Dawn Staley talks about South Carolina’s freshmen for first time
For its 2018-2019 nonconference schedule, South Carolina women’s basketball will face a gauntlet of national powerhouses, potentially including every NCAA championship winner from 1995 onward, the team announced Monday.
Dawn Staley and the Gamecocks will open with an exhibition contest at Colonial Life Arena against Lander on Nov. 2, then kick off the regular season on the road against Alabama State, which is coached by Freda Jackson, mother of USC sophomore guard Bianca Jackson, on Nov. 11.
After that, South Carolina returns home to host in-state rival Clemson, then Big Ten power Maryland, who has won three conference titles in four years and made the NCAA tournament 14 times in the last 15 years. The Terrapins have advanced to three Final Fours in that time.
Over Thanksgiving weekend, the Gamecocks will travel to Vancouver, Canada, for the inaugural Vancouver Showcase. In that eight-team tourney, USC will open against East Tennessee State and, if it wins, face the winner of Oregon State-Western Kentucky. Beyond that, a potential title showdown looms with defending national champion Notre Dame, who will face a bracket of Drake, Gonzaga and Rutgers.
After that, Carolina returns home to face Dayton — the Flyers have advanced to two consecutive NCAA tournaments. Following that game, Baylor comes to CLA for the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. The Lady Bears have advanced to the NCAA tournament Sweet 16 every season for the past 10 years.
A week later, USC will face Duke, one of the most storied programs in the ACC, on the road. In between the Baylor and Duke games, Appalachian State will visit South Carolina for a midweek game.
After the Duke game, the Gamecocks will travel to Purdue for their fourth ever meeting with the Boilermakers, then return home to face Temple, Staley’s former program.
USC’s final game before the new year will feature a matchup with in-state school Furman.
Midway through its conference slate, South Carolina will pause to face Connecticut, winner of 11 national championships and a team that has made the Final Four every year for the past decade. UConn has won all seven games it has played against USC, most recently knocking the Gamecocks out in the Elite Eight last season. This season’s game will be played in Connecticut.
South Carolina 2018-2019 women’s basketball schedule
*Home games in bold
Sun. Nov. 11 — at Alabama State, 4 p.m.
Thurs., Nov. 15 — Clemson, TBA
Sun., Nov. 18 — Maryland, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Thurs.-Sat., Nov. 22-24 — Vancouver Showcase
East Tennessee, 9 p.m.
Oregon State OR Western Kentucky
Notre Dame OR Gonzaga OR Drake OR Rutgers
Wed., Nov. 28 — Dayton, TBA
Sun., Dec. 2 — Baylor, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Thurs., Dec. 5 — Appalachian State, TBA
Sun., Dec. 9 — at Duke, 2 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 16 — at Purdue, 3 p.m. (ESPN2)
Fri., Dec. 21 — Temple, TBA
Sun., Dec. 30 — Furman, TBA
Thurs., Jan. 3 — at Texas A&M, 9 p.m. (SEC Network)
Sun., Jan. 6 — Alabama, Noon (ESPNU)
Thu., Jan. 10 — Florida, 7 p.m. (SEC Network Plus)
Sun., Jan. 13 — at LSU, 5 p.m. (SEC Network)
Thu., Jan. 17 — at Mississippi State, 7 p.m. (ESPN or SEC Network)
Mon., Jan. 21 — Missouri, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Mon., Jan. 28 — Vanderbilt, 7 p.m. (SEC Network)
Thu., Jan. 31 — at Kentucky, 6:30 p.m. (SEC Network)
Sun., Feb. 3 — at Arkansas, 5 p.m. (SEC Network)
Thu., Feb. 7 — Ole Miss, 7 p.m. (SEC Network Plus)
Mon., Feb. 11 — at UConn, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Thu., Feb. 14 — Georgia, 7 p.m. (SEC Network)
Sun., Feb. 17 — at Florida, 2 p.m. (SEC Network Plus)
Thu., Feb. 21 — Kentucky, 7 p.m. (SEC Network)
Sun., Feb. 24 — at Tennessee, 4 p.m. (ESPN2)
Thu., Feb. 28 — at Auburn, 7 p.m. (SEC Network Plus)
Sun., Mar. 3 — Mississippi State, 2 p.m. (ESPN2)
Wed.-Sun., Mar. 6-10 — SEC Tournament (SEC Network, ESPNU and ESPN2)