Feb. 24, 2018
#7/6 South Carolina at #15/14 Tennessee
COLUMBIA, S.C. — No. 7/6 South Carolina travels to No. 15/14 Tennessee for the regular-season finale for both teams on Sunday on ESPN2. The Gamecocks (23-5, 12-3 SEC)) have won two of their last three trips to Knoxville but will be looking to avenge a loss to the Lady Vols (22-6, 10-5 SEC) earlier this season when senior forward A’ja Wilson was sidelined with an injury.
South Carolina Notables
South Carolina looks to end a two-game skid to the Lady Vols, the Gamecocks' first back-to-back losses to Tennessee since the 2013-14 season. In their last three trips to Knoxville, South Carolina is 2-1.
South Carolina is 2-2 on the road against ranked opponents this season with wins at #15/13 Maryland and #20/19 Georgia.
The Gamecocks have been sharing the ball well in recent games, assisting on 65.3 percent of their made field goals over the last four outings and averaging 16.0 assists over the stretch.
National Player of the Year candidate A'ja Wilson celebrated Senior Night with just the seventh 20-point, 20-rebound outing in program history and the first since Jan. 5, 1981. Shaking off the emotion of the pregame ceremony, she had nine points and seven boards in just seven first-quarter minutes and never looked back. Her 24 rebounds in the game are the most in by any SEC player in league action this season and were two shy of the school record.
Sophomore Tyasha Harris' SEC-best 6.3 assists per game average this season would rank third in program history. No Gamecock has finished the season averaging at least 6.0 assists since Cristina Ciocan handed out 6.7 per game in 2002-03. Harris' average goes up to 6.5 per SEC game, which is ahead of the Gamecocks current school record of 6.2 by Ciocan in 2001-02.
By the Numbers
1 Gamecock all-time to score 1,000 career points in SEC regular-season play alone after A'ja Wilson hit the mark Thursday against LSU
3 Gamecocks who average double-figure points against ranked opponents – Wilson (21.6), Harris (12.9), Jennings (10.5)
12 Minutes of playing time it took A'ja Wilson to record her double-double against #24/- LSU en route to the Gamecocks' first 20-20 game since the 1980-81 season
17.9 Minutes per SEC game played by South Carolina freshmen, the most since the 2012-13 freshman class
29 Points needed by A'ja Wilson to tie the program's all-time scoring record
The Tennessee Series
The Lady Vols lead the series 47-5, but three of the Gamecocks' wins have come in the last four seasons. South Carolina is 2-1 in its last three trips to Knoxville. Today is the fifth time in the last seven meetings that both teams have been ranked in the top 15 in the nation with the teams tied a 2-2 in the previous four such contests. Tennessee claimed the first meeting this season 86-70 as the Gamecocks played without senior forward A'ja Wilson, who missed the game with an injury. Sophomore point guard Tyasha Harris netted a career-high 28 points as South Carolina battled back from an early deficit to close within four midway through the fourth quarter before the Lady Vols pulled away.
The Gamecocks are 246-250 all-time in true road games, including a 74-39 (.655) mark under head coach Dawn Staley. In SEC action, Staley is 50-28 (.641) through her 10th season at South Carolina.
Head coach Dawn Staley has built the Gamecocks into a consistent SEC contender with four straight regular-season titles, shirking decades of difficulty in the nation’s best women’s basketball conference. In her 10th SEC season at the helm, Staley boasts a 109-48 (.694) conference regular-season record and has finished outside the league’s top five just twice – an unprecedented achievement for a program that had finished INSIDE the top five only two times in the previous 17 seasons. Staley’s 109 wins include now seven seasons of double-digit league victories – 10 in 2012; 11 in 2013; 14 in 2014; 15 in 2015; 16 in 2016; 14 in 2017; and 12 in 2018 – and account for 63.0 percent of the program’s all-time 173 league wins. Staley’s SEC regular-season record includes a 59-20 (.747) mark at home and a 50-28 (.641) slate on the road.
With her 27 points and 24 rebounds against #24/- LSU (Feb. 22), senior forward A'ja Wilson became just the fourth Gamecock all-time to record at least 20 of each in a game and the first since Sheila Foster posted 29 points and 22 boards against UCLA on Jan. 5, 1981. Only one of the previous six 20-20 games came against a ranked opponent – Katrina Anderson 32 points, 21 rebounds vs. #14 Memphis on March 10, 1978. Andreson posted two other 20-20 games during the 1977-78 season, and Denise Nanney achieved the marks twice during the 1974-75 season, the Gamecocks' first as an official member of the South Carolina Department of Athletics.
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