Three of the 25 games in the Dawn Staley era in which the Gamecocks have scored 70 or more points have come through the first four games of this season.
By the Numbers
4 Statistical categories in which South Carolina leads the SEC - scoring margin (+27.2), field goal percentage defense (.323), rebounding margin (+19.2) and offensive rebound percentage (.553)
4 Gamecocks averaging double-figure points this season - Bruner (14.0), Mitchell (12.0), Welch (10.8) and Walker (10.5)
9 Number of 3-pointers made by the Gamecocks against Savannah State (Nov. 15), tying for the most in the Dawn Staley era, most recently coming against Ole Miss on Jan. 26, 2012
25 Games in the Dawn Staley era in which the Gamecocks have scored 70 or more points, including the first three this season. The team is 22-3 in those contests.
33 Points that separated South Carolina from Elon in the home opener, the third-largest margin of victory in the Dawn Staley era and the team's fifth margin of victory to exceed 30 points since the start of the 2011-12 season
53 Rebounds by the Gamecocks against Elon, tied for the most in the Dawn Staley era, matching the effort against Brown on Dec. 29, 2009
82 Points scored by the Gamecocks at Louisiana Tech, the third-highest scoring game in the Staley era
DePaul is the lone team the Gamecocks take on this weekend that they have faced before. The series between the Blue Demons and Gamecocks is even a 2-2, although the teams have not played since the 1980s. The teams first met in Chicago on Jan. 13, 1982, with DePaul coming out on top, 80-72. on its home floor. The Gamecocks hosted the Blue Demons for the next three games of the series, winning the first and last of the stretch. The final meeting was an 85-56 South Carolina victory on March 1, 1989, in Columbia.
Living in Paradise
This marks the Gamecocks' third season participating in the Paradise Jam and the second under head coach Dawn Staley. South Carolina debuted in the event in 2002, winning both its games. In 2009-10 with Staley at the helm, the Gamecocks went 1-2 against a trio of top-25 teams. They capped the tournament with the first win over a nationally ranked team in the Dawn Staley era, a 58-55 victory over 23rd-ranked San Diego State.
With a complementary blend of youth and experience, South Carolina opened the season 4-0 for the first time since the 2002-03 team won its first eight contests. The Gamecocks have shown they have an array of offensive weapons this season while the defense has dropped off very little from last season's NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 effort. South Carolina has posted three of the 25 games in the Dawn Staley era of 70 or more points this season, including three straight for the first time in her fifth season at the helm. Defensively, the Gamecocks have held three of their four opponents this season under 50 points and limited two of the four to under 30 percent field goal shooting.
Now in Neutral
In its 39th season of women's basketball, South Carolina is 87-77 all-time in neutral site games. That record includes a 53-41 mark in regular-season tournaments. Current head coach Dawn Staley is 5-5 in regular-season neutral site games and 9-10 in neutral games overall in her fifth season leading the Gamecocks.
South Carolina is 78-39 (.667) all-time in games played in November. That total includes a 40-10 record (.800) at home and a 22-17 mark (.564) on the road. Head coach Dawn Staley accounts for a 19-10 record (.655) in the first month of the season.
Prior to the season, head coach Dawn Staley talked about her reservations about her team's ability to rebound without the traditional physically imposing frontline. The Gamecocks have shaken off that criticism, and the team's concerted effort to crash the boards has South Carolina leading the SEC in rebounding margin at +19.2. In fact, the Gamecocks are far ahead of the pack as second-ranked Georgia comes in with a +9.2 rebounding edge. In the Staley era, South Carolina has posted a +20 or better rebounding margin five times, including twice this season, led by the Nov. 15 matchup with Savannah State in which the Gamecocks out-boarded their opponent by 24. Against Clemson on Nov. 18, South Carolina faced an taller team for the first time and still snagged 18 more rebounds than the Lady Tigers.
The numbers for the Gamecocks are not just about volume either. They reflect the tenacity with which the team pursues the carom. South Carolina is the only SEC team to rank among the league's top six in both offensive and defensive rebound percentage. The Gamecocks lead the league in pulling down 55.3 percent of its own missed shots (89 of 161) and are second in reeling in 70.8 percent of its opponents misses (102 of 144).
With arguably the best point guard in international women's basketball history at the helm, South Carolina has been at its best when its assist numbers are highest. In the Dawn Staley era (2008-09 through present), the Gamecocks are 50-18 when handing out 10 or more assists, including a perfect 3-0 mark this season. When missing the 10-assist plateau, South Carolina is just 19-41 overall with Staley.
The Gamecocks have handed out 15 or more assists in three of the first four games this season and have assisted on 54.9 percent of their total field goals (62 assists on 113 made field goals). At Louisiana Tech (Nov. 12), South Carolina amassed 20 assists on its 30 made baskets.
High Octane Offense
South Carolina's offense has been clicking early this season with the Gamecocks averaging 75.2 points through the first four outings. In head coach Dawn Staley's fifth season, South Carolina has scored 70 or more points just 25 times, including three of the first four games this season, in her 129 games at the helm with a 22-3 record in those high-scoring outings. The Gamecocks posted 70 or more points just five times last season, including the first two games of the NCAA Tournament. The high flying offense has been almost just as likely to come out on the road as it has at Colonial Life Arena with 15 of the contests played at home (13-2), six on the road (6-0) and four at neutral sites (3-1).
Sharing the Load
With five active returning players and five newcomers on this season's roster, South Carolina has to rely on the talent of its youth this season, especially early, and so far, the quintet is doing a nice job of sharing the load. Through the first four games, returning Gamecocks are the leaders in the major statistical categories - points per game (Ashley Bruner, 14.0), rebounds per game (Aleighsa Welch, 8.8) and assists per game (Ieasia Walker, 5.3). But the newcomers have accounted for 41.9 percent of the team's scoring (126 of 301 points) and 36.9 percent of the rebounding (62 of 168 boards). One of the four Gamecocks currently averaging double-figure points is a freshman (Tiffany Mitchell, 12.0 ppg) and two of the top five rebounders on the squad are first-year Gamecocks as well (Mitchell 5.3 rpg, Asia Dozier 5.0 rpg).