#1 South Carolina Women's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

South Carolina Gamecocks
Overall Rank: #1
Conference Rank: #1 SEC
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Following two seasons in which South Carolina did not win the SEC, the Gamecocks returned to dominance in 2019-2020. Coach Dawn Staley’s team went 16-0 in conference play and 32-1 on the season. Their lone loss came in November against Indiana. They beat the likes of Maryland, Baylor and Connecticut last year, not to mention everybody in the SEC. Heading into 2020-2021, South Carolina is the clear team to beat in the nation. Two starters are gone, but everybody else is back and this group should pick up right where they left off.
2019-20 Record: 32-1, 16-0
Coach: Dawn Staley
Coach Record: 305-98 at South Carolina, 477-178 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Mikiah Herbert-Harrigan, Forward, 13.1 ppg
Tyasha Harris, Guard, 12.1 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Ailyah Boston, Sophomore, Forward, 12.5 ppg
Zia Cooke, Sophomore, Guard, 12.1 ppg
Destanni Henderson, Junior, Guard, 8.6 ppg
LeLe Grissett, Senior, Guard, 6.4 ppg
Brea Beal, Sophomore, Guard, 6.2 ppg
Victoria Saxton, Junior, Forward, 5.5 ppg
Laeticia Amihere, Sophomore, Forward, 4.9 ppg
Olivia Thompson, Sophomore, Guard, 1.7 ppg
Elysa Wesolek, Junior, Forward, 1.4 ppg
Key New Players
Destiny Littleton, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Texas
Eniya Russell, Freshman, Guard
Coach Staley started three freshmen last year and that trio is suddenly experienced sophomores who will be the leaders of this team. Ailyah Boston proved to be a massive force in the paint, averaging 12.5 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. Zia Cooke averaged 12.1 points per game during her freshman campaign and knocked down a team high 40 three-pointers. Brea Beal did not make much of an impact in the scoring department, but she will get an opportunity to look for her shot more this time around. Laeticia Amihere only averaged 13.0 minutes per game as a freshman, but she has the potential to team up with Boston to form a solid frontcourt duo. Junior Victoria Saxton will be asked to play more in the frontcourt as well in an effort to replace Mikiah Herbert-Harrigan. Junior Destanni Henderson should step into a larger role this season as well after averaging 8.6 points and 2.9 assists off the bench in 2019-2020. Texas transfer Destiny Littleton is coming off a couple ankle injuries, but she could give the Gamecocks a much needed outside shooting threat if healthy. Incoming freshman Eniya Russell has the talent to make an impact right away, but there is more than enough talent on this team to not have to rely on their only freshman on the roster. With this much talent and experience, South Carolina should cruise to an SEC title and be in a great position to win another national championship.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 82.0 (6th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 56.1 (20, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.0 (10, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 33.3 (4, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.1 (247, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.9 (40, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.8 (171, 8)
Rebound Margin: 12.4 (3, 1)
Assists Per Game: 16.1 (26, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.5 (41, 5)
Madness 2020 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#37 Eniya Russell