USC coach Dawn Staley knows all about the accolades that the Tennessee's women's basketball program brings to the table.
You don't have to tell her about the Lady Vols' eight national championships or their 13 SEC tournament titles. She witnessed it as a player at Virginia and now is trying to compete with it on the coaching level.
Staley also does not need to be reminded that South Carolina has lost 37 straight games to Tennessee and the lone series win by the Gamecocks came 30 years ago.
She understands all of that. But she also understands her team witnessed a little something special less than a week ago when they watched coach Darrin Horn and his men's team defeat top-ranked Kentucky, something that had never been done in school history.
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She wants that in the forefront of their minds today when the USC women host No. 5 Tennessee. She hopes history repeats itself.
"You need quality wins, and here is an opportunity for us to play a quality basketball team that is atop of our league alone," Staley said. "Hopefully we can get some of that magic that was in here on Tuesday night and do the unthinkable. I think if we can get that one, the sky is the limit for us."
USC took a step in that direction Thursday night. The Gamecocks earned a 14-point victory against Ole Miss, a team that was tied with the Lady Vols atop the SEC standings and had beaten No. 8 Georgia a week before.
The Gamecocks earned the victory in convincing fashion. They grabbed the lead in the first half against the Rebels and trailed only briefly in the opening minutes.
Freshman Kelsey Bone, who spurned an offer from Tennessee to sign with South Carolina, thinks that win gives them confidence going into today's battle. But she also knows that today's game is on a different level.
"This (win over Mississippi) gives us confidence, but Tennessee is a totally different beast," Bone said. "We have to execute the game plan. There a lot of different factors that go into preparing for them. It does give us a lot of confidence in knowing that we can play with the top teams in the SEC."
The teams have met already in Knoxville on Jan. 7 with Tennessee securing a 79-62 victory. The Gamecocks led by five in the first half, but the Volunteers used a 17-1 run to take command. USC trimmed the deficit to seven but couldn't fight all the way back.
Tennessee coach Pat Summit feels her team has to play better this time around.
"They played us tough here, so we expect the same thing when we travel to their place," Summit said during Wednesday's teleconference. "Defensively, they did a great job disrupting us, We're going to have to step up and take care of the basketball in what I'm sure will be a hostile environment."
Staley now is hoping some of that carryover effect from the men's side can help her team. She missed the Kentucky win because she was out recruiting, but she knows it had a lasting impression on her team.
"It was electric," Staley said. "Anytime you can get a big win like that right here on campus, it's got to be contagious. We're hoping (the Ole Miss) win was a part of that, and then Sunday it will be electric again as well."