The Gamecock women’s basketball team will play their first game of the regular season on the road against non-conference opponent Alabama State University today.
[fun fact: Alabama State head coach Freda Freeman-Jackson is the mother of Gamecock guard Bianca Jackson #ActionJacksons]
Some of the jitters have been worked out in the aforementioned preseason games; T’ea Cooper and Bianca Cuevas-Moore are returning from injuries and team newcomers Nelly Perry (grad transfer), Elysa Wesolek, Destanni Henderson, and Victaria Saxton (freshmen) are learning themselves and each other as the roster begins to mesh.
Excitement is building in the #GHive and #GamecockNation, as this game officially counts toward the Holy Grails of both the SEC championship (which the Gamecocks have won four times in a row before last season) and the NCAA championship (which the Gamecocks won in 2017).
The last time these two teams met was their first time on November 10, 2017, at Colonial Life Arena; South Carolina blew them out 99-31. Alabama State finished last season with an 8-22 overall record (6-12 conference) and fell to Texas Southern in the quarterfinals of the 2018 Southwest Athletic Conference (SWAC) tournament. This season, their 2018-19 roster boasts eight (count ‘em) freshmen and two true seniors plus a red-shirt junior/academic senior. Should be a cakewalk for the Gamecocks, right?
But, but, but...Freeman-Jackson hasn’t survived as head coach for 19 seasons without being savvy. Plus, the Lady Hornets were 14-16 overall (12-6 conference) in 2016-17 and 19-12 (14-4 conference) in 2015-16, so last season could be considered somewhat of a blip on Alabama State’s radar. ‘Bama State is also a guard-heavy team, so there will be more equitable matchups. The Gamecocks cannot be complacent; the past is not necessarily prologue (though it’s a pretty fair bet that South Carolina will pick up the win).
Alexis Jennings did not play in the exhibition game against Lander, but will probably suit up against ‘Bama State. Cooper had a strong showing against Lander; expect her to put up more solid minutes. And it will be fun to see Jackson square off against her mom’s squad again.
The Gamecocks will take on the Lady Hornets at 4:00 pm ET (3:00 pm CT) at the Dunn-Oliver Acadome in Montgomery, AL. Tickets are $10 general admission and $15 reserved and can be purchased here if you’re in the area. Gamecock fans who can’t attend the game can listen live at Gamecocks Online.
Thanks for stopping by.