Readying to spend Thanksgiving weekend at the Paradise Jam against three undefeated teams with a combined record of 13-0, the South Carolina Gamecocks continued to take care of its own business with two resounding wins last week, earning them NCAA.com team of the week honors.
Improving to 6-0 with wins over USC Upstate (112-32) and Clemson (84-48) last week, South Carolina has sent early notice that it intends to contend for a top seed position in the 2020 NCAA tournament. The coming week will be telling for South Carolina as it faces No. 17 Indiana (4-0) on Thanksgiving, Washington State (4-0) on Friday and defending national champion and No. 2 Baylor (5-0) on Saturday, Nov. 30, with all Paradise Jam games being played in the St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.
The 112 points scored by the Gamecocks against USC Upstate on Nov. 21 were the most for a South Carolina team coached by Dawn Staley, passing the old record of 111 scored against Savannah State on Dec. 14, 2014. The team's 44 made field goals is also a new high for the Gamecocks under Staley, passing the old mark of 39 from three different games. Senior Tyasha Harris led the way with 18 points and became just the fourth Gamecock with over 1,000 points and 500 assists in their career. She was backed by freshman Alliyah Boston, who also scored 18 points and notched 10 rebounds for her third double-double, while also blocking three shots. Sophomore Destanni Henderson came off the bench to tally 15 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals.
In South Carolina’s win over Clemson on Nov. 24, the Gamecocks notched a 10th straight win over their in-state rival. Six Gamecocks finished in double figures with the frontcourt tandem of Mikiah Herbert Harrigan and Boston reaching a team-high 13 points each. Herbert Harrigan narrowly missed a double-double with nine rebounds, including five on the offensive end, and added a pair of blocks as well. Boston grabbed four rebounds, swiped three steals and blocked a shot, and has now cracked double figures in all six of her games as a Gamecock. South Carolina held Clemson to single-digit scoring in the first and third quarters, and for the season the Gamecocks have held opponents to single digits in a quarter 11 times in 24 quarters played.
South Carolina backs its fearsome defense with a balanced offense that ranks 10th nationally at 88.2 points per game. South Carolina has four players averaging double figures, with Boston leading the way at 13.7 points per game. Four times this season, at least six Gamecocks have scored in double figures, surpassing the 2014-15 team's three games of six double-figure scorers for the most in the Staley era.
The games against nationally ranked Indiana and Baylor this week will be the second and third top-25 games for South Carolina already this season. The Gamecocks had earlier scored a nine-point win over then-No. 4 Maryland (63-54) on the road back on Nov. 10.