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Women’s Basketball: #4 South Carolina takes on #25 Kentucky in Lexington

The Gamecocks begin a two game road trip looking to avoid back-to-back losses.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Minnesota at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

When: Thursday, February 2nd @ 7:00 p.m. ET

Where: Memorial Coliseum, Lexington, KY

How to watch: SEC Network (Paul Sunderland, Gail Goesetenkors)

Broadcast: 1320 AM / 107.5 The Game (Brad Muller)

Still feeling salty after their Monday night loss to Tennessee, Dawn Staley’s crew hits the road looking to right the ship against a comparably angry Wildcats team trying to rebound from a loss of their own. Staley and her coaching staff will find out tonight if the unexpected, yet warranted loss to the Volunteers was a shot of motivation to improve or a sign of worse to come as the schedule hits the final month of the regular season.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Minnesota at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Three Point Preview:

  1. The matchup between South Carolina and Kentucky has evolved into one of the more intense conference rivalries for women’s hoops in the SEC. Both programs have situated themselves comfortably in the national ranking over recent seasons as this is the 11th straight meeting in which both teams will be ranked. The two teams also collectively possess four of the last five SEC regular season championship trophies. The Gamecocks endured repeated success against the Wildcats last year with three double-digit victories, but the margin was much closer than displayed in the final scores.
  2. Kentucky enters tonight’s game at 6-3 in conference play, good enough to be tied for third place in the current standings, despite a six point defeat at the hands of the resurgent Missouri Tigers Monday night. The loss further divides the ‘Cats’ success at home vs. on the road this season, posting a 12-2 record in Lexington as opposed to being just 3-5 on the road. The Wildcats are led by the senior, veteran duo of guard Makayla Epps and forward Evelyn Akhator. The two lead the team in scoring averaging 16.7 and 15.1 points per game respectively. While Epps and Akhator have provided a steady foundation for Kentucky during their time there, sophomore Taylor Murray is primed to take over the keys to the car. Murray is coming off an impressive 18 point, 13 rebound double-double against Missouri Monday night. Slowing those three ‘Cats down should be the Gamecocks’ focus Thursday.
  3. South Carolina junior point guard Bianca Cuevas-Moore has solidified herself as a consistent scoring threat for Dawn Staley’s offense in conference play thus far. Since splitting time with freshman point Tyasha Harris, Cuevas-Moore has been able to focus more on her scoring game, while leaving the assists up to Harris. Cuevas-Moore has positioned herself as the Gamecocks third-leading scorer, averaging nearly 12 points per game. Her scoring spike can be attributed to her recent success from behind the arc, averaging over 50% from three, even hitting a clutch one against Tennessee to tie and extend the game with less than 30 seconds remaining. The Gamecocks will look for Cuevas-Moore to continue to play under control, while serving as a viable offensive weapon Thursday night against Kentucky.