South Carolina Women’s Basketball

An Inside Look at the Reigning National Champs


As the defending NCAA WBB National Champions, the University of South Carolina Women’s Basketball team came into the season with some high expectations to live up to. As of right now, it’s pretty safe to say that the team is living up to these expectations. If you didn’t know, the Gamecocks are currently the only undefeated team in college basketball with an overall record of 27-0 and 14-0 conference record. With only two regular season games left (at Tennessee on 2/23 & vs Georgia on 2/26), South Carolina is projected to be the number one seed for the NCAA tournament in March. 

It’s South Carolina and it’s everyone else. ”

— Kim Mulkey (LSU WBB Head Coach)

Arguably the most highly anticipated and biggest game in Women’s College Basketball this season was on Sunday February 12 vs the LSU Tigers. At the time, the Tigers were also undefeated, making this a matchup between the only two undefeated teams in college basketball. Despite the timing of the game falling a few hours before the Super Bowl, this game was the most watched regular season Women’s Basketball game since 2010. There was an average viewership of 1.5 million viewers with a peak at 1.6 million, some numbers that Women’s sports are not particularly used to seeing. If you happened to be one of these 1.6 million viewers, it was clear from the beginning that this matchup was not seemingly as close as many may have thought it would have been. In front of the electric environment of the sold out Colonial Life Arena, the Gamecocks got out front with a huge lead of 16 points, leading a good portion of the first 18-2. 

A huge portion of this highly anticipated game was the matchup between the 6’5″ Aliyah Boston of South Carolina and the 6’3″ Angel Reese of LSU. Despite the buildup for these two to face off, the Gamecocks shut Angel Reese down. Angel Reese had secured a double-double every game this season, but was only able to grab 4 rebounds and put up 16 points against Dawn Staley’s Gamecocks. The star did get into foul trouble fairly early on, ending the game with 4 personal fouls, which could have been a big part of snapping this streak. On the other end of the court, the other top contender for National Player of the Year, Aliyah Boston, continued to prove her dominance. Boston had 14 points and 9 rebounds during this game, but this was not all the Gamecocks had. Junior transfer student from Syracuse, Kamilla Cardoso, also had quite a performance with 18 points and 13 rebounds, all done with in 21 minutes of playing time. This was quite the statement by Cardoso and gives other teams something to look out for in the rest of the season.

While many other teams have one or two stand out players, the argument for South Carolina’s dominance has been the depth of their team from the beginning. The height of the team as well as the skill set by all of the players has led the Gamecocks to the success they have had. Senior guard, Zia Cooke, has also been a huge part of the wins for the Gamecocks. Watching her play it is clear that she sets the tempo for the team’s scoring. Cooke has averaged 15.5 points a game this season and has been the difference in some major games. Another key guard this season has been Freshman Raven Johnson. Johnson plays at a very fast pace and ups the tempo on offense. Her intensity has caught opponents off guard and she has been a crucial player coming off of the bench. Although the depth in the guard position goes much further, this is not all they have. The forward position is led by Aliyah Boston, but Victaria Saxton, Laticia Amihere, and Ashyln Watkins have been huge factors in the paint. In addition to these players in the forward position, the Gamecocks were able to snag the highly sought after Chloe Kitts back in December. Kitts was a top rated recruit from the class of 2023 and graduated early to join Staley’s squad just in time to get some experience in before the tournament. Kitts has already gotten into 11 games and will continue to grow with this dominant program.

After coming off of the high of defeating LSU, the Gamecocks travelled to Oxford to face the Ole Miss Rebels this past Sunday. This was unexpectedly the biggest scare of the season for the Gamecocks. The Rebels never trailed by more than 6 points and only led 55-54 with 1:20 left in the game, ultimately sending the game into overtime. Aliyah Boston was able to hit one out of two of her free throws in the last minute in order to tie the game up, but this is how regulation ended with neither team able to score their last shots. The Gamecocks were able to fight back in overtime with a 64-57 win, securing their 33rd win in a row. Zia Cooke led the Gamecocks with 24 points and Aliyah Boston got her 77th career double-double scoring 13 points and 12 rebounds.

On top of their successes on the court, many of the Gamecocks are honored by the University in other aspects. Both Aliyah Boston and Bree Hall are a part of the Women’s Basketball Academic All-District Team and Sania Feagin was named on the SEC Community Service Team.







As the tournament approaches, the Gamecocks are locking in on doing what needs to be done looking to secure their third national title. The success of this also team rides on the back of the leadership from Head Coach Dawn Staley. Staley has turned this program around and has built the roster for this success to continue in the future. As an American basketball Hall of Fame player and coach herself, Staley has won 3 gold medals with Team USA as a player and an additional gold as a coach. She had led the Gamecocks to a 366-105 record over 14 seasons with 10 NCAA tournament appearances. The female leadership from Dawn Staley has set the tone for success in Women’s Basketball and is a good look for the future of the sport. Her confidence and coaching style will continue to lead the Gamecocks to the tops of the polls.