South Carolina (27-4) earned the program’s first No. 1 seed in its 11th berth in the NCAA Tournament and will face 16th-seeded Cal State Northridge (18-14, 12-4 Big West Conference) on Sun., Mar. 23, at 5:30 p.m. ET, with the contest set to be televised on ESPN from the Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle, Wash., in the event’s opening round. The Gamecocks are in the Stanford Region. Eighth-seeded, Middle Tennessee and No. 9 seed Oregon State will square off in the other game at the site with the winners meeting on Tues., Mar. 25, with the time for that contest to be announced. South Carolina owns an 11-10 record all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
The meeting between the Gamecocks and Matadors on Saturday will be the first all-time between the two schools.
This is the third-consecutive season the Gamecocks will participate in the NCAA Tournament, marking the longest streak for South Carolina since the four-year stretch 1988-91. South Carolina reached the Sweet 16 in 2011-12 for the program’s best finish since the 2001-02 team advanced to the Elite Eight. The Gamecocks have played in four Sweet 16s in their previous 10 appearances in the event.
South Carolina enjoyed its best regular season in school history, claiming the program’s first SEC regular-season championship, amassing a school-record 14 SEC wins and 26 overall regular-season victories. Ranked as high as No. 4 in the nation – the program’s highest mark since coming in the same spot Jan. 10, 1982 – the Gamecocks spent 12 weeks ranking in the Associated Press top 10, including four in the top five. The SEC coaches showered the Gamecocks will postseason accolades, beginning with Dawn Staley as the league’s Coach of the Year. Tiffany Mitchell was just the second sophomore in league history to earn Player of the Year honors and joined junior forward Aleighsa Welch on the All-SEC First Team and junior center Elem Ibiam on the All-Defensive Team. Center Alaina Coates became the first SEC Freshman of the Year to also earn another individual honor as she shared the SEC 6th-Player of the Year award, in addition to her spot on the All-SEC Second Team.