#3 South Carolina Women's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

South Carolina Gamecocks

Overall Rank: #3
Conference Rank: #1 SEC
#3 South Carolina Women's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview
South Carolina Team Page


Heading into the 2014-2015 campaign, South Carolina was billed as the team that could unseat Connecticut. And, for the most part they lived up to that hype. The Gamecocks did get a chance to play Connecticut in the regular season, but fell 87-62. The hoped rematch did not happen though. South Carolina lost a heartbreaker to Notre Dame in the Final Four for the right to play the Huskies for a championship. This group is not gaining quite as much preseason hype, but they should. South Carolina is the team to beat in the SEC and they will be awaiting revenge against Notre Dame and Connecticut in the NCAA Tournament.

2014-15 Record: 34-3, 15-1
2014-15 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Dawn Staley
Coach Record: 155-74 at South Carolina, 327-154 overall

Tiffany Mitchell is a two-time SEC Player of the Year and she will likely make it three in 2015-2016. The senior guard led the Gamecocks with 14.4 points per game and added 3.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.8 steals. Mitchell can do it all and she is a superb leader on the floor. Mitchell is also the team’s best three-point shooter, connecting on 41.6 percent of her 137 attempts. A’ja Wilson and Alaina Coates were also double digit scorers last season despite mostly coming in off of the bench. Wilson lived up to the hype and averaged 13.1 points and 6.6 rebounds as a freshman. She also blocked a team high 65 shots. And she did all of that in just 19.8 minutes per game. With a year of experience under her belt, expect even better things from Wilson this year. Coates, a 6-4 center, added 11.1 points and a team high 7.9 rebounds as a sophomore. Like Wilson, she too should step into the starting lineup this year. But starting or not, Wilson and Coates are two great players who are only getting better. South Carolina also added Virginia graduate transfer Sarah Imovbioh. Last season the 6-2 forward led the ACC in rebounding with 10.8 per game and added 12.6 points. If anybody could keep Wilson or Coates out of a starting job, it would be Imovbioh.

The loss of Aleighsa Welch and Elem Ibiam open up the starting spots for Wilson and Coates. However, the bigger concern could be in the backcourt where Coach Dawn Staley hopes to get more consistency from players like Khadijah Sessions and Asia Dozier. Sessions is the starting point guard and does need to be more of a shooting threat to be a complete point guard. Dozier is a big wing who likes to shoot over smaller defenders. Tina Roy has proven to be the more effective shooter though. The senior can provide a nice offensive spark off of the bench when her shot is falling. Sophomore Bianca Cuevas is a candidate to be a surprise player in 2015-2016. She showed glimpses of her potential as a freshman and will at least play solid defense.

Final Projection:
Once again this team will play tough defense and be extremely efficient offensively. They should also be one of the best rebounding teams in the country. That is enough to keep them in every game, including those big games against teams like Connecticut. Speaking of Connecticut, the Gamecocks do face them during the regular season on February 8th. This season South Carolina just hopes they will get another crack at the Huskies in March.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Khadijah Sessions, Senior, Guard, 4.5 points per game
Tiffany Mitchell, Senior, Guard, 14.4 points per game
Asia Dozier, Senior, Guard, 4.0 points per game
A’ja Wilson, Sophomore, Forward, 13.1 points per game
Alaina Coates, Junior, Center, 11.1 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 75.9 (18th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 54.1 (12, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 48.4 (4, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 34.9 (10, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.8 (194, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.9 (50, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.4 (215, 6)
Rebound Margin: 9.6 (10, 1)
Assists Per Game: 16.6 (15, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.3 (66, 3)

Madness 2016 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#2 Tiffany Mitchell


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