Feb. 7, 2018
#7/8 South Carolina at Alabama
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- No. 7/8 South Carolina continues its three-game week with a trip to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to face the Crimson Tide on Thursday at 7 p.m. ET on SEC Network. With just six league games remaining, the Gamecocks (18-5, 7-3 SEC) are looking to stay in the hunt for one of the top four seeds in the SEC Tournament.
South Carolina Notables
South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley is one of nine coaches to record at least 100 regular-season SEC victories at one league school. Her 104 league wins in now her 10th season at the helm rank 11th overall in league history.
Coming off a pair of losses to the nation's No. 1 and No. 2 teams, South Carolina looks to avoid a three-game skid tonight. The Gamecocks have not lost three consecutive games since Jan. 12-19, 2012.
National player of the year candidate A'ja Wilson's raw numbers this season prove that she is having the best season of an already decorated career, ranking as the only player whose scoring, rebounding and blocks averages are all among the top 20 in the nation -- 22.8 ppg (7th), 11.6 rpg (13th), 3.6 bpg (3rd). Taking a deeper dive into her performance shows that 35.0 percent of the Gamecocks' offensive possessions end in her hands, which makes her usage rate among the top 0.2 percent in the nation -- highest in the SEC and among the Wooden Award Late Season Top 20 selections. Even with that volume, Wilson's true shooting percentage is in the top 6.8 percent in the nation. (Breakdown courtesy of HerHoopStats.com)
Freshman guard Bianca Jackson has two double-digit scoring games among her last five outings, including a career-high 20 against #1/1 UConn last Thursday. Challenged by Staley to be more assertive in the offense, Jackson has shot 40.9 percent from 3-point range and 43.2 percent overall during the five-game stretch to rank second on the team with 10.8 points per game. She currently ranks 10th in the SEC in 3-point field goal percentage (.391) on the season.
By the Numbers
3 Gamecocks who rank among the SEC's top 15 in blocked shots per game
6.0 Average national ranking of the teams that have defeated South Carolina this season -- #6 Notre Dame (Nov. 26), at #15 Missouri (Jan. 7), #6 Tennessee (Jan. 14), #1 UConn (Feb. 1) and at #2 Mississippi State
11 Games this season in which the Gamecocks have shot at least 50.0 percent from the field, including three SEC games
The Alabama Series
The Gamecocks lead the all-time series 23-15 and are undefeated against the Crimson Tide in the 13 games of the Dawn Staley era. South Carolina's 13-game win streak against Alabama has an average winning margin of 24.2 points with a high of 48 in the most recent meeting -- a 93-45 decision in Columbia on Jan. 1, 2017. The Gamecocks' last loss in the series was a 65-54 Alabama victory on Jan. 10, 2008, in Tuscaloosa.
The SEC is once again among the best women's basketball conferences in the nation, leading the nation with seven teams among the top 25 in RPI, including South Carolina at 21. Six of the seven are also ranked in both the AP and USA Today Coaches Poll this week. Mississippi State has the top RPI in the league in third with Tennessee coming in 11th. Texas A&M (15), Missouri (16) and Georgia (20) are also in the RPI top 20. LSU (25) joins South Carolina inside the top 25.
South Carolina ranks sixth in the nation with 6.4 blocked shots per game, which is leads the SEC. While the Gamecocks have been atop this category over the last few seasons, the formula this season is slightly different. Instead of being dominated by two Gamecocks, nine different members of the team have recorded at least one blocked shot this season with three logging double-digit blocks. Senior forward A'ja Wilson ranks third in the nation with an SEC-best 3.6 blocks per game. She has six games of five or more blocks, including a season-high eight at Temple (Dec. 21) and her SEC-season high of seven against Arkansas (Jan. 25). Behind Wilson, sophomore Mikiah Herbert Harrigan is ninth in the league at 1.2 blocks per game with junior Alexis Jennings in 12th in the SEC at 1.0 blocks per game.
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