No one wants to end 2015 on a negative note, right? Of course not! While there were several low moments for South Carolina athletics in the past 52 weeks, we also celebrated a number of high moments, too. Here are just a few of those moments, and of course, if you feel one should have been put on the list, reach out to us and let us know.
5. Baseball tops #1 LSU, 10-7, at Carolina Stadium
Well, it wasn't a very good season for the baseball team. They ended up missing regionals for the first time since 1999 and only managed to finish seven games over .500, far from ideal for one of college baseball's national powers. But in a season of disappointment, May 14's game against the then-top-ranked and eventual College World Series qualifier Tigers shone the brightest. South Carolina trailed, 6-2, heading into the bottom of the sixth - but stormed back with four runs in both the sixth and seventh to take a 10-6 lead into the eighth. LSU did get the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, but Reed Scott slammed the door to give the Yardcocks their biggest win of the year.
4. Jeffrey Torda breaks Twitter, lands on #SCTop10
Um...yeah. Just watch.
3. Men's basketball storms out of the gate, reaches Top 25 for first time in 11 years
Nationally-ranked. When it comes to South Carolina, that's usually reserved for the baseball, football and women's basketball teams. But while women's hoops has certainly held up their end of the bargain, it's the men that have come off the starting blocks in a big way. As of this writing, Frank Martin's team was 20th in the coaches' poll and 24th in the AP media poll and were 12-0 after a 78-56 victory over Francis Marion in their penultimate non-conference contest. While it's not a specific "moment", per se, it's been a series of moments that have gotten the men to where they are at this point in time. Will this be the year they finally break through in the SEC and go toe-to-toe with the Kentuckys and Floridas of the world? Time will tell, but Martin's got the guys playing some good ball thus far.
2. Women's basketball reaches first Final Four in program history
It probably was only a matter of time before the ladies reached the Women's Final Four given their steady improvement under Dawn Staley. And as it turned out, 2015 was the year as the Gamecocks raced to a 34-3 record, won the SEC Tournament, and clinched a top seed in their region in the NCAA Tournament as they easily disposed of Savannah State and Syracuse at the CLA. After surviving a pair of close calls to North Carolina and Florida State in the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight, respectively, it was on to Tampa where second-seeded Notre Dame awaited. But the dream of the program's first title ended with a tough 66-65 loss to the Fighting Irish. The 2014-15 season raised the bar for the women's team (their 12-0 start and current #2 ranking has them looking in good shape) - and they're slowly but surely being mentioned in the same breath as UConn, Tennessee, Baylor and other national powers.
1. South Carolina, Clemson bands come together to honor memory of Charleston Nine and flood victims
Any other year, Carolina's Women's Final Four appearance would have been the top moment for the Gamecocks athletic department. But as we know, it was far from "any other year" in the Palmetto State. When a gunman opened fire on a Charleston church this past summer, killing nine, or when historic floods ravaged a good portion of the Midlands and Upstate, there were no Gamecocks fans or Tigers fans. No, we were all simply South Carolinians. That spirit was captured during halftime of the Clemson/South Carolina game at Williams-Brice Stadium last month when the bands of both schools came together, both literally and figuratively, in memory of the lives lost in the tragic events of the past year.