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Women's Basketball

Rivalry Renewed as Gamecocks Head to Clemson Thursday
Nov. 15, 2017

#4/2 South Carolina at Clemson

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The women's basketball point in the Palmetto Series is up for grabs Thu., Nov. 16, when No. 4/2 South Carolina travels to Clemson for a 7 p.m. tipoff at Littlejohn Coliseum. The Gamecocks and Tigers are both 2-0 to open the season.

South Carolina Notables

As it has for the last four seasons, tonight's renewal of the South Carolina-Clemson rivalry reunites Virginia alumnae Dawn Staley and Audra Smith. The two head coaches were teammates on Virginia's 1989-92 teams, helping the Cavaliers to three NCAA Final Fours, including a spot in the 1991 championship game. In the head coaching battle, Staley has come out on top in each of their previous four meetings.
The winner of tonight's game will earn that school another point in the Certified SC Grown Palmetto Series between South Carolina and Clemson, which has been won by the Gamecocks in the last two seasons. The Gamecocks currently lead the 2017-18 Palmetto Series 4-2 with points available this month in women's basketball and football. The Gamecocks picked up points in cross country, women's soccer, women's golf and volleyball; while Clemson won its points in men's soccer and men's golf.
Twice a finalist for the three major national player of the year awards, A'ja Wilson entered her senior season with an even bigger target on her back as espnW named her Preseason Player of the Year. She is also on the Lisa Leslie Award watch list and the Wooden Award Preseason Top 30. The current SEC Player of the Week averages and SEC-best 24.0 points, 11.0 rebounds (4th in the league) and 3.5 blocks (20th in the nation) so far this season.
Quotable Dawn Staley on Wilson's 32-point effort at #15/13 Maryland: "She was A'ja Wilson, the country's best player. Time and time again she performs this way when the competition's at its greatest. So, I'm not surprised."

By the Numbers

2 Gamecocks shooting over 60.0 percent from the field this season -- Lindsey Spann (.611), Mikiah Herbert Harrigan (.692)
4 Gamecocks who have posted new career highs in scoring this season
5 Stats in which the Gamecocks rank among nation's top 20 -- scoring (12th, 96.5), scoring margin (20th, +38.0), blocks per game (10th, 8.5), free throws made (7th, 44) and free throw attempts (7th, 61)
9 30-point scoring games versus a ranked opponent in program history, two of which belong to senior forward A'ja Wilson

The Clemson Series

Contested at least once every season since 1975-76, the series is currently in the Tigers' favor 33-29, but the Gamecocks have won the last seven meetings, matching the longest win streak by either team in series history. Clemson hit that streak first, winning seven games from Feb. 6, 1996 through Nov. 28, 2001. South Carolina's seven straight wins have come by an average of 26.4 points with a high of 58 (99-41) on Nov. 20, 2014. Clemson's last win in the series was a double-overtime affair at Littlejohn, which the Tigers claimed 94-92 on Nov. 19, 2009. Growing up in nearby Hopkins, S.C., Gamecock senior A'ja Wilson knows the depth of the rivalry between the schools. In three games against the Tigers, she averaged 15.0 points and 6.7 rebounds. In last season's 83-61 win at Colonial Life Arena, the two-time SEC Player of the Year posted her first double-double against the Tigers with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Scouting the Tigers

Clemson picked up a pair of wins to start the season, out-scoring its opponents by 10.5 points per game. Two Tigers average in double-figure points -- sophomore post player Kobi Thornton (12.0) and junior guard Danielle Edwards (11.5). Offensively, the Tigers are still working through the system, averaging just 48.5 points per game on 34.4 percent shooting. But, they've picked up wins with a stingy defense that has allowed just 38.0 points per game on 24.1 percent shooting and forced 19.5 turnovers per game.

This is 30

With a career-high 32 points at No. 15/13 Maryland (Nov. 13), A'ja Wilson joined Shannon Johnson as the only Gamecocks to record multiple 30-point games against ranked opponents. The South Carolina senior forward's effort against Terrapins was just the ninth 30-point game against a ranked opponent in program history. Wilson and Kaela Davis each recorded one such game last season, the first new additions to the list since Feb. 15, 2996. Those two games along with Wilson's added entry this season are the only road games on the list. Davis' 37-point showing at No. 7/6 Ohio State is the highest-scoring game against a ranked opponent in program history.

Blocking Scheme

South Carolina ranks 10th in the nation with 8.5 blocked shots per game, which has been a pattern for the Gamecocks over the last few seasons. This season, however, the formula is slightly different. Instead of being dominated by two Gamecocks, six different members of the team have recorded at least one blocked shot this season. Senior forward A'ja Wilson leads the way with seven blocks through two games, which ranks her 20th in the nation with 3.5 blocks per game -- a number that is good for second in the SEC. Wilson broke the school record for career blocked shots early in her junior year (vs. Saint Peter's, Nov. 22). Now with 265 career blocks, she is the active SEC leader in the category as well.




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