Who: No. 7 South Carolina (18-5, 7-3 SEC) vs. Alabama (14-9, 4-6 SEC)
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Where: Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Watch: SEC Network
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Series History: South Carolina owns a 23-15 record against Alabama, including a 13-0 mark under Dawn Staley. Alabama’s last win against the Gamecocks came more than a decade ago, in 2008.
Last Time Out: This past Monday, South Carolina fell to another team it has recently dominated, No. 2 Mississippi State, in a back-and-forth 67-53 road contest. Alabama dropped its third consecutive contest Sunday, a 74-66 loss to Arkansas.
South Carolina Starters: F A’ja Wilson, F Alexis Jennings, G Doniyah Cliney, G Bianca Jackson, G Tyasha Harris
Key Storyline: South Carolina hasn’t lost three consecutive games since the 2011-2012 season, and while the Gamecocks will be heavily favored against Alabama, a middle-of-the-pack SEC team, Staley doesn’t want her players taking any plays off after three consecutive ranked foes.
“We’re in a losing streak. If that doesn’t motivate you, you’re in the wrong place,” Staley said Wednesday. “It motivates me to get back on the winning side of things. ... And based off our practice today, our kids are ready to get back to work and ready to get back to our winning ways.”
And while the Crimson Tide has lost three in a row, they are a tough out at home, where they have a 10-3 record, sixth best in the conference.
Perhaps the biggest challenge Alabama presents for South Carolina is its depth — eight players average more than five points per game, and six average at least four rebounds per contest. The Gamecocks have seven and two such players, respectively.
A large part of that struggle with depth has been the continued absence of players because of injury for USC. Through 23 games, the Gamecocks have been down a player 11 times. On that front, Staley said redshirt senior Lindsey Spann, who has missed nine games with a knee sprain and made her return to the court against Mississippi State, is still not 100 percent.
A’ja Wilson Record Watch: 146 points from South Carolina career scoring record ... 5 20-point games from second place in South Carolina history ... 16 offensive rebounds from fourth highest mark at USC ... 12 double-doubles for the second most in program history ... 15 points from passing Staley’s collegiate scoring mark, which ranks in the top 250 in NCAA history