WEST LAFAYETTE, IN (WIS) - The USC women's basketball team is hoping its post-season journey goes to Denver and the Final Four. First they need to take care of Purdue on Monday night.
USC is riding high on their defense and schemes by coach Dawn Staley. "Our MO all season long is trying to disrupt what they do," Staley said.
You'll find that the players have bought into that mantra as well.
"We take pride in our defense and we are committed to being defenders," USC guard La'Keisha Sutton said.
"Defense wins championships," forward Aleighsa Welch said.
The team backs up that talk by shutting teams down. USC ranks fourth in the nation in scoring defense. In Saturday's win over Eastern Michigan, they locked up one of the nation's top scorers in Tavelyn James.
For their game against Purdue, they'll need to silence a very skilled team. To accomplish that, it starts by disrupting point guard KK Houser.
"We are going to try to get under her skin as we have done time and time again through the season, and hopefully that will have some lingering effect on those shooters," Staley said.
One of those shooters, sophomore Courtney Moses, buried a first and second round NCAA tournament record nine three-pointers in Purdue's first round win at home against South Dakota State.
USC knows just how to slow down the hot hand as the Gamecocks lead in the nation in three-point field goal percentage defense.
"We like players that like to shoot three point shots and put the ball on the floor," Staley said. "And I don't think there's any secret to that. It's just not allowing them to take attempts."
"We are going to commit to try to limit her production, or lock her down completely. And I'm just thinking about Vandy and Foggie, their best three-point shooter, and we did a pretty good job against her," Sutton said.
If USC enforces its will defensively, the Gamecocks stand a good chance at moving onto the Sweet 16.