Gamecocks Women’s Hoops take on College of Charleston Tuesday
COLUMBIA, S.C. — No. 5/6 South Carolina continues its homestand with a 7 p.m. tipoff Tuesday night against College of Charleston. The Gamecocks (8-1) are playing their third game in six days, but have had the luxury of all three being at Colonial Life Arena.
Parking in Lots A and B will be pass only, however, public handicap parking in those lots will be $10. Additional private and city lot parking is also $10. Shuttles from the Pendleton and Park Street garages will begin two hours prior to tip-off, and will be $3 roundtrip.
SOUTH CAROLINA NOTABLES
>> In the Gamecocks’ 72-52 win over #14/16 Duke Sunday, the team illustrated its power to execute a game plan to perfection. Among the best performances not immediately evident in the box score were the defensive efforts of junior Doniyah Cliney and freshman Bianca Jackson.
>> The pair led the charge against one of the highest-scoring backcourt combinations in the country. Duke’s high-scoring duo entered the game averaging 36.5 points but managed just 21 against the Gamecocks, including just one 3-pointer. Staley was especially happy with the performance of Jackson against the more veteran senior Rebecca Greenwell, who scored just eight points after coming into the game averaging 16.9.
>> The Gamecocks’ starting frontcourt seems to have found established its chemistry in recent games as Alexis Jennings and A’ja Wilson have learned to marry their strengths into a combination opponents struggle to manage. The two have combined to score at least half of the Gamecocks’ points in four of the last five games. In three games against ranked opponents this season, Jennings and Wilson combine to average 43.0 points, which is 51.5 percent of the team’s 83.7 average in those games.
>> South Carolina’s aggression on offense routinely puts opponents on their heels, sending the Gamecocks to the free throw line at one of the best paces in the nation. South Carolina is third in the country in both free throws made (149) and attempted (216). Wilson and Jennings account for 54.2 percent (117) of those attempts.
>> After a rough patch in the turnover department, sophomore point guard Tyasha Harris has been sharper in the last three outings, including two against ranked opponents. In the eight-day stretch she committed just five turnovers against 20 assists.
BY THE NUMBERS
1 Double-figure scoring game need by senior forward for 100 in her career
5 Gamecocks shooting over 50.0 percent from the field, including three who rank among the SEC’s top 10 in field goal percentage
6 Double-digit scoring games for junior forward Alexis Jennings this season, including each of the last four games
18 Double-doubles by A’ja Wilson in 44 career games against nationally ranked opponents (7 more games missing it by 1 rebound)
55 Weeks the Gamecocks have been in the AP top five since the start of the 2014-15 season, second only to UConn at 62 in that span
COFC SERIES NOTES
The Gamecocks hold a 15-9 edge over the Cougars, though just two of those game have come in the last 10 seasons. The teams have met twice in the Dawn Staley era with both games played in Columbia. With the last meeting coming on Nov. 14, 2013, no one on either team’s roster has faced the other before tonight.
Preseason All-SEC Second-Team selection Tyasha Harris is looking for a sophomore surge, not a slump, in her second season with the Gamecocks. Challenged by her head coach to expand her game now that “the novelty has worn off,” Harris aims at blending more of the scoring prowess she showed in high school (23.5 ppg) with the unselfish court vision she displayed last season when she was 14th in the SEC with 3.2 assists per game. So far so good for Harris’ goals. She averages 9.4 points and is fourth in the league in assists at 5.2 per game. Against #15/13 Maryland (Nov. 13), she narrowly missed her first career double-double with career highs in points (20) and assists (9). Six games later, she accomplished the feat, handing out 10 assists and scoring 10 points against Western Carolina (Nov. 30). Harris is the first Gamecock to post a double-double with assists since Samone Kennedy posted 10 points and 10 assists at Florida on Feb. 24, 2008. She became the first Gamecock to hand out 10 or more assists since Tina Roy hit that mark on Dec. 14, 2014. Harris has also stepped up her game defensively, ranking second the SEC with 2.8 steals per game. She has swiped four or more in three of the last five games, including her career-high six against Western Carolina (Nov. 30).
After two seasons coming off the bench, junior guard Doniyah Cliney has an established role in the starting lineup, and the spotlight has only amplified how much more she is prepared to contribute. Staley has marked her as a “stat stuffer” because her versatility and athleticism allow her to impact the game in so many ways. Any single number may not jump off the box score, but she will contribute to nearly all of them. So far this season, Cliney averages 8.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.6 steals. She has three double-figure scoring games and five games of three or more assists. Defensively, she takes the assignment of the opponent’s top guard.
GREAT GAMECOCK FANS
With over 10,000 season-ticket holders for the third-straight season, South Carolina continues to lead the nation in average attendance at 12,817 and is the only program drawing at least 10,000 fans per game. The Gamecocks have posted the highest average attendance in the nation at the end of the last three seasons, averaging at least 12,000 fans in each of those seasons, during which they boast two sellouts of 18,000-seat Colonial Life Arena.
Gamecocks Athletics contributed to this article.