#3 South Carolina Women's Basketball 2016-2017 Preview

South Carolina Gamecocks
Overall Rank: #3
Conference Rank: #1 SEC
South Carolina was upset in the Sweet 16 by Syracuse and that was extremely disappointing for a squad that lost just one game prior to the tournament, against Connecticut, and cruised through the tough SEC with a perfect 16-0 record. Three starters are gone, including Tiffany Mitchell, so Coach Dawn Staley has some work to do, especially in the backcourt.
2015-16 Record: 33-2, 16-0
2015-16 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Dawn Staley
Coach Record: 188-76 at South Carolina, 360-152 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Tiffany Mitchell, Guard, 15.1 ppg
Khadijah Sessions, Guard, 6.7 ppg
Asia Dozier, Guard/Forward, 3.1 ppg
Tina Roy, Guard, 5.8 ppg
Sarah Imovbioh, Forward, 4.2 ppg
Jatarie White, Forward, 3.0 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
A’ja Wilson, Junior, Forward, 16.1 ppg
Aliaina Coates, Senior, Center, 12.0 ppg
Bianca Cuevas-Moore, Junior, Guard, 6.7 ppg
Doniyah Cliney, Sophomore, Guard, 3.1 ppg
Tiffany Davis, Senior, Guard, injured last season
Key New Players
Araion Bradshaw, Freshman, Guard
Victoria Patrick, Freshman, Guard
Tyasha Harris, Freshman, Guard
Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, Freshman, Forward
Kaela Davis, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Georgia Tech
Alisha Gray, Junior, Guard, Transfer from North Carolina
Alexis Jennings, Junior, Forward, Transfer from Kentucky, not eligible
The frontcourt is loaded with A’ja Wilson and Alaina Coates leading the way. Wilson led the Gamecocks with 16.1 points and 3.1 blocks and added 8.7 rebounds. The 6-5 junior is nearly impossible to stop in the paint. Coates, a 6-4 senior, averaged 12.0 points and 10.1 rebounds. With those two taking the reins, South Carolina is in great shape to win the SEC again. Bianca Cuevas-Moore, Doniyah Cliney and Tiffany Davis will have to provide experience on the perimeter and help replace the trio of starters. Freshmen Tyasha Harris, Araion Bradshaw and Mikiah Herbert Harrigan will make an impact right away, but the bigger newcomers are transfers Kaela Davis, from Georgia Tech, and Alisha Gray, from North Carolina. They were both All-ACC honorees during the 2014-2015 campaign.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.6 (33rd in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 55.7 (25, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.6 (16, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 34.7 (11, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.4 (175, 6)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.1 (127, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 66.5 (258, 10)
Rebound Margin: 7.7 (23, 1)
Assists Per Game: 14.7 (71, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.5 (75, 1)
Madness 2017 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#1 Alaina Coates
Madness 2016 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#20 Tyasha Harris
#50 Araion Bradshaw
#64 Mikiah Harrigan