It has been a story of two seasons for South Carolina.
The Gamecocks had a dominant 27-1 common season however flamed out of the SEC match, dropping to Kentucky. That they had a formidable redemption win in opposition to Stanford, the group that knocked them out of the Closing 4 final 12 months, then adopted that sport up with a loss to Mizzou. Even on this NCAA match, the Gamecocks had a formidable 79-21 victory in opposition to Howard, and adopted it up with a lackluster 49-33 win.
Should you’re a doubter of South Carolina, you might have loads of speaking factors. Should you’re a believer in South Carolina, you might have loads of of proof backing up your declare. All of it involves a head proper now within the NCAA match, and we can have our reply quickly sufficient. Thus far, given the standard of this group, the flexibility they’ve proven to persevere throughout troublesome moments, and with the steerage of coach of the 12 months candidate Daybreak Staley, the No. 1 ranked Gamecocks are nonetheless the group to beat.
Highs And Lows
They are saying dropping builds character. Going by challenges and combating previous adversity makes you extra ready to beat it. The Gamecocks have had their fair proportion of adversity this 12 months. It actually started final season; they misplaced a heartbreaker to Stanford 66-65 within the Closing 4.
Semifinals recap ‼️@autumnjohnsontv recaps the 2021 Girls’s Closing 4 motion, together with No. 1 Stanford defeating No. 1 South Carolina and No. 3 Arizona upsetting No. 1 UConn to advance to championship sport on Sunday.#ncaaW pic.twitter.com/HdYz0ZYcdO
— NCAA March Insanity (@MarchMadnessWBB) April 3, 2021
This loss was a heartbreaker; the Gamecocks have been simply an Aliyah Boston tip-in away from profitable that sport and heading to the NCAA championship, placing themselves in place to probably repeat subsequent month. Within the postgame presser, coach Daybreak Staley had some clever phrases about her group and this second.
“I’m tremendous pleased with our gamers… each single time we have a setback, we’ve gotten higher. Sadly, this setback is a whole offseason, however we are going to get higher. “
Higher certainly. This season South Carolina improved to 31-2 and avenged its loss in opposition to Stanford, beating the Cardinals 65-61 in December. The sport was one other basic matchup. Stanford took management within the first half, however this time the Gamecocks rose to the problem and got here out with a dominant third quarter, outscoring Stanford 22-7, taking management of the sport, and overcoming the 18-point deficit. The victory was part of a formidable 12-0 begin to the season when the Gamecocks beat groups corresponding to Oregon, Maryland, NC State, and UConn. This begin put away any doubt that South Carolina was a high contender this 12 months.
Nonetheless, the excessive shortly grew to become a low, with the Gamecocks dropping their subsequent sport in opposition to Missouri. It was a disappointing 70-69 extra time loss. The group shot poorly from the sector (38.2 %), poorer from three (28.6 %), and misplaced in opposition to an unranked group that didn’t even make the NCAA Event.
How did South Carolina reply to this embarrassing loss? By operating the desk by the remainder of the common season. The Gamecocks went on to win seventeen in a row. That profitable streak took them to the SEC match championship sport, the place they confronted Kentucky. Now that did end in a disappointing loss in opposition to the Wildcats, as South Carolina as soon as once more struggled to attain, mustering up simply seven factors within the second quarter and 7 factors within the fourth. It looks as if each time the Gamecocks have gotten the unanimous favourite, they’ve a setback that places doubt in skeptic’s minds.
Dropping a sport of this magnitude proper earlier than the NCAA match might devastate a group and set them up for an early exit. However identical to Rocky Balboa, each time South Carolina will get hit, the group will get again up. The Gamecocks took this disappointment and turned it into a press release win in opposition to Howard, blowing the Bison out and holding them to a mind-boggling 4 factors on the half.
South Carolina has a resiliency solely disappointment and loss can foster. The toughness undoubtedly comes from their very own Philadelphia-born and bred chief, coach Daybreak Staley. She’s turned the Gamecocks right into a powerhouse and has helped construct a roster that is deep from high to backside.
A Full Group
You do not have a group nearly as good as South Carolina does with out having some skilled prospects on the roster. For the Gamecocks, that is Aliyah Boston, Zia Cooke, and Destanni Henderson. They don’t seem to be solely gamers who’ve brilliant futures previous the collegiate sport, however they’re the center and soul of this group. Henderson is capturing 38.6 % from three and main the group in assists. Zia Cooke averages 10.9 factors per sport, and Aliyah Boston leads the group in factors and rebounds, averaging 16.4 and 12.1, respectively. This trio is on the high of its sport, and containing them has develop into a near-impossible job.
This is not only a group with stars; it is a group with a deep bench. They’ve All-American expertise up and down the roster, together with gamers like Future Littleton, a participant who hasn’t began a single sport for South Carolina however is the group’s spark plug. She is available in and robotically provides the group offense and tenacity. She’s solely averaging 10 minutes a sport, however she stays prepared and performs nicely when referred to as upon.
Do not forget that sport in opposition to Stanford? She did not play within the first half however performed nearly each minute of the second. She knocked down a few threes, grabbed some boards, and did the soiled work wanted to get the win. You want stars like Boston to be a high group, however you want gamers like Littleton to go from contenders to champions.
The Gamecocks even have probably the most dependable protection within the nation, ranked no. 1 in Division I in opponent factors per 100 possessions. South Carolina set a brand new report for fewest factors allowed within the first two NCAA match video games, conceding solely 54. In a single-elimination match when all varieties of wild issues can occur, having a world-class protection is one of the best ways to make sure you don’t go away the large dance early.
Job Not Completed
Regardless of all of the ups and downs, South Carolina has its essential objective nonetheless nicely inside attain. The Gamecocks’ve been the primary ranked group all 12 months lengthy, and now they’ve to complete the job. The percentages are stacked in opposition to each group, however given their three stars, a stacked bench, phenomenal teaching, and the adversity they’ve confronted this season, I would not guess in opposition to South Carolina. The group is heading in the direction of being traditionally good, and each sport they play any further is must-watch TV. I recommend you do not miss it.