South Carolina is in the Sweet 16. Sixteen things to know as the Gamecocks prepare to face Quinnipiac on Saturday:
This is South Carolina’s fourth straight Sweet 16 appearance and fifth in six years. Were it not for a hot-shooting Kansas team and playing in Colorado in 2013 …
2. Walk-on tryouts?
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With Alaina Coates out and Allisha Gray hobbled, the Gamecocks are down to nine healthy players. The 7-8-9 players in that equation – Araion Bradshaw, Victoria Patrick, Tiffany Davis – might have to play significant minutes.
3. Not-so-Golden State
USC has a 3-2 record in California since its six-year NCAA tournament streak began. But the Gamecocks are 0-2 in postseason games played there, each loss coming at Stanford.
Quinnipiac (KWIN-UH-pee-AK) is located in Hamden, Conn. Its mascot is the Bobcats. They’re a 12-seed who upset No. 5 Marquette and No. 4 Miami on the Hurricanes’ home court to reach the Sweet 16.
They’re the Cinderella of the women’s tournament – while USC’s men are the Cinderella of its.
5. Nice to meet you
The Gamecocks have never played Quinnipiac.
6. Outstanding selection, NCAA
USC coach Dawn Staley was none too pleased about being the No. 1 seed across the country, in a town most have never heard of. The NCAA now has the task of drawing fans to Stockton, Calif., where East Coast teams Quinnipiac, USC and Florida State are playing.
Perhaps Oregon State, the one “local” team (nine hours from Stockton) will have its fans pack the place.
7. In the moment
The Gamecocks have 41 games worth of NCAA tournament experience among the active roster, although nine are held by Gray.
8. Hoist ’em up
Quinnipiac stroked 15 3-pointers (to 13 2-pointers) in its win over Miami. Yet the Bobcats only made three 3-pointers against Marquette.
9. Sorry about that
USC’s Kaela Davis is 38-of-83 from the field (45.8 percent) for 102 points in her last seven games since she was 2-of-11 for six points in a loss at Missouri.
10. Feed the mule
The Bobcats have one player who is remotely close to 6-foot-5 A’ja Wilson’s height. That’s 6-4 freshman center Katie Grant, who has played in 12 games this year and averages 3.2 minutes and 0.1 points.
The Gamecocks were averaging 75.7 points per game before center Alaina Coates started missing time with an injury.Since then, USC’s “speed” lineup is up to 76.5 and Bianca Cuevas-Moore has improved from 8.3 to 8.7 ppg.
12. Equal wins
Both Quinnipiac and USC have 29 wins this season.
13. St. Elsewhere
The two teams’ common opponent is St. Peter’s, which lost all three games to the Bobcats and Gamecocks by margins of 33, 35 and 55.
14. Road warriors
You could watch USC’s men play around 7:30 p.m. Friday in New York. Then, you could catch a red-eye or wait until the morning and for around $300, fly to Sacramento by 1 p.m. California time. Plenty of time to go an hour down the road to Stockton for a 4 p.m. women’s tip.
15. Another nine
The two teams have nine freshmen between them.
16. The Kandi Man
The regional is hosted by the University of the Pacific, notable for 1998 No. 1 overall NBA draft pick Michael Olowokandi. He averaged 8.3 points and 6.8 rebounds in 500 career games for the Clippers, Timberwolves and Celtics and is considered one of the biggest busts of all time.
NCAA Women’s Regional
Who: USC (29-4) vs. Quinnipiac (29-6)
When: 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Stockton, Calif.
Other game: Florida State vs. Oregon State