Gamecocks closing in on SEC title

Gamecocks closing in on SEC title
South Carolina basketball closes in on a championship. (Source: Sideline Carolina)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - South Carolina basketball closes in on a championship. The top-ranked Gamecock women need only one more victory to secure at least a share of the SEC regular-season title. A win at Kentucky on Sunday earns them a piece of that crown. Of course, the Gamecocks have zero intention to share it.

“Nobody really likes to share,” said head coach Dawn Staley. “We’re going to treat it as an only child. We want it all.”

To claim it outright, the Gamecocks (26-1, 13-0) must win two of their remaining three games.

“For us to do that, we have to play well,” Staley added. “We can’t just say we want it all without putting in the work that we need to do to make sure that happens.”

South Carolina won four consecutive regular-season conference titles from 2013-2017. Only one shared during that dominant stretch, which occurred in the 2014-15 season.

“If we take care of what we need to take care of those things will come to us,” Staley said. “If we don’t, they won’t.”

Up to this point, the Gamecocks put themselves in an incredible position to return to the throne. South Carolina’s won every league game played to date (13), with an average margin of victory of nearly 27 points per game. A perfect league mark, coupled with convincing wins, does not necessarily mean the Gamecocks are a flawless group.

“We don’t want to lose sight, because we win by a large margin, that there are not things we need to work on,” Staley stated.

The latest victory over LSU illustrates the demand to remain locked in every single day. South Carolina won 63-48 on Thursday night at home. But, the team turned it over 13 times in the first two quarters and held a mere six-point advantage at the break.

“LSU posed a little different challenge to us,” Staley added. “I don’t think we handled it all that well. But, it is [good] to go through some things... that will jolt us back into playing the way we normally play.”

On Friday, Staley gathered the Gamecocks into the middle of the practice floor inside the Carolina Coliseum to reiterate the message to remain “locked in.”

“Locked in is knowing what we need to do,” Staley said. “Do we have extensive film sessions, in which we talk about how we’re playing different people. Sometimes we will implement a wrinkle here or there. We have to stay locked into the changing defenses and offenses that we’re implementing. You have to bring the energy and be ready to go. That’s what we deem as being locked in.”

Based on how the season’s unfolded, the Gamecocks’ best basketball appears to be ahead of them. And, that should be a frightening thought for future opponents.

Next up, a trip to Lexington, KY, to play the Wildcats on Sunday. Game time set for 2 P.M.

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