If you haven't been following South Carolina's women's basketball team, Sunday would be a good day to start. The Gamecocks welcome the Missouri Tigers (14-7, 3-5) to the Colonial Life Arena as they try notch their 20th win of the season and move to 8-1 in SEC play and stay tied with Texas A&M in the conference standings. (The Aggies own a head-to-head win over the Gamecocks, a two-point overtime victory in College Station, Texas on Jan. 16.) Not only is USC hoping to keep its conference championship hopes alive, but a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament could be in play if the Gamecocks keep winning.
The South Carolina roster is populated by a wealth of exciting, young talent--the lone senior on the roster is forward Wilka Montout, who averages 11 minutes of playing time per game, many of which have been blowouts. Sophomore guard Tiffany Mitchell leads the team in scoring (15.3 ppg), assists (3.6), and steals (2.4) while hauling in an average of five rebounds per game. Junior Elem Ibiam and freshman Alaina Coates form a ferocious tandem of 6'4 centers who swat a large percentage of the shots (95 blocks between them) and combine for 36 percent of the team's total rebounds. And don't sleep on junior forward Aleigsha Welch, who averages a double-double in the Gamecocks' four contests against ranked opponents.
But if the prospect of witnessing--oh, I don't know--GREAT BASKETBALL doesn't quite do it for you, then perhaps the knowledge that you'll be in good company will sway you to attend. The No. 1 women's basketball recruit in the 2014 class, Heathwood Hall senior A'ja Wilson, will be attending the game as part of her official visit to South Carolina. As one might expect of the nation's best high school basketball player, she is also considering UConn, Tennessee, and UNC.
Dawn Staley has already put together an incredible group of talent--the current signing class is ranked No. 4 by ESPN--including three five-star prospects who are ranked in the top 44. Adding Wilson would be one hell of a cherry on top of an already great recruiting haul and show that the Gamecocks can defend their backyard from the best programs in the country.
Of course, it might be time to start thinking of South Carolina's program as being among that group.
How to witness
Game time: Sunday, Feb. 2, 3 p.m. EST
Location: Colonial Life Arena (18,000 capacity)
Tickets: $7 adult, $4 youth (17 and under)
Radio: WNKT 107.5 FM/WISW 1320 AM (Brad Muller)
Live Video: GamecocksOnline.com
Live Stats: GamecocksOnline.com
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