Opponent: Seton Hall Date: Sunday, November 17, 2013, 3 p.m. Site: Columbia, S.C. Arena: Colonial Life Arena (18,000) Tickets: $7 adult, $4 youth (17 and under) TV: None Radio: WISW 1320 AM (Brad Muller); GamecocksOnline.com (Free) Live Video:GamecocksOnline.com (Free) Live Stats:GamecocksOnline.com Series History: SHU leads 2-1
South Carolina Notables
With 16 offensive rebounds through three games this season, junior Aleighsa Welch has moved into ninth in school history with 251 career offensive boards in just 68 games. She is nine away from eighth place.
South Carolina leads the SEC in rebounding margin (+21.0) and blocks per game (8.0) while ranking second in scoring margin (+40.0), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.8) and rebounding defense (30.7).
Junior Aleighsa Welch and freshman Alaina Coates rank among the SEC's top 14 in both scoring and rebounding so far this season. Welch reels in an SEC-best 11.7 rebound per game, following her career-high 17 against College of Charleston (Nov. 14), and is 15th in scoring with 13.7 points per outing. Coates comes in 11th in scoring with 14.3 per game and third in rebounding with a 10.3 average. She is the only SEC freshman to rank that high in both categories.
Junior Elem Ibiam leads the SEC in both an offensive and defensive stat - field goal percentage (.714) and blocks per game (3.7). Her perfect 7-of-7 shooting night against Charleston Southern (Nov. 8) tied for fourth in Colonial Life Arena history behind three former Gamecocks who were 8-of-8 in a home game. Her five blocks that night tied her career high and for fifth in arena history as well.
Sophomore guard/forward Asia Dozier's 3-point explosion against College of Charleston (Nov. 14) - a career-high four made - catapulted her up the SEC standings into 10th with 1.7 3s made per game.
A South Carolina Win Would...
Be the Gamecocks' second straight over Seton Hall and tie the all-time series between the two teams at two games each.
Bring head coach Dawn Staley to 96 wins at South Carolina, putting her five behind Pam Parsons (1978-82) for third all-time in Gamecock women's basketball history.
By the Numbers 0 Turnovers committed by redshirt sophomore Tina Roy against 11 assists, making her the SEC leader in assist-to-turnover ratio 1 Player who leads the SEC in both field goal percentage and blocks - Gamecock junior Elem Ibiam 2 Gamecocks among the SEC's top four in field goal percentage - Elem Ibiam (1st, .714) and Alaina Coates (4th, .600) 6 Games in the Dawn Staley era in which the Gamecocks have scored 80 or more points, including two this season 9 Made 3-pointers by the Gamecocks in the win over College of Charleston (Nov. 14), tying the Staley-era record 17 Individual career highs that were either tied or broken by returning Gamecocks in the win over College of Charleston (Nov. 14) 40.0 Points per game by which South Carolina has out-scored its opponents through three games this season to rank second in the SEC 42.7 Points per game the South Carolina defense has allowed through two games this season - the Gamecocks have ranked among the nation's top five in scoring defense each of the last two seasons 64.1 Percent of field goals made this season that have been assisted
Seton Hall Series Notes
The Pirates lead the series 2-1, although the Gamecocks won last year's meeting 55-42 in South Orange, N.J. Seton Hall won the first two games of the series during the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons - one on each team's home court.
In last season's win, Tiffany Mitchell and Aleighsa Welch posted double-doubles as the Gamecock defense stretched a two-point halftime lead into the double-digit victory. Six current Pirates played in that game with Alexis Brown's seven points and Janee Johnson's nine rebounds leading the effort of the returning group.
Scouting the Pirates
Seton Hall brings a perfect 3-0 record to Columbia after a three-game homestand that saw four Pirates emerge averaging double figures. In his first season at the helm, head coach Anthony Bozzella returns seven players from last season's 11-20 squad, including a pair of starters.
Redshirt junior guard Ka-Deidre Simmons is the top returning scorer from last season and is pouring in 16.3 points per game so far this year. Junior guard Alexis Brown is the other returning starter, though she has not played yet this season.
The Pirates' leading scorer early this season is sophomore forward Tabatha Richardson-Smith. Her 22.0 scoring average comes largely on the back of her career day against Rider, pouring in 30 points while grabbing nine rebounds and swiping a pair of steals in 35 minutes on the court. She followed that with 27 points against Weber State Friday night and is shooting 52.9 percent from the field through three games this the season.
Junior forward Bra'Shey Ali has been dominant on the glass so far this season. The 6-foot transfer is averaging 15.3 boards per game following her 17-rebound outing against Weber State. She is tied with senior forward Janee Johnson in scoring with 10.0 points per game.
As a team, the Pirates are scoring 75.7 points per game on 38.4 percent field goal shooting, including just a 22.2 percent showing from 3-point range. They pound the glass, though, out-rebounding opponents by 18.7 boards per game. Opponents have scored just 60.7 points per game on 32.7 percent shooting so far this season.
Bozzella is in his 22nd season as a head coach, returning to his alma mater in March 2013 after spending 11 seasons at Iona College, bringing his career record to 309-318.
The Gamecocks have won each of their three games this season by at least 20 points for the second time in as many seasons. South Carolina opened the 2012-13 campaign with four straight 20-point wins en route to nine games with that minimum margin - a Dawn Staley era record. The Gamecocks posted eight 20-point wins in 2011-12 after just two in 2010-11, one in 2009-10 and two in Staley's first season 2008-09.
Finding the Right Octave
South Carolina has scored at least 80 points in two of its three games so far this season after reaching the mark just four times in the first five seasons of the Dawn Staley era. This season's games are the first of the group to be played in Colonial Life Arena.
The Gamecocks are 5-1 in games in which they score 80 points with the lone loss coming in a double-overtime affair (94-92) at Clemson on Nov. 19, 2009. That is the only previous season in which the Gamecocks hit the 80-point plateau multiple times, adding an 80-68 victory at Alabama on Jan. 10, 2010.
Post Always Delivers
South Carolina has reaped the rewards of this season's new offensive strategy as post play has dominated the box score for the Gamecocks. The inside play of juniors Aleighsa Welch and Elem Ibiam and freshman Alaina Coates has yielded better field goal percentages - fourth in the SEC (.479). Through the first two games, the trio has accounted for 50.0 percent of the team's scoring (124 of 248 points) and is shooting a combined 67.1 percent from the field with Ibiam and Coates ranked among the SEC's individual top four in field goal percentage (Welch is one made basket shy of the minimum required to be ranked). South Carolina has scored 136 of its combined 248 points this season in the paint, including 70 of the 99 scored against Charleston Southern (Nov. 8) in the opener. As a team, South Carolina shot over 60.0 percent for the first time in the Staley era with 60.9 percent accuracy in the opener against Charleston Southern (Nov. 8).
A Little Help from My Friends
The Gamecock guards have been thriving in the assist category with the effectiveness of South Carolina's post players. Four different Gamecocks have handed out five or more assists in a game, headlined by Tina Roy's career-high seven against Charleston Southern (Nov. 8). Sophomore Asia Dozier tied her career high with five in that game, and junior transfer Olivia Gaines wasted no time setting her career mark at five that night as well. Against Louisiana Tech (Nov. 10), sophomore Khadijah Sessions handed out a career-high five assists to round out the quartet. The team's 25 assists against Charleston Southern (Nov. 8) was a Staley-era record.
The Gift of Glass
The Gamecocks have been a solid rebounding team under head coach Dawn Staley, but it was a team effort by an undersized roster in the past. This season, South Carolina is out-rebounding its opponents by an SEC-leading 21.0 boards per game behind the strength of the trio of Alaina Coates, Elem Ibiam and Aleighsa Welch. Welch leads the SEC with 11.7 boards per game, and Coates is close behind with 10.3 per game, slotting her in at third overall. Ibiam rounds out the group with 6.7 per contest.
South Carolina's 20.3 offensive rebounds per game rank third in the league, and the Gamecocks have turned them into 21.7 second-chance points per game. Welch and Coates pace the group with 5.3 and 4.7 per game, respectively, to each rank among the league's top five in the category.
In a pair of 6-foot-4 centers, the Gamecocks are a constant shot-blocking threat in the post and lead the SEC with 8.0 per game. Junior Elem Ibiam's 3.7 blocks per game lead the SEC as she got the season off to a solid start with five in the opener against Charleston Southern (Nov. 8), which matched her career high and the fifth-most in Colonial Life Arena history. She has blocked at least three in every game this season. Coates is among the SEC's top 10 as well, holding sixth place with 1.7 per game. She swatted away three against College of Charleston (Nov. 14).