Colonial Life Arena Sold-out for Sunday Unbeatens Matchup, #1 South Carolina hosting #3 LSU

Brea Beal

COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 1/1 South Carolina hosts #3/2 LSU Sunday at 2 p.m. on ESPN in a top-three battle in a sold-out Colonial Life Arena. The Gamecocks and Tigers are the last two undefeated college women’s basketball teams of the season.

Due to the sell out, all three entrances of Colonial Life Arena – main (by the fountain), Lincoln Street and College Street – will open at 12:30 p.m.

The LSU Series
The Tigers lead the overall series 22-17, but the Gamecocks have won the last 13. South Carolina has won the last seven meetings in Columbia, including one played in the Carolina Coliseum in the 2012-13 season. 

The last three meetings were decided by single digits, including last season’s 66-60 South Carolina victory in Baton Rouge on Jan. 6, 2022.

By the Numbers

3 – Aliyah Boston needs three blocked shots to tie A’ja Wilson for the program record for career blocks in SEC play (158).

7 – Against ranked opponents, seven Gamecocks play at least 15 minutes per game. On the season, that number rises to nine.

34 – Aliyah Boston has posted 34 double-doubles in her 47 career games against ranked opponents (.723).

Gamecock Notables

  • South Carolina’s five wins over ranked opponents this season are third-most in the country. The Gamecocks lead the nation in road ranked wins with three.
  • Four of the SEC’s top five rebounders in league play are from todays’ two teams. South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston (10.3) and Kamilla Cardoso (7.8) are second and third, respectively, in those standings. 
  • The Gamecocks are scoring 11.4 points per game more this season than their 2022 National Championship season, thanks in large part to the five returning bench players who are averaging a cumulative 11.3 points per game more this season. Sania Feagin (+4.7) and Cardoso (+4.3) have made the biggest leaps.
  • South Carolina ranks 12th in the country in free throw attempts per game (22.6) and 15th in made free throws per game (15.8).
  • Reigning National Player of the Year Aliyah Boston is the only player ranked in the nation’s top five in both offensive (4th) and defensive (3rd) player rating, leading the SEC in both rankings. (Her Hoop Stats)
  • All-America candidate Zia Cooke’s 40.5 field goal percentage is the best of her career and includess 42.9 percent shooting in SEC action.
  • Cardoso, a Sixth Woman of the Year candidate,  averages nearly a double-double against ranked opponents (11.6 ppg, 9.0 rpg) despite averaging just 16.8 minutes in those outings.
  • Freshman of  the Year candidate Raven Johnson is 10th in the nation in assist-to-turnover ration (2.69), which is tops among freshmen. She leads all SEC freshmen with 3.4 assists per game.
  • Defensive Player of the Year candidate Brea Beal’s timely shooting (career-best 38.8 percent from 3-point range) has not softened her defense. The senior allows just 3.6 points per game on 20.4 percent shooting.

Ranked Readings
Against ranked teams, South Carolina is 104-66 (.612) in the Dawn Staley era (beginning 2008-09), and even that mark is skewed by the early seasons of her tenure.

Since the start of the 2014-15 campaign, the Gamecocks are 89-27 (.767) against ranked teams, including a 41-6 mark (.872) since the start of the 2019-20 season.

Senior Aliyah Boston has thrived in her 47 career games against ranked opponents, averaging 15.4 points, 12.3 rebounds and 2.8 blocks while shooting 53.5 percent. Senior Zia Cooke’s offense is not far behind with her 13.8 points per game in those 47 outings, including a career-best 15.0 average in this season’s five games.

So far this season, South Carolina is 5-0 against ranked opponents, winning those games by an average of 17.8 points with a +18.4 rebounding margin.

Rebounding Roundup
South Carolina is routinely among the top rebounding teams in the country and has not dropped off this season. 

The Gamecocks rank among the nation’s top two in rebounding margin (1st, +21.6), rebounding average (2nd, 50.4) and offensive rebounds (2nd, 18.6). South Carolina is securing 50.1 percent of its own missed shots, which is leads the nation and has delivered 20.5 second-chance points per game.

South Carolina has been out-rebounded just once this season (41-47 at #2/2 Stanford, Nov. 20) and only four other games have had a single-digit rebounding margin. The Gamecocks’ 74 rebounds against Arkansas were a program record for SEC games, and their +57 rebounding margin (74-17) was a program record and the highest by an NCAA Div. I team in the last 20 seasons. 

Aliyah Boston (10.0, 2nd in SEC, 25th in NCAA) and Kamilla Cardoso (8.2, 4th in SEC) lead the rebounding effort and are two of the top three offensive rebounders in the SEC as well – 3.7 (3rd in SEC, 23rd in NCAA) and 3.876 (2nd in SEC, 19th in NCAA) per game, respectively.