Gamecock Gameday: No. 6/5 South Carolina Hosts Vanderbilt Thursday|
Feb. 15, 2017
COLUMBIA, S.C. No. 6/5 South Carolina is back at Colonial Life Arena to host Vanderbilt on Thursday night with just one more home game remaining on the schedule. The Gamecocks (21-3, 11-1 SEC) need just one win in their last four games to ensure a top-four seed in the SEC Tournament in Greenville.
South Carolina Notables
By the Numbers
2 Career stats in which Alaina Coates leads all active NCAA Div. I players – rebounds (1,210), double-doubles (57)
Vanderbilt Series Notes
The Commodores lead the series 21-13, but the Gamecocks have won the last seven meetings. South Carolina is 8-8 against Vanderbilt in Columbia, with the tying win coming by an 89-59 score in the Commodores' last visit to Colonial Life Arena on Feb. 15, 2015. The Gamecocks have won their last four home games against Vanderbilt, all by double digits.
In last season's 10-point win in Nashville (71-61, Jan. 7, 2016), the Gamecocks dominated from the 3-point line, hitting 10-of-22 from long range. South Carolina shot 7-of-10 from distance in the second half to shake off a halftime tie en route to the win.
Holding Home Court
The Gamecocks are 418-155 all-time on their home court, including a 176-60 mark in Colonial Life Arena. South Carolina is 111-27 at home during the Dawn Staley era and has lost just twice in its last 63 home games, including undefeated home seasons in 2013-14 and 2014-15. The Gamecocks have won 31 of their last 32 SEC regular-season home games dating back to the 2012-13 season.
Ranked fourth in this week’s AP Poll, the Gamecocks are in the midst of the nation’s third-longest active top-10 ranking streak (66), trailing just UConn (229) and Notre Dame (122) and well ahead of fourth-place Baylor (50). South Carolina has appeared in the top 25 in each of the last 88 AP Polls.
In the Staley era, South Carolina has collected 51 top-five rankings in the AP Poll, including 42 weeks in the top three and 12 weeks at No. 1.
Head coach Dawn Staley did not shy away from a challenging schedule this season, despite having to replace five seniors, including three starters, from last season's squad. The Gamecocks' overall schedule is ranked the sixth-toughest in the nation based on opponent winning percentage (.658).
South Carolina's docket features 19 games against teams that played in the 2016 postseason, including 16 against NCAA Tournament squads.
The slate includes eight games against teams ranked in the AP Top 25 this week, including two against this week's top-10 teams. Just two of those eight games are home games for the Gamecocks.
They're Free, Take Two!
South Carolina ranks among the nation's top 20 in free throws attempted (16th) and made (24th). The Gamecocks average 15.6 made free throws per game, while opponents average just 13.3 attempts.
In nine games this season, at least 25.0 percent of the Gamecocks' points have come from the free throw line, including five of the six wins over nationally ranked opponents. Free throws accounted for a season-high 39.5 percent (30-76) of the Gamecocks' points at #14/15 Texas (Dec. 1).
South Carolina leads the SEC and ranks 14th in the nation with 5.8 blocked shots per game and have blocked double-digit shots twice this season – 11 vs. Clemson (Dec. 15), 10 vs. Alabama (Jan. 1). The two driving forces of that defensive movement are also the program's all-time career blocked shot leaders – A'ja Wilson (217) and Alaina Coates (206).
Wilson broke the program's career blocks record earlier this season (vs. Saint Peter's, Nov. 22) but can hardly celebrate with Coates nipping at her heels. Wilson is third in the SEC and 34th in the nation with 2.2 blocks per game, and Coates is just behind at 1.5 per game for seventh in the league. Freshman Mikiah Herbert Harrigan is following in her frontcourt mentors' footsteps, ranking 12th in the league with 1.2 blocks per game, which includes three games of three or more blocks.