COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - South Carolina women's basketball head coach Dawn Staley announced Friday the team's 29-game schedule for 2014-15, which features 19 games against teams that participated in a 2014 postseason tournament, including up to 12 against NCAA Tournament participants.
The reigning SEC Champions will host 14 games at Colonial Life Arena and will play on the ESPN family of networks at least nine times this season. While SEC contests have traditionally been on Thursdays or Sundays, South Carolina will play one Friday night game – the league opener against Auburn (Jan. 2) – and three Monday night league outings – at Florida (Jan. 19), vs. Texas A&M (Jan. 26) and vs. Tennessee (Feb. 23).
Of the Gamecocks' 27 possible opponents, 13 recorded at least 20 wins last season – a list headlined by 2014 NCAA National Champion Connecticut's perfect 34-0 record. South Carolina will face up to 15 games against those foes with five of them coming at home – Southern Cal (Nov. 15), Kentucky (Jan. 11), Texas A&M (Jan. 26), LSU (Feb. 12) and Tennessee (Feb. 23).
In 29 regular-season games, the Gamecocks will face a top-50 RPI team up to 13 times with as many as eight of those on the road or at a neutral site. That list stars a pair of non-conference battles in hostile territory that drew the attention of ESPN2 – at Duke (Dec. 7) and at Connecticut (Feb. 9).
The average 2013-14 final RPI of the Gamecocks' 2014-15 schedule is 77.3. South Carolina will face a team ranked in last season's final AP and/or USA Today poll nine times in 2014-15, including the season opener against Southern Cal (No. 25 in AP) on Nov. 15 at Colonial Life Arena.
The Gamecocks open the season with three straight home dates with West Coast foes – Southern Cal (Nov. 15) and San Diego State (Nov. 23) bookending the annual rivalry game with Clemson (Nov. 20). Following a Thanksgiving trip to the Bahamas for the Junkanoo Jam, where South Carolina will face Wisconsin and either WNIT participant East Carolina or NCAA second-round finisher Syracuse, South Carolina opens December with a pair of home games against NC Central (Dec. 1) and Charlotte (Dec. 4).
The trip to Duke, which ended the 2013-14 season ranked ninth in the AP Poll, leads into the last non-conference home game of the season, a Dec. 14 matchup with Savannah State. The Gamecocks close out the 2014 calendar year at Hampton (Dec. 17) and at the Minnesota Gopher Classic, where they will take on Central Michigan (Dec. 20) and Liberty (Dec. 21).
With most of its non-conference schedule still waiting to be selected by television, South Carolina already has 16 regular-season games that will be televised by either the ESPN family of networks, the SEC Network or Fox Sports Net. The rest of the televised games will be announced soon.
Fans can watch the Gamecocks nine times on either ESPN2 or ESPNU, beginning with the Dec. 7 contest at Duke. Their first league game on the network comes in South Carolina's first SEC road contest, at LSU on Jan. 4 (ESPN2).
Staley and her team will look for their loyal fans to pack Colonial Life Arena for its next two home games, both to air on ESPN2, against Kentucky (Jan. 11) and Texas A&M (Jan. 26), both of whom finished last season ranked in the top 15.
Two games of the Gamecocks' three-game road swing in early February will air on the network, beginning at Ole Miss on ESPNU on Feb. 1 and ending at UConn on ESPN2 on Feb. 9. South Carolina hopes to continue its win streak against Vanderbilt in a Feb. 15 home game on ESPNU. The Gamecocks and Wildcats close out the regular season on Mar. 1 with a second matchup to air on either ESPNU or ESPN2.
The SEC Network tabbed the Gamecocks for five league contests in its inaugural season, beginning with the SEC opener against Auburn on Jan. 2 at Colonial Life Arena. Road games at Missouri (Jan. 15), Florida (Jan. 19), Georgia (Feb. 5) and Arkansas (Feb. 19) round out the South Carolina games on the network. Fox Sports Net will air a pair of home games for the Gamecocks – against LSU (Feb. 12) and Mississippi State (Feb. 26).
This season's SEC Tournament tips off on Wed., Mar. 4, in North Little Rock, Ark. The tournament includes all 14 teams with the championship game slated for Sun., Mar. 9.
For the 2014-15 season, reserved seat season tickets are $50 each. General Admission tickets start at $100 for a Family Four Pack.