Gamecocks named preseason No. 1 in AP women’s basketball poll for first time in program history

Gamecocks named preseason No. 1 in AP women’s basketball poll for first time in program history
South Carolina forward Aliyah Boston (4) congratulates guard Zia Cooke (1) after Cooke stole the ball from Mississippi State to seal the victory in Columbia, S.C. on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020. (Travis Bell/SIDELINE CAROLINA) (Source: Travis Bell)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The South Carolina Gamecocks will begin this season just as they ended last season.

Dawn Staley’s squad will enter the 2020-21 season as the No. 1 team in the AP poll. It’s the first time in program history the Gamecocks have earned the top spot in the preseason poll.

The Gamecocks were the top team in the poll last year before the season came to an abrupt halt after the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament was canceled due to COVID-19.

Despite losing two starters from last year’s roster, the Gamecocks return last season’s SEC Freshman and Defensive Player of the Year in Aliyah Boston, who averaged 12.9 points and 9.2 rebounds per game and recorded 12 double-doubles during her first year with the team.

Boston is also joined by sophomores Brea Beal and Zia Cooke as returning starters for the team. Cooke averaged 12 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game while Beal provided 6.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per contest.

Before this, South Carolina’s best position in the poll entering the season was at No. 2. They achieved that feat twice during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.

The Gamecocks hope to add their sixth SEC regular-season and tournament titles to their collection this year.

Carolina opens the season on November 25 at home against the College of Charleston.

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