Feb. 10, 2018
#7/8 South Carolina vs Florida
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- No. 7/8 South Carolina is back at Colonial Life Arena Sunday afternoon to welcome Florida and the 90s back in a 1 p.m. tipoff on SEC Network. Fans are encouraged to "come as you were" for the theme game celebrating the look, music and culture of the 1990s. On the court, the Gamecocks (19-5, 8-3 SEC) will have to limit Florida (10-14, 2-9 SEC) from 3-point range, while the Gators will have to handle South Carolina's lauded inside presence with A'ja Wilson and Alexis Jennings controlling the paint.
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 may become a battle of wills as each team wants to dominate a different area of the floor. The Gamecocks have built their quadrennial of dominance in the SEC on controlling the paint. This season they average 39.8 points in the paint compared to 26.2 points per game by their opponents. Of the team's made field goals, 67.3 percent have come in the paint. Florida leads the SEC in made 3s per game, averaging 8.5 on the season, including 6.9 per SEC contest.
Another factor in today's game could be free throw shooting. The Gamecocks are fourth in the nation in free throw attempts, averaging 22.8 per game, as opponents average 19.9 fouls per game against the Gamecocks. Conversely, Florida is third in the country in fewest fouls, committing just 12.6 per game.
Senior forward A'ja Wilson is once again a national player of the year candidate, showing even more versatility to her game than ever. She leads the SEC and ranks seventh in the nation in scoring (22.7 ppg) while lifting her rebounding numbers significantly this season to come in 12th in the country at 11.5 per game. Wilson is the only player in the country to also rank among the top 30 in those two categories as well as blocked shots (3rd, 3.6 bpg).
Sophomore guard Tyasha Harris is third on the team in double-figure scoring games this season, logging 14 so far. The number far eclipses the six she posted during her freshman season.
By the Numbers
1 Win needed by the Gamecocks to post their seventh-straight 20-win season
2 Games this season in which the Gamecocks, who rank fourth in the nation in free throw attempts, attempted fewer than the national mean for free throw attempts (17)
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
17 Bench points for the Gamecocks at Alabama, the most since A'ja Wilson came off the bench at Kentucky (Jan. 21)
Florida Series Notes
The Gators lead the series 20-16, but the Gamecocks have won the last eight and are 8-4 against Florida in the Dawn Staley era. The Gamecocks won the first three games of the eight-game win streak by single digits, but have claimed the last five by an average of 18.8 points.
Holding Home Court
The Gamecocks are 432-157 all-time on their home court, including a 189-63 mark in Colonial Life Arena. South Carolina is 125-29 at home during the Dawn Staley era and has lost just four times in its last 79 home games, including undefeated home seasons in 2013-14 and 2014-15. The Gamecocks have won 37 of their last 39 SEC regular-season home games dating back to the 2012-13 season.
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 13,402 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.
The daughter of two NCAA Div. I basketball coaches, freshman guard Bianca Jackson has shown all the poise and development attributed to such progeny, even while thrust into the starting lineup just eight games into her college career due to injuries to seniors Bianca Cuevas-Moore and Lindsey Spann.
Jackson earned that starting job and her 28.3 minutes per game because of her ability to deliver solid play and contribute what the team needs when it is needed.
The Montgomery, Ala., native averages 7.1 points, 1.9 assists and 1.0 steals with five double-digit scoring games, including three in SEC action, and seven games of three or more assists.
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