the nation in average attendance at 15,065, topping second-place Louisville by more than 3,900. Only three programs average at least 10,000 fans this season — South Carolina, Louisville and Iowa State. Delving more deeply into the numbers, South Carolina’s Colonial Life Arena’s capacity of 18,000 makes it the seventh-largest women’s basketball venue in the nation. Only two of those are selling over 50 percent of their capacity. Gamecocks fans are filling Colonial Life Arena at 83.69 percent capacity, the highest of any facility seating at least 10,000 and fourth overall. Prior to 2015-16, the Gamecocks led the nation in average attendance increase in each of the previous two seasons and paced the country in average attendance in 2014-15 at 12,293. South Carolina played in front of over 10,000 fans 15 times that season with 13 of those coming at Colonial Life Arena. The 17,156 fans that turned out for the Jan. 11 game against Kentucky were just shy of the women’s basketball record of 17,712 (vs. Clemson, 11/22/02) at the facility.
Junior center Alaina Coates was a dominant force and big reason South Carolina advanced to its first NCAA Final Four last season. Currently ranked sixth in the SEC with two double-doubles this season, Coates is already tied for eighth on the program’s career double-doubles list with 25, just seven shy of reaching the program’s all-time top five. Ten of her double-doubles have come in SEC play, which rank her second in program history in that category, just one behind the school-record 11 by Marsha Williams (1992-93). Coates ranks among the SEC’s top 10 rebounders (7.1/gm) and is the second-best shot blocker (2.2/gm) behind her teammate A’ja Wilson. She is currently fourth in school history with 146 career blocks, the most of any active player in the SEC, and needs just two more to tie for third in program history.