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April 11, 2024

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South Carolina WBB preview: A historic challenge for BGSU comes to town Tuesday night

South+Carolinas+Raven+Johnson
gamecocksonline.com
South Carolina’s Raven Johnson

Tuesday night in Bowling Green is shaping up to be the place to be if you are a fan of basketball.

Why might you ask?

Simple- Bowling Green women’s basketball has the chance to do something that they have never done before as a program- play the number one ranked team in the nation.

South Carolina rolls into the 419 with an opportunity to also face one of their former assistants, as current BGSU head coach Fred Chmiel was with the Gamecocks for eight seasons under Dawn Staley prior to accepting the job with the Falcons.

This visit by SC is the first ever regular season battle between the two programs. In the all-time series, SC is 1-0 against BGSU, with the Gamecocks winning in the first round of the 1990 NCAA Tournament 93-50 (SC was a five seed, BGSU the 12 seed).

Will we see another blowout win for the Gamecocks? Or will we see a pesky BGSU team show some fight and potentially even pull off arguably the biggest win in BGSU history?

That answer will be learned come Tuesday night at 7 p.m. inside the Stroh Center.

For now, let’s look at the Gamecocks.

 

SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS:

Current Record: 10-0 (#1 ranked team in the country via Associated Press poll)

Head Coach: Dawn Staley (16th season).

Notable Staley Facts:

  • Is part of the 2013 class inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
  • Named to WNBA’s Top 15 as one of most influential players in league history in 2011.
  • Order of the Palmetto Recipient in 2013 (highest civilian honor from South Carolina governor granted to those who have displayed significant achievement and service to the state).
  • Is a three-time Olympic gold medalist (1996, 2000, 2004).
  • Has won two national championships as the head coach at South Carolina (2017, 2022).

 

Notable Names:

  • Kamilla Cardoso (Sr.)- One of the biggest issues that Bowling Green is going to have with South Carolina is the immense size that the Gamecocks bring to the floor. SC’s roster currently holds four players above 6’3, while BG’s tallest player is Sophie Dziekan, who is listed at 6’2. With that, Falcon fans will certainly be keeping their eyes locked in on Cardoso, the imposing 6’7 center from Brazil. The senior was a member of the second team all-Southeast Conference, and was also the 2022-23 SEC Sixth Woman of the Year. Expect Staley to utilize her size and try to continue their dominant stretch of rebounding, which leads all of the NCAA. Cardoso is also ranked fourth in the nation in blocks at 3.5 per game.

 

  • Ashlyn Watkins (Soph.)- Watkins is an up-and-coming star for Staley and this Gamecocks team. Currently ranked sixth in the nation in blocks per game (3.0), Watkins has also put together six double-digit scoring outputs this season as well after only having seven all of last year. The sophomore from hometown Columbia was the 2022 Gatorade Player of the Year in South Carolina, and was a member of the all-SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll.

 

  • Te-Hina Paopao (Sr.)- Paopao is the director of the Gamecock offense and plays a significant role in doing so, accounting for 22.9% of the Gamecocks points so far this season via her averages of 12.3 points and 9.2 assists per game this season. The senior point guard from Oceanside, California spent three seasons at the University of Oregon prior to coming to South Carolina, where she was a member of the PAC-12 First Team twice (2021,2022). In her career with the Ducks, she scored in double figures for 51 of her 77 games, including 11 20+ point performances.

 

 

Notable Numbers:

  • The Gamecocks are making 7.2 three-pointers per game this season, a high in the Staley era.
  • South Carolina’s bench averages 36.5 points per game on 55.0 percent shooting, accounting for 39.5 percent of the Gamecocks’ offense. The group has also racked up 18.4 of the team’s NCAA-best 51.4 rebounds per game.

  • Cardoso has scored in double figures in all but one game this season and is 17th in the nation in field goal percentage, hitting an SEC-best 62.0 percent.
  • The Gamecocks have the longest active streak of weeks in the AP Top 10 at 82, beginning with the 2019-20 preseason poll.

 

With the Stroh Center expected to be sold out, there is no reason to fear if you cannot make it to the game! Join Falcon Media Sports Network’s Brandon Loe as he has the call of the game starting at 6:45 p.m. on 88.1 FM WBGU on Tuesday night.

For more stories related to BGSU Athletics, follow Falcon Media Sports Network on X (@bg_fmsn).

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