Jan. 10, 2018
#9/8 South Carolina vs Auburn
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- No. 9/8 South Carolina opens a two-game home stand Thursday against Auburn with tipoff at Colonial Life Arena set for 7 p.m. ET. The Gamecocks (13-2, 2-1 SEC) face a defensively aggressive Tiger team (10-5, 1-2 SEC) that ranks third in the nation in steals per game (14.8) and turnover margin (+10.0). South Carolina is 13th in the nation with just 12.3 turnovers per game and fifth in field goal percentage (.498).
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 last six seasons, the Gamecocks are 17-1 when coming off a loss. The last time South Carolina lost back-to-back games was in February 2013 when the 15th-ranked Gamecocks lost to #14 Texas A&M and #9 Kentucky on Feb, 10 and 14, respectively.
Sophomore guard Tyasha Harris' points/assists double-double at #15/15 Missouri Sunday was the Gamecocks' first in an SEC game since Samone Kennedy posted 10 points and 10 assists at Florida on Feb. 24, 2008. It was Harris' fourth double-double of the season, which is one shy of the program record for points/assists double-doubles in a season. Harris ranks 11th in the nation in assists per game (6.7) and 14th in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.9).
Senior forward A'ja Wilson has scored in double-figures in 104 of her 120 career games as a Gamecocks and has failed to meet that mark in back-to-back games just twice in her career -- both as a freshman coming off the bench. With 1,994 points in 3,032 minutes played, she has scored 0.66 points per minute over her career, including 0.86 points per minute this season.
By the Numbers
2 Double-digit scoring games by freshman Bianca Jackson in her last four outings
6 Points needed by A'ja Wilson to reach 2,000 in her career
6 Games this season in which the Gamecocks' starting frontcourt has accounted for at least 50.0 percent of the team's offense, including three games against ranked opponents
9 Consecutive games in which sophomore guard Tyasha Harris has handed out at least five assists, including four games of 10 or more
10 First-half points by Mikiah Herbert Harrigan at #15/15 Missouri on 4-of-6 shooting
Auburn Series Notes
The Gamecocks' seven-game win streak against the Tigers has put them in front in the series 22-21. South Carolina is 10-3 against the Tigers in the Dawn Staley era, including a season sweep of Auburn last season. The Gamecocks have been nationally ranked in every game of the current seven-game win streak, winning by an average of 14.7 points per game, although three of the games have been decided by single digits.
Few players in the country are as versatile as South Carolina senior forward A'ja Wilson. Averaging 23.5 points, 11.1 rebounds and 3.2 blocks, she ranks third, 15th and seventh in the nation in those categories, respectively, making her the only player in the nation to be in the top 40 of all three categories. Only 10 players in the nation are among the top 50 in both scoring and rebounding, and just three others join Wilson ranked in the top 25 of both -- Gustafson, Iowa (22.7 ppg/12.6 rpg), Tanaya Atkinson, Temple (21.9 ppg/10.7 rpg) and Teaira McCowan, Mississippi State (20.8/12.7).
Location, Location, Location
The Gamecock frontcourt simply reloaded this season, and South Carolina averages 42.7 points in the paint this season, making up 51.5 percent of its offense. In fact, 68.4 percent of the team's made field goals this season have come in the paint. The Gamecocks are out-pacing their opponents in that space by 19.0 points per game, and their interior advantage has been at least 20 points five times, including twice with a season-high 48 -- against Alabama State (Nov. 10) and Western Carolina (Nov. 30). Only two opponents has out-scored South Carolina in the paint this season -- #6/6 Notre Dame (Nov. 26) 58-42, #15/15 Missouri (Jan. 7) 28-34 -- which are also the Gamecocks' only losses this season. South Carolina's starting frontcourt of Alexis Jennings and A'ja Wilson have accounted for 42.8 percent of the Gamecocks' scoring this season, averaging a combined 35.5 points per game. Those numbers jump to 35.8 points per game and 46.4 percent of the offense in SEC play.
Junior transfer Alexis Jennings has strengthened the Gamecocks' frontcourt, providing a steady, physical presence in the lane. After averaging 8.9 points and 5.4 rebounds in her two seasons at Kentucky, the powerful post has elevated her play this season, posting 12.0 points and 7.1 rebounds per game to rank second on the team and among the SEC's top 25 in both categories. Jennings is third in the league in field goal percentage (.610), 16th in rebounding and 24th in scoring. Both her scoring and rebounding have been on full display versus ranked opponents, against which she averages 12.4 points and 7.4 rebounds. Two of her three double-doubles so far this season have come against top-15 foes in #15/13 Maryland (Nov. 13, 12 pts/13 rebs) and #14/16 Duke (Dec. 3, 21 pts/10 rebs). Jennings has eight other double-figure scoring games this season, including a 25-point outing against St. John's (Nov. 25).
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