The South Carolina Gamecocks women's basketball team represents the University of South Carolina and competes in the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Under current head coach Dawn Staley, the Gamecocks have been one of the top programs in the country, winning the NCAA Championship in 2017 and 2022. The program also enjoyed success under head coach Nancy Wilson during the 1980s in the Metro Conference, when it won five regular season conference championships and three conference tournament championships.
|South Carolina Gamecocks|
|University||University of South Carolina|
|All-time record||978–534 (.647)|
|Athletic director||Ray Tanner|
|Head coach||Dawn Staley (15th season)|
|Location||Columbia, South Carolina|
|Arena||Colonial Life Arena |
|Colors||Garnet and black|
|NCAA tournament champions|
|NCAA tournament Final Four|
|2015, 2017, 2021, 2022|
|NCAA tournament Elite Eight|
|2002, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2021, 2022, 2023|
|NCAA tournament Sweet Sixteen|
|1982, 1990, 2002, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022, 2023|
|NCAA tournament second round|
|1982, 1988, 1990, 2002, 2003, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022, 2023|
|NCAA tournament appearances|
|1982, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 2002, 2003, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022, 2023|
|AIAW tournament Final Four|
|AIAW tournament Elite Eight|
|AIAW tournament Sweet Sixteen|
|AIAW tournament appearances|
|Conference tournament champions|
|Metro Conference: 1986, 1988, 1989|
SEC: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020, 2021, 2023
|Conference regular season champions|
|Metro Conference: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991|
SEC: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2020, 2022, 2023
The Gamecocks first competed at an intercollegiate level in women's basketball in 1923, when they were called the Pullets (a young domestic hen, a play off "Gamecocks," which is a rooster).
The modern era of South Carolina women's basketball began when the Carolina Chicks took to the court in January 1974 under the guidance of Pam Backhaus. The inaugural team compiled a record of 15–7 and were the South Carolina AIAW champions. In 1977, with Pam Parsons as the head coach the women's basketball team, they changed their nickname to the Lady Gamecocks and made post-season trips every year during her four-year tenure.
During its eight seasons in the Metro Conference (now Conference USA after the 1995 reunification), the Lady Gamecocks won the regular season championship five times and the conference tournament three times.
When South Carolina joined the SEC, success was hard to come by during their first decade in one of the strongest conferences in women's basketball. They initially struggled to compete under head coaches Nancy Wilson and Susan Walvius. Walvius' teams in 2001–02 and 2002–03 broke through to finish 25–7 and 23–8, respectively, earning trips to the NCAA tournament and reaching the Elite Eight in 2002.
Walvius resigned after the 2007–08 season. On May 7, 2008, Dawn Staley was named the new head coach of the team now known as simply the "Gamecocks".
Under coach Staley, the Gamecocks improved or equaled their win total every season during her first seven years leading the program, culminating in a 34–3 record in 2014–15. That year they won the SEC regular season championship, the SEC Tournament championship and the NCAA East Region Championship. The season ended in the NCAA Final Four with a last second one-point loss to Notre Dame in the national semifinals.
The following year, the Gamecocks went undefeated in conference play, only to be stymied in the Sweet 16 by Syracuse. In 2016–17, the Gamecocks garnered their third straight sweep of the SEC regular season and tournament titles en route to their second Final Four. They defeated conference rival Mississippi State in the national championship game to win their first-ever national title.
In the 2018 SEC tournament, the Gamecocks defeated Mississippi State to win the SEC tournament, South Carolina is the only team to win the SEC tournament for four straight years. Their season came to an end when they were defeated by Connecticut in the Elite Eight.
In 2020, South Carolina finished 32–1 (16–0), led by the #1 ranked recruiting class and senior leadership of point guard Tyasha Harris. The Gamecocks defeated 14 ranked teams including their first-ever victory over UConn, and won both the SEC regular season and tournament titles. South Carolina won their final 26 games of the season and spent the final nine weeks as the AP #1 ranked team. Dawn Staley was named national coach of the year, and Aliyah Boston was named national freshman of the year, and SEC defensive player of the year. When the COVID-19 pandemic ended the season prematurely on March 12, South Carolina was ranked at the top of the AP and coaches' polls. Due to the unprecedented abrupt ending to the season following the SEC Championship win, Staley said they should be claimed Champions, but never took any real steps to claim one. To honor the seniors the program raised a banner highlighting finishing #1 in the polls on December 31, 2020, at the 2020–21 season opener. In 2021, the team reached the Final Four losing to Stanford by a point.
On April 3, 2022, the Gamecocks won their 2nd national title with a 64–49 win over UConn, finishing the season 35–2 and being ranked #1 in both major polls for the entire season. Aliyah Boston won Player of the Year, and Dawn Staley was named Naismith Award winner as the best coach in the nation for 2022.
|2022–23 South Carolina Gamecocks women's basketball team|
Conference tournament winners noted with # Source
|Season||Team||Overall||Conference||Standing||Postseason||Coaches' poll||AP poll|
|Pam Backhaus (Independent) (1974–1975)|
|1974–75||Pam Backhaus||18–12 (.600)||–||AIAW Region II|
|Frankie Porter (Independent) (1975–1976)|
|Pam Backhaus (Independent) (1976–1977)|
|Pam Backhaus:||26–30 (.464)||–|
|Pam Parsons (Independent) (1977–1982)|
|1977–78||Pam Parsons||24–10||–||AIAW Region II|
|1978–79||Pam Parsons||27–10||–||AIAW Region II
|1979–80||Pam Parsons||30–6||–||AIAW Third Place||4|
|1980–81||Pam Parsons||13–17||–||AIAW Region II|
|Pam Parsons:||101–43 (.701)||–|
|Terry Kelly (Independent, Metro) (1982–1985)|
|1982||Terry Kelly||16–8||–||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|Terry Kelly:||50–32 (.610)||7–3 (.700)|
|Nancy Wilson (Metro, SEC) (1984–1997)|
|1985–86||Nancy Wilson||19–11||9–1||1st||NCAA first round|
|1987–88||Nancy Wilson||23–11||10–2||1st||NCAA second round||24|
|1988–89||Nancy Wilson||23–7||10–2||1st||NCAA first round||22||17|
|1989–90||Nancy Wilson||24–9||13–1||1st||NCAA Sweet Sixteen||16||19|
|1990–91||Nancy Wilson||22–9||12–2||1st||NCAA first round|
|1991–92||Nancy Wilson||13–15||2–9||12th (SEC)|
|Nancy Wilson:||231–149 (.608)||83–69 (.546)|
|Susan Walvius (SEC) (1997–2008)|
|2001–02||Susan Walvius||25–7||10–4||T-2nd||NCAA Elite Eight||6||13|
|2002–03||Susan Walvius||23–8||9–5||T-5th||NCAA second round||18||16|
|2005–06||Susan Walvius||17–12||7–7||7th||WNIT Second round|
|2006–07||Susan Walvius||18–15||6–8||T-7th||WNIT third round|
|2007–08||Susan Walvius||16–16||4–10||T-9th||WNIT second round|
|Susan Walvius:||165–160 (.508)||51–103 (.331)|
|Dawn Staley (SEC) (2008–present)|
|2010–11||Dawn Staley||18–18||8–8||T-5th||WNIT second round|
|2011–12||Dawn Staley||25–10||10–6||T-4th||NCAA Sweet Sixteen||21||25|
|2012–13||Dawn Staley||25–8||11–5||T-4th||NCAA second round||14||17|
|2013–14||Dawn Staley||29–5||14–2||1st||NCAA Sweet Sixteen||8||9|
|2014–15||Dawn Staley||34–3||15–1||1st||NCAA Final Four||3||4|
|2015–16||Dawn Staley||33–2||16–0||1st||NCAA Sweet Sixteen||3||5|
|2016–17||Dawn Staley||33–4||14–2||1st||NCAA Champions||3||1|
|2017–18||Dawn Staley||29–7||12–4||T-2nd||NCAA Elite Eight||6||7|
|2018–19||Dawn Staley||23–10||13–3||2nd||NCAA Sweet Sixteen||13||15|
|2019–20||Dawn Staley||32–1||16–0||1st||Canceled due to COVID-19||1||1|
|2020–21||Dawn Staley||26–5||14—2||2nd||NCAA Final Four||5||6|
|2021–22||Dawn Staley||35–2||15–1||1st||NCAA Champions||1||1|
|Dawn Staley:||400–105 (.792)||183–55 (.769)|
Postseason invitational champion
NCAA Division IEdit
|#6 East Carolina
|1986||#7||First round||#10 Middle Tenn||L 77–78|
|1989||#6||First round||#11 Tennessee Tech||L 73–77|
|#12 Bowling Green
|1991||#7||First round||#10 Vanderbilt||L 64–73|
|#12 UT Chattanooga
#4 Penn State
|#12 Eastern Michigan
|#13 South Dakota State
|#16 Cal St Northridge
#9 Oregon State
#4 North Carolina
|#16 Savannah State
#4 North Carolina
#2 Florida State
#1 Notre Dame
#9 Kansas State
|#16 UNC Asheville
#8 Arizona State
#3 Florida State
#2 Mississippi State
|#15 North Carolina A&T
#5 Florida State
#8 Oregon State
#5 Georgia Tech
#5 North Carolina
|#16 Norfolk State
#8 South Florida
|2017||Dawn Staley||Mississippi State Bulldogs||67–55||33–4|
|2022||Dawn Staley||UConn Huskies||64–49||35–2|
AIAW Division IEdit
The Gamecocks made two appearances in the AIAW National Division I basketball tournament, with a combined record of 6–3.
Consolation First round
Consolation Second round
Consolation third round
|East Stroudsburg State
Stephen F. Austin
Over the years, the Gamecocks have played in three different venues. At first games were played at the Blatt P.E. Center. Later games moved to the Carolina Coliseum, which saw the first sell out for a women's basketball game on January 17, 2002. That day, 12,168 fans turned out to see the South Carolina Gamecocks take on the Tennessee Lady Vols.
On November 22, 2002, the Gamecocks opened the newly constructed Colonial Life Arena (then known as Carolina Center; the arena's deal with Unum was signed a year later) would be with $1 admission night, leading to a crowd 17,712 saw the Gamecocks defeat the archrival Clemson Lady Tigers. The first sell out with 18,000 in attendance occurred on February 8, 2016, against the University of Connecticut Huskies in a match up of the two top ranked teams in the country.
Crowds of over 16,000 at Colonial Life Arena for Women's Basketball games:
|03-01-2020||18,000||Texas A&M||W 60–52|
|03-03-2019||18,000||Mississippi State||L 68–64|
|11-13-2015||16,815||Ohio State||W 88–80|
South Carolina has led the nation in attendance every season since 2014–15, with the exception of 2020 which was limited due to COVID. The Gamecocks have averaged over 10,000 fans in 92 consecutive regular season home games.
* The 2019 NCAA Tournament games were played in Halton Arena, Charlotte, NC
- Between losses to Texas A&M on February 10, 2013, and Connecticut on February 8, 2016, the Gamecocks won 45 consecutive games at home.
- As of June 20, 2021, the Gamecocks have drawn over 10,000 fans in 92 consecutive regular season home games
Gamecocks in the WNBAEdit
|Shannon Johnson||1999 – Orlando||11||(1999–2009) Last with the Seattle Storm|
|Shaunzinski Gortman||2002 – 9th by Charlotte||5||(2002–2006) Last with the Seattle Storm|
|Jocelyn Penn||2003 – 9th by Charlotte||2||(2003–2004) Last with the San Antonio Stars|
|Tiffany Mitchell||2016 – 9th by Indiana||6||(2016–Present) Indiana Fever|
|Alaina Coates||2017 – 2nd by Chicago||4||(2017–Present) Indiana Fever|
|Allisha Gray||2017 – 4th by Dallas||5||(2017–Present) Dallas Wings, 2017 WNBA Rookie of the Year|
|Kaela Davis||2017 – 10th by Dallas||5||(2017–Present) Atlanta Dream|
|A'ja Wilson||2018 – 1st by Las Vegas||4||(2018–Present) Las Vegas Aces, 2020 WNBA Most Valuable Player|
|Mikiah Herbert Harrigan||2020 – 6th by Minnesota||2||(2020–Present) Seattle Storm|
|Tyasha Harris||2020 – 7th by Dallas||2||(2020–Present) Dallas Wings|
|Destanni Henderson||2022 – 20th by Indiana||1||(2022–Present) Indiana Fever|
- Teresa Geter – 2002 – 36th by Washington
- Petra Ujhelyi – 2003 – 16th by Phoenix
- Aleighsa Welch – 2015 – 22nd by Chicago
South Carolina has retired two jersey numbers.
Player and coach awardsEdit
National player awardsEdit
National coach awardsEdit
- Dawn Staley – 2020, 2022
- Dawn Staley – 2020, 2022
- Dawn Staley – 2020
- Dawn Staley – 2020, 2022, 2023
* Denotes Co-Player / Co-Coach
- ^ "Colors – Communications and Public Affairs | University of South Carolina". Retrieved July 16, 2019.
- ^ "South Carolina Women's Basketball History".
- ^ Feinberg, Doug (2020-03-17). "South Carolina finishes No. 1 in AP women's basketball poll". AP Wire. The AP. Associated Press. Retrieved 2020-04-22.
- ^ "South Carolina pounds UConn, 64-49, to take women's basketball championship". NBC News. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
- ^ "History" (PDF). University of South Carolina. Retrieved 10 Aug 2013.
- ^ "South Carolina hosts Clemson Friday night in the Carolina Center's Grand Opening". Gamecocks Online. Cnet/CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2020-03-22.
- ^ "SOUTH CAROLINA ATHLETICS HISTORY". Gamecock.