(3) Gamecock Women Close Road Swing at Duke Sunday

dawn-staley-bench-11-15-jpeg_bim.jpgCOLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) — No. 3/3 South Carolina continues its tough stretch of road games, traveling to Duke for a 2 p.m. tipoff on Sun., Dec. 4. The Gamecocks (6-0) have three wins over top-15 opponents, all either on the road or on a neutral court, and have topped the Blue Devils (8-1) in the last two meetings at Cameron Indoor Stadium.


  • •  The Gamecocks have won their last two trips to Cameron Indoor Stadium in dramatic fashion. A furious comeback capped by a putback from then-freshman A’ja Wilson delivered a 51-50 win in the final seconds of their last visit. The program’s debut in the facility yielded an overtime win over then-No. 9 Duke on Nov. 25, 2001.
  • •  South Carolina leads the nation in free throws made per game (21.2) and free throw attempts per game (30.0) — the only program to average at least 20 and 30, respectively.
  • •  Junior forward A’ja Wilson became the second Gamecock this season to record 30 points in a game with her career-best 31 at #14/15 Texas on Thursday, hitting 12-of-18 from the field. She added 12 rebounds for her first double-double of the season while locking in defensively with four blocks and three steals.
  • •  Senior center Alaina Coates became the third Gamecock all-time to record 1,000 career rebounds, hitting the mark in the second half at #14/15 Texas (Dec. 20).
  • •  Freshman Tyasha Harris has been especially solid the last two games, both against ranked opponents — especially on the defensive end where she helped shut down the leading scorers from #7/6 Louisville and #14/15 Texas.


2 30-point games by a Gamecock this season, the most since 2002-03
3 Games in which at least one reserve Gamecock has scored in double figures, including two of South Carolina’s three games against ranked opponents
24.7 Points per second quarter by the Gamecocks this season, their highest-scoring quarter
52.6 Percent field goal shooting by the Gamecocks in the fourth quarter vs. ranked opponents this season, their most efficient quarter


South Carolina leads the series 3-1 after winning the last two contests in the renewed home-and-home series. The Gamecocks are 2-0 against the Blue Devils in Cameron Indoor Stadium, including a thrilling 51-50 win over then-No. 9 Duke in their last visit on Dec. 4, 2015, thanks to late-game heroics from then-freshman A’ja Wilson.

The most recent meeting was a 66-55 South Carolina win in Columbia, S.C., on Dec. 6, 2016, as the then-No. 2 Gamecocks topped then-No. 14 Duke behind a strong fourth quarter that included eight points from Wilson and a dominant showing in the paint.

The Blue Devils’ lone win in the series was a 77-68 victory on Mar. 25, 2002, in the NCAA Elite Eight in Raleigh, N.C.


The Gamecocks are 230-245 all-time in true road games, including a 58-34 mark under head coach Dawn Staley. In non-conference action, Staley is 20-8 on the road during her nine seasons at South Carolina.


Ranked third in this week’s AP Poll, the Gamecocks are in the midst of the nation’s third-longest active top-10 ranking streak (54), trailing just UConn (217) and Notre Dame (110) and well ahead of fourth-place Baylor (39).


With 30-point games already this season by juniors Kaela Davis (37 at #7/6 Ohio State, 11/14) and A’ja Wilson (31 at #14/15 Texas, 12/1), the Gamecocks have more 30-point games in a season since the 2002-03 season when Jocelyn Penn recorded three such outings, none of which were against a ranked opponent.

The program record for 30-point games in a season is six with the most recent coming in 1994-95. In each of the three seasons with six 30-point games, every game was recorded by the same Gamecock. Shannon Johnson posted six in 1994-95 to duplicate her effort in 1993-94. Beth Hunt originally set the record with her six 30-point games in the 1989-90 campaign. The only 30-point outing against a ranked opponent in those three seasons was Beth Hunt’s 34-point showing in a losing effort at then-No. 18 Southern Miss.

Individually, only eight 30-point games by a Gamecock have come against ranked opponents, including this season’s showings from Davis and Wilson. Davis’ 37 points is the most in a game against a ranked opponent and was the first since Johnson netted 35 against then-#5 Tennessee on Feb. 15, 1996, which until Davis’ 37 was the highest-scoring came against a ranked opponent in program history.


South Carolina averages 44.3 points in the paint this season, making up 51.6 percent of the Gamecocks’ offense. No opponent has out-scored South Carolina in the paint this season, and the Gamecocks have out-paced their opponents in that space by 23.3 points per game. Their interior advantage has been at least 20 points three times, including a season-high 44 points against Maine (Nov. 21). In three games against ranked opponents, South Carolina has out-scored its opponent 118-84 in the paint.


South Carolina ranks 10th in the nation in both free throws made and free throws attempted, playing one-to-three fewer games than any of the nine teams ranked ahead of them.

The Gamecocks are the only team in the nation averaging at least 20.0 made free throws (21.2) and the only team averaging at least 30.0 free throw attempts (30.0). Kent State is next in line in average free throws made at 19.0, while Wisconsin trails the Gamecocks in free throw attempts per game with 28.0.


Senior center Alaina Coates has started the 2016-17 season on a mission and with a passion on display every minute she is on the court. The result has her averaging a double-double (14.8 ppg/11.8 rpg) and ranked among the nation’s top 10 in field goal percentage (third, .800), double-doubles (seventh, 4) and rebounding (eighth).

In the midst of one of the most productive careers for a post player in South Carolina history, Coates became the third Gamecock all-time to reach the 1,000-rebound plateau, hitting the mark in a strong second-half effort at #14/15 Texas (Dec. 1). At 1,001 career boards, she trails Marsha Williams’ second-place total by 25 rebounds and is 426 off the school record, which has been held by Sheila Foster since 1982.

Coates’ 46 career double-doubles are second in program history, trailing only Foster’s school-record 72. The Irmo, S.C., native is also a defensive force, ranking second in career blocked shots at 179, just behind teammate A’ja Wilson’s 185.


In her third season at South Carolina, junior forward A’ja Wilson is already one of the most decorated Gamecocks in program history as a three-time All-American, the reigning SEC Player and Defensive Player of the Year and a finalist for all three national player of the year awards last season.

This season, Wilson shrugged off a foul-plagued season opener to score double figures in each of the next four games before exploding with a career-high 31 points to power home a win at #14/15 Texas (Dec. 1). The outburst moved her up the SEC scoring standings into sixth with 16.8 points per game, and her 58.6 percent field goal shooting is fourth in the SEC and 36th in the nation.

Defensively, Wilson is just as strong as last season when she set the school record for blocked shots in a season with 103. This season, her 2.8 blocks per game lead the SEC and rank 23rd in the nation. She broke the school record for career blocks (previously 177) with two against Saint Peter’s (Nov. 22) and now sits at 185 in just 76 career games played.

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