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South Carolina women’s basketball #1 seed in 2017 NCAA Tournament; will open against UNC Asheville in Columbia

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The Gamecocks grab a top seed for the fourth straight year.

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

After winning the SEC Tournament in Greenville last Sunday, the South Carolina Gamecocks were rewarded with one of the NCAA Tournament field’s top four seeds. The #1 seed in the Stockton regional will open against 16-seed UNC Asheville on Friday at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia and will host the first two rounds through Sunday.

The Gamecocks will be out to erase last year’s memories of what turned out to be a disappointing tournament run by their standards. After a Women’s Final Four appearance in 2014-15, they ended up losing in the Sweet 16 against Syracuse as the Orange ended up making a Cinderella run to the national championship game. Can the Gamecocks go on a deep run of their own and send senior Alaina Coates out as a champion? Whoever does end up holding up the trophy in Dallas on April 2 will likely have to get through UConn, the overall #1 seed that is looking for its fifth straight title and their twelfth overall.

Despite the Gamecocks’ seeding, Dawn Staley wasn’t thrilled with where the committee placed them.

UNC Asheville (19-14) punched their ticket into the NCAA Tournament as the Big South champion, gaining the conference’s automatic bid. The winner of the Gamecocks/Bulldogs matchup will take on Arizona State or Michigan State on Sunday, with the victor of that one advancing to the Sweet 16 in Stockton.