USC Women's Basketball

She wasn’t on the media’s all-SEC preseason team, but the coaches like this Gamecock

‘People are unsure’ what to expect from South Carolina basketball, Dawn Staley says

South Carolina women's basketball coach Dawn Staley discusses expectations for her team in 2018-2019 and what the absence of A'ja Wilson will mean for the Gamecocks and their chances and perception in the SEC.
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South Carolina women's basketball coach Dawn Staley discusses expectations for her team in 2018-2019 and what the absence of A'ja Wilson will mean for the Gamecocks and their chances and perception in the SEC.

The women’s basketball coaches of the SEC agree with the media — South Carolina was voted by both to finish second in the conference for the 2018-2019 season.

Two weeks after the media poll was released, the coaches’ version dropped Tuesday, with Dawn Staley’s Gamecocks once again being slotted behind only Mississippi State, which is coming off back-to-back national championship game appearances.

Unlike the media, however, the coaches voted USC junior guard Tyasha Harris to its preseason all-SEC first team Senior forward Alexis Jennings, who was on the media’s first team, was on the coaches’ second team.

Harris led the conference in assists per game last season at 6.1, and set a South Carolina record for assists in a season while earning second team All-SEC honors. She was also second in the SEC in assist-to-turnover ratio in 2017-18, at 2.4.

Jennings will be looked upon by Staley to take the reins of South Carolina’s frontcourt with the departure of A’ja Wilson. In her first season in Columbia last year after transferring from Kentucky, she averaged 11.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, including five 20-point games.

South Carolina has finished in the SEC’s top two in each of the last five regular seasons, including four consecutive championships. The Gamecocks have also won the last four SEC Tournaments, a record.

SEC Preseason Coaches Poll

1. Mississippi State

2. South Carolina

3. Georgia

4. Tennessee

5. Missouri

6. Texas A&M

7. Kentucky

8. Auburn

9. LSU

10. Alabama

11. Arkansas

12. Florida

13. Vanderbilt

14. Ole Miss

Preseason First-Team All-SEC

Caliya Robinson, F, Georgia

Maci Morris, G, Kentucky

Anriel Howard, F, Mississippi State

Teaira McCowan, C, Mississippi State

Sophie Cunningham, G, Missouri

Tyasha Harris, G, South Carolina

Rennia Davis, G, Tennessee

Chennedy Carter, G, Texas A&M

Preseason Second-Team All-SEC

Malica Monk, G, Arkansas

Janiah McKay, G, Auburn

Unique Thompson, F, Auburn

Taylor Murray, G, Kentucky

Ayana Mitchel, F, LSU

Shandricka Sessom, G, Ole Miss

Amber Smith, G, Missouri

Alexis Jennings, F, South Carolina

Evina Westbrook, G, Tennessee

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