This one caused a double-take.
South Carolina … at Savannah State?
“We’re always talking about the guarantee money that they want, and I just figured that we might as well make it a home-and-home,” USC coach Dawn Staley said. “It’s a great opportunity to take our players into a hostile environment.”
The Gamecocks and Tigers are no strangers, playing each other every year from 2010-15 and twice in 2014-15, when Savannah State came back to Columbia for the NCAA Tournament. They took a break last season and resumed this season.
Yet this was the kind of game to fill the schedule, especially after USC took on Ohio State, Texas, Duke and Louisville away from home. It seemed natural to put it in Columbia close to Christmas and give everybody a nice holiday greeting before a long break.
The dates didn’t work out. And why not play at Tiger Arena (capacity 6,000)? There are sure to be some Gamecock fans who make the trip and Staley’s always looking for another way to challenge a still-growing team.
The Tigers (2-8) are rebuilding after their tournament success of 2015 and a 10-18 mark last year, but an arena with fans crowding close to the floor could benefit the Gamecocks. A road game with a sizable break from the court after it is another hurdle for the team.
USC senior center Alaina Coates won her third SEC Player of the Week honor this season on Tuesday after posting two double-doubles last week. She has an SEC-best seven double-doubles this year.
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No. 6 USC (9-1) at Savannah State (2-8)
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Tiger Arena, Savannah, Ga.