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Women's Basketball

Gamecocks Close Pre-Holiday Schedule at Temple
Dec. 20, 2017

#4/5 South Carolina at Temple

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- In its final game before the holiday break, No. 4/5 South Carolina travels to head coach Dawn Staley's hometown of Philadelphia to take on her former team, Temple. Tipoff a Liacouras Center is at 7 p.m. on Thu., Dec. 21, with the game airing on ESPN3.

South Carolina Notables

With a win tonight, Staley will stand alone as the Gamecocks winningest head coach. The victory would be her 232nd in her 10th season in Columbia, passing 13-year Gamecock mentor Nancy Wilson's 231.
Six Staley products have become WNBA Draft selections in her 17 seasons as a head coach. Tonight's honoree Candice Dupree was her first, and she has since seen five Gamecocks selected, including four taken in the top 10. Of the six draftees, four earned spots on the WNBA All-Rookie Team, including Dupree and 2017 WNBA Rookie of the Year Allisha Gray.
Tonight's game features two of the just five players in NCAA Div. I to rank among the top 50 in both scoring and rebounding this season -- South Carolina's A'ja Wilson (3rd, 24.2 ppg; 18th, 10.7 rpg) and Temples Tanaya Atkinson (4th, 23.9 ppg; 12th 11.4 rpg).
With 14 points and 12 assists against Savannah State, sophomore guard Tyasha Harris became the first Gamecock to record multiple points-assists double-doubles in a season since Cristina Ciocan posted five, including one triple-double, in 2003-04.
Junior forward Alexis Jennings quickly established her presence in the paint and has seen that grow with two double-doubles in her last three outings. Her physical play and 64.4 percent shooting accuracy make it difficult for opponents to double-team off her as well.
Senior forward A'ja Wilson moved into the Gamecocks' top five all-time scorers with now 1,908 points in her career. She needs just 31 more to move into fourth-place on that list. Her career-long dominance has her on pace to become just the Gamecock to amass 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in her career. She is currently fifth on the career rebounds list at 922.

By the Numbers

1 SEC team shooting at least 50.0 percent from the field this season -- South Carolina at 50.9

3 SEC individual stats led by Gamecocks -- A'ja Wilson (ppg), Tyasha Harris (apg, spg) -- more than any other team

3.2 Points per game by which A'ja Wilson leads the SEC (24.2 ppg vs. 21.0 for Texas A&M's Chennedy Carter)

5 Consecutive games in which sophomore guard Tyasha Harris has handed out at least five assists, including two games of 10 or more

7 Games this season that South Carolina has allowed fewer than 60 points

55.1 Percent of the Gamecocks' field goals that have been assisted this season

71.7 Percent of the Gamecocks' made field goals this season that have come in the paint

The Temple Series

South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley has been involved in both meetings between the Gamecocks and Owls, but she was on the other sideline for both. The Gamecocks played a home-and-home series with Temple in the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons, claiming both contests. The Owls gave then-No. 23 South Carolina a tough battle in the opener in Columbia (12/4/01), but the home team escaped with a 68-65 victory. On their return trip to Philadelphia, the then-No. 18 Gamecocks delivered a 57-39 decision (12/27/02).

Road Ready

The Gamecocks are 240-248 all-time in true road games, including a 68-37 (.648) mark under head coach Dawn Staley. In SEC action, Staley is 43-26 (.623) through her first nine seasons at South Carolina.

RPI Rating

In this week's RPI summary, South Carolina is 10th in the nation. The Gamecocks are just behind Mississippi State in RPI among SEC programs, and the league has the highest RPI in the nation. South Carolina's two wins against top-25 RPI teams is tied with Mississippi State and Missouri for the league lead.

All-Around A'ja

outh Carolina senior forward A'ja Wilson. Averaging 24.2 points, 10.7 rebounds and 2.7 blocks, she ranks third, 18th and 15th in the nation in those categories, respectively, making her the only player in the nation to be in the top 50 of all three categories. Only five players in the nation are among the top 50 in both scoring and rebounding, and just two others join Wilson ranked in the top 25 of both categories -- Megan Gustafson, Iowa (21.8/12.3) and Tanaya Atkinson, Temple (23.9/11.4)

Sophomore Surge

Preseason All-SEC Second-Team selection Tyasha Harris is in a sophomore surge, not a slump, in her second season with the Gamecocks. Challenged by her head coach to expand her game now that "the novelty has worn off," Harris aims at blending more of the scoring prowess she showed in high school (23.5 ppg) with the unselfish court vision she displayed last season when she was 14th in the SEC with 3.2 assists per game. So far so good for Harris' goals. She averages 9.8 points per while leading the SEC in assists per game (6.0) and steals per game (3.3), both numbers that rank among the top 20 in the nation. Harris has two double-doubles this season -- vs. Western Carolina (Nov. 30, 10 pts/10 assts) and vs. Savannah State (Dec. 17, 14 pts/12 assts) -- becoming the first Gamecock to post a double-double with assists since Samone Kennedy posted 10 points and 10 assists at Florida on Feb. 24, 2008.




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