Jan. 13, 2018
#9/8 South Carolina vs #6/6 Tennessee
COLUMBIA, S.C. — No. 9/8 South Carolina hosts a top-10 battle Sunday when No. 6/6 Tennessee travels to Colonial Life Arena for a 1 p.m. tipoff on ESPN2. The Gamecocks (14-2, 3-1 SEC) and Lady Vols (15-1, 3-1 SEC) bring two of the SEC’s top three offenses into the high-stakes matchup.
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
Today's game pits the SEC's most efficient offense (.498 field goal percentage) against its most effective defense with South Carolina shooting a league-best 49.8 percent from the field and Tennessee leading the league with .344 field goal percentage defense.
South Carolina's A'ja Wilson stands alone in ranking among the top 40 players in the nation in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots, coming in fourth, 15th and sixth in those categories, respectively. All three averages – 23.2 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 3.3 bpg – are the highest of her career, despite playing against multiple defenders a majority of her time on the court.
Sophomore guard Tyasha Harris is making her bid to be counted among the best point guards in the county with her 6.9 assists per game ranking ninth in the nation and her 2.9 steals per contest coming in 24th. She has five double-doubles this season, including in the Gamecocks' last two games, and has scored in double figures in six straight contests. In SEC play, she is the team's second-leading scorer (11.8 ppg) while handing out 8.5 assists per game.
By the Numbers
3 Gamecocks all-time who have recorded a school-record five points-assists double-doubles after Tyasha Harris joined the group with her 12-point, 11-assists outing against Auburn (Jan. 11)
3 Active SEC coaches with 100 regular-season league victories after Dawn Staley joined the group against Auburn (Jan. 11)
12.0 Points per game against ranked opponents this season by Tyasha Harris, who averages 9.8 against unranked foes
19 Rebounds needed by A'ja Wilson to reach 1,000 in her career
Tennessee Series Notes
The Lady Vols lead the series 46-5, but four of the Gamecocks' wins have come in the last five seasons, including three of the last four meetings. Last season's battle in Columbia came down to a rollercoaster fourth quarter that saw the Lady Vols build a double-digit lead midway through the period. South Carolina got key points from A'ja Wilson and Bianca Cuevas-Moore, whose second 3-pointer of the period tied the game with 15 seconds left before Jaime Nared drew a foul and hit the resulting free throws to deliver the 76-74 Lady Vol victory, which snapped a three-game skid to South Carolina.
With a 3-2 mark this season, South Carolina is 53-47 against nationally ranked opponents under head coach Dawn Staley, although that record is skewed by the early seasons of her tenure as the Gamecocks are 38-8 versus ranked foes since the start of the 2014-15 campaign. South Carolina is 17-5 against top-10 opponents during that time.
Preseason All-SEC Second-Team selection Tyasha Harris has heeded her head coach's challenge to expand her game not that “the novelty has worn off,” and the sophomore has recorded five double-doubles this season to match the school record for points-assists double-doubles. Harris has picked up her scoring this season, averaging 10.5 points on 46.1 percent shooting. She has netted double figures in each of the last six games, including posting an 11.8 scoring average in SEC contests. Meanwhile, Harris continues to show great court vision and command of the offense, ranking ninth in the nation with an SEC-best 6.9 assists per game – a number that explodes to 8.5 in league play. Defensively, Harris has become a menace with an SEC-best 2.9 steals per game – another number that ranks her among the top 25 in the nation. Harris' five double-doubles ties the program single-season record for points-assists double-doubles and puts her among just three Gamecocks in the SEC era to record multiple points-assists double-doubles. Cristina Ciocan leads the group with nine in her career (4 in 2002-03, 5 in 2003-04) with Shaunzinski Gortman joining the trio with two in 1999-2000.
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 12,825 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.
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