The USC women’s basketball team is the preseason number one as it prepares to open the season on Monday in an exhibition against Division Two opponent Benedict College. The Gamecocks return eleven players off of last year’s team that reached the “Final Four” and came within a layup of advancing to the championship game.
On Wednesday, head coach Dawn Staley met with the media to recap practice to this point and discuss the upcoming season. Staley had some poignant comments for the Associated Press, which did not vote junior forward Aliyah Boston as a unanimous selection to the preseason “All-American” team. Boston did make the cut, but UConn’s Paige Bueckers was the only unanimous selection.
Staley touched on the competitive nature of her squad, while insisting depth will not be an issue for the Gamecocks. She also bragged on USC fans who have bought over 9,800 season tickets to see her squad play this season.
After Monday’s exhibition with Benedict, the Gamecocks tip-off the regular season at preseason #5-NC State on November 9th. USC hosts Clemson on November 17th with matchups against Maryland, Duke, Stanford, and UConn highlighting their non-conference schedule. The Gamecocks crank up SEC play on December 30th at Missouri.
Key Comments from Staley:
- The Gamecocks are pretty healthy heading into the season with the exception of guard Lele Grissett. Grissett suffered a leg injury in last year’s SEC tournament.
- Really loves how unselfishly junior guard Brea Beal plays. “You are always going to have players who are the unsung heroes of teams. She embraces that role for us.”
- Noted that missed layups were an issue for her team last season and if they are going to win the national title this year, that will have to improve.
- Not getting too excited on being preseason number one, “”last year was the first time we opened number one, so it’s old news now. It’s cool, but we’ve done it before.”
- In referencing the amount of season tickets that Gamecock fans have bought, Staley says, “we’ve created an atmosphere that is second to none across the country. It is going to be great to get back in the CLA.”
USC WBB HC Dawn Staley — Preseason Press Conference