South Carolina earned the program's first NCAA Tournament No. 1 seed, exceeding the previous best seed of No. 3 in the 2002 event. The Gamecocks are in their third-straight NCAA Tournament the program's longest stretch of appearances since the four-year stint 1988-91.
The Gamecocks won their first SEC regular-season championship this season, adding women's basketball to the seven other program's to claim SEC titles since joining the league in 1991-92. It is the program's sixth regular-season conference title in women's basketball, but the first in the SEC. The Gamecocks exceeded all expectations with the title as the coaches predicted a fifth-place finish for them and the media rated them seventh in their preseason poll.
South Carolina ranks among the nation's most efficient offenses, shooting 48.2 percent from the field, and stingiest defenses, yielding just 55.0 points per game. The Gamecocks do a bulk of their work inside, scoring 51.1 percent of their points in the paint and ranking second in the nation with 7.3 blocked shots per game.
A South Carolina Win Would...
Be the Gamecocks' fifth straight in an NCAA Tournament first-round game (2002, 2003, 2012, 2013)
Be the Gamecocks' 700th win in school history.
By the Numbers
1 Double-double needed by center Alaina Coates to tie the Gamecock freshman record for double-doubles in a season (9 by Kelsey Bone in 2008-09) 5 SEC Freshman of the Week selections for center Alaina Coates, the most ever by a Gamecock and tying the SEC record of five by LSU's Danielle Ballard (2013) and Georgia's Jasmine James (2010) 5 Different Gamecocks who have been the team's high scorer in a game this season - Alaina Coates, Asia Dozier, Elem Ibiam, Tiffany Mitchell and Aleighsa Welch 6 Gamecocks who have posted (or tied for) a team high in assists at least once this season - Mitchell, Dozier, Sessions, Welch, Roy, Gaines 8 Different Gamecocks who have scored in double figures at least once this season - Welch, Mitchell, Coates, Ibiam, Sessions, Dozier, Roy, Davis 12 Gamecocks all-time to record 1,000 points while also amassing at least 650 rebounds after the newest member, Aleighsa Welch, recorded her 1,000th point in the first 4:00 of the win at Kentucky (Feb. 20) 13 Weeks this season that South Carolina has been ranked among the AP top 10, including four among the top five 13 Rebounds needed by Aleighsa Welch to become the 15th Gamecock all-time to pull down at least 700 in her career, only five of which reached the mark in fewer than four seasons 13 Individual 20-point games this season by the Gamecocks - five each by Alaina Coates and Tiffany Mitchell and three by Aleighsa Welch 13 Games this season in which sophomore guard Tiffany Mitchell has had a hand in at least one-third of the offense (points plus assists) - highlighted by helping to deliver 52.2 percent of the Gamecocks' 69 points against Winthrop (Dec. 20) - during which the Gamecocks are 12-1 14 Games in which South Carolina has shot at least 50.0 percent from the field this season - including two games over 60.0 percent (Charleston Southern, Ole Miss) - after reaching the mark just 12 times in the previous five seasons under Staley 51.1 Percent of South Carolina's points this season scored in the paint (1,160 of 2,269), highlighted by scoring at least 50.0 percent of points in the paint in 16 games this season, including seven of at least 60.0 percent (Chas. Sthrn., 70.7%; at USC, 60.0%; UK, 61.8%; at Vandy, 75.4%; at UT, 75.4%; vs. UGA, 68.7%, 69.0% vs. UK) 57.6 Percent of South Carolina's field goals this season that have been assisted - the highest percentage of the Staley era 64 Blocked shots by center Alaina Coates this season, setting a new Gamecock freshman record and second in school history 76.5 Percent field goal shooting by junior center Elem Ibiam in the SEC Tournament, scoring a team-best 14.0 points per game 82 Blocks by junior center Elem Ibiam this season, resetting the school single-season record previously held by Lakesha Tolliver (60 in 2006-07) - her 129 career blocks rank are sixth (record is 177 by Tolliver) 225 Blocks by South Carolina this season, a new school record by 26 blocks (199 in 2006-07) 2,842 Driving miles between Columbia, S.C., and Seattle, Wash.
Cal State Northridge Series
The Gamecocks and Matadors have not met before in women's basketball. South Carolina has played just two other teams in the Big West Conference, posting a 3-1 record against Hawai'i (3-0) and UC Davis (0-1).
Talking Top 10
South Carolina is ranked No. 8 in the Associated Press poll this week, making it the 13th weeks this season in the top 10, including the last 11 polls. The mark surpasses the 1981-82 Gamecocks' school record of nine weeks in the top 10. South Carolina's highest ranking this season was No. 4, which it held for two weeks (Feb. 17, 24) and was the highest since the week of Jan. 10, 1982 (also No. 4). The program's highest ever rank was No. 2, which it held for three weeks in the 1981-82 season.
NCAA Tournament Tally
South Carolina is making its 11th NCAA Tournament appearance and its third in as many seasons - the program's longest consecutive stretch since the four-year stint 1988-91. The Gamecocks are 11-10 overall at the event, including 2012's 2-1 mark en route to the Sweet 16. The program's four Sweet 16 appearances include a run to the 2002 Elite Eight - the deepest into the event any South Carolina basketball team (men's or women's) has gone. The Gamecocks have won at least one game in the tournament in each of their last four appearances.
This season's No. 1 seed is the highest in school history. Prior to this season, the best seed the Gamecocks received was the No. 3 seed in the East Region in 2002. The seed afforded South Carolina the opportunity to host the first two rounds at Carolina Coliseum. From there, the Gamecocks reached the Elite Eight, the farthest into the tournament any Gamecock basketball - men's or women's - team has progressed. South Carolina lost to Duke 68-77 in that game (March 25, 2002).
South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley has taken a team to the NCAA Tournament eight times, including three South Carolina teams. She is 5-8 as a head coach at the event.
Over the last three seasons, two Gamecocks have especially thrived in postseason play as defined by the SEC and NCAA Tournaments. In a starting role for the first time this season, junior center Elem Ibiam's top-best 14.0 scoring average in this season's SEC Tournament was right in line with the increased production she has shown each of her last two seasons. In all, the 6-foot-4 Ibiam averages 8.6 points on 62.9 percent shooting in her now 11 postseason games, compared to her 5.9 points per game on 49.6 percent shooting in regular-season games over the same time span. She was especially effective in the 2013 postseason, during which she averaged 11.5 points over four games after closing the regular season with a 4.4 scoring average.
Redshirt sophomore Tina Roy is the other Gamecock who enjoys added success in postseason action and could be a wild card in South Carolina's success this season. In her two postseasons (did not play in 2012-13), Roy averages 6.0 points on 34.6 percent shooting versus her 3.8 points per game on 28.5 percent shooting during regular-season action.