#41 South Carolina Women's Basketball 2012-13 Preveiw

South Carolina Gamecocks

Overall Rank: #41
Conference Rank: #9 SEC
South Carolina Women's College Basketball 2012-2013 Team Preview
South Carolina Team Page


South Carolina reached the Sweet Sixteen last season but now have to replace four starters. However, their losses are a little misleading. This was a deep Gamecocks squad and five players return who averaged at least 11 minutes per game. Coach Dawn Staley had quality depth on last year’s squad and that quality depth is now ready to step up and become stars.

2011-12 Record: 25-10, 10-6
2011-12 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Dawn Staley
Coach Record: 67-58 at South Carolina, 239-138 overall

Ieasia Walker is the lone returning starter and the senior point guard is a great piece for South Carolina to build around. Walker dished out 3.2 assists per game and added 7.9 points. Walker is not much of a shooter, but she can keep the competition honest with her shooting ability. But more importantly Walker will need to find all of the new scorers. A couple of those scorers will be forwards Aleighsa Welch and Ashley Bruner. Welch, a 6-0 sophomore, averaged an impressive 7.6 points and 6.1 rebounds during her freshman campaign. Welch is already a great rebounder, but she could turn into a great interior scorer and a major defensive presence. The same can be said for Bruner. She is an experienced senior who is a fine defender and a very capable scorer. While Bruner is not as efficient in the scoring department as Welch, she is a fine scorer and will be a great complimentary player to Welch. Like Welch, Elem Ibiam is a sophomore who is ready to step up her game. The 6-3 center was quite productive when she was on the floor last year, which was not very often, but whenever she is on the floor South Carolina has a fine rebounder and a major presence in the paint. Add junior college transfer Wilka Montout to the mix and the frontcourt depth is in great shape even without Charenee Stephens.

The losses on the perimeter are extremely significant. Markeshia Grant and La’Keisha Sutton were the only two players on the team to average double figures in the scoring department. Courtney Newton was also a starter on the perimeter. Replacing those three will not be an easy task. Grant averaged 11.1 points per game and was easily the most efficient and effective outside shooter on the team. Coach Staley will have to find a new shooter if this group wants to get back to the Sweet Sixteen. The Gamecocks have four incoming freshmen and all four of them are guards ranked in the top 150 of the College Sports Madness recruit list. Shooting guards Tiffany Davis and Asia Dozier could make the biggest impact this year, but Khadijah Sessions and Tiffany Mitchell will be in the mix. Tina Roy and Sancheon White are the more experienced options. Roy is a tough 5-11 sophomore who will be asked to do more scoring. White is the more experienced senior who will have to join Walker as the senior leader on the perimeter. While the backcourt has options, replacing Grant and Sutton could be an issue all season long for the Gamecocks.

Final Projection:
This is a quality team with a slew of potential. Coach Staley will have to rely on underclassmen quite a bit, but they are a talented bunch. Their inexperience may be the only thing that stops South Carolina from being a very dangerous team in the SEC. However, the other thing that could put an end to any tournament hopes is the Gamecocks outside shooting. The team as a whole shot just 27.6 percent from beyond the arc last season and that was with Grant. Now that Grant is gone, this team has no proven shooters at all and it may take a freshman to shoot South Carolina into the big dance.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Ieasia Walker, Senior, Guard, 7.9 points per game
Tiffany Davis, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Tina Roy, Sophomore, Guard, 4.4 points per game
Aleighsa Welch, Sophomore, Forward, 7.6 points per game
Ashley Bruner, Senior, Forward, 7.2 points per game

Madness 2012 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#32 Tiffany Mitchell
#47 Khadijah Sessions
#66 Asia Dozier
#147 Tiffany Davis