South Carolina might have been an attractive team for the women's NIT, which has plenty of slots to fill after expanding from 48 to 64 teams this year.
But the Gamecocks are ineligible after finishing with a 14-15 record. That could have been different if the Gamecocks had played an easier schedule, but coach Dawn Staley has no regrets.
"We're always going to play a tough schedule," she said. "I think you just have to measure yourself in November and December so you can be prepared for the rigors of the SEC."
The Gamecocks suffered nonconference losses to three ranked teams: Oklahoma, Notre Dame and North Carolina. They also lost in double overtime at Clemson and to Boston University in a neutral-site game.
Never miss a local story.
There were victories against Penn State, N.C. State, Wake Forest and Charlotte.
"In order for us to get better, to know there's another level of basketball out there being played out there, besides our conference, we've got to play it," Staley said. "And I don't regret the schedule that we had this particular year. We came out of it pretty good, minus some (games) that we should've won. I thought the schedule was right on point."
She said it. "Definitely not where we wanted to be at the end, but it's better than the previous years. We take the good, we observe the bad and move forward."
- Freshman center Kelsey Bone, summing up the season
- Seth Emerson