COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - As the season continues to wind down, the wear and tear of playing 25 games has taken its toll on the Gamecocks.
The schedule has been demanding for Dawn Staley's team and the month of February has been no different. This month, Carolina has faced two ranked opponents and will take on yet another on Thursday at Georgia.
"February is always hard," Staley said. "it's definitely harder having a young team that really doesn't understand what's going on. They're probably playing a little bit on fumes now. So hopefully, we'll just continue to get better."
Six of the Gamecocks' nine available players are either freshmen or sophomores. While the younger players will have a chance to learn with more game reps, Staley hopes her players can stay true to what they've learned throughout the season.
"I just want us to get more disciplined in what we're doing and stay organized out there," Staley said, "because, once you get fatigued, you want to know people are in the places they're supposed to be so it can help us get some rest somewhere else."
USC will have to continue their quest to repeat as national champions without Lindsey Spann, who has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury. Not having Spann and fellow guard Bianca Cuevas-Moore shortens the bench for the Gamecocks somewhat. Having a lack of depth will be a challenge for the defending national champions as they look to continue racking up wins heading into tournament play.
"I've never had as many injuries as we've had this season," Staley said, "and I will tell you guys this: the more healthy we are, the more success we've had to be quite honest. But it's the luck of the draw. When it comes to injuries, we've never had this many, but I think time to write a new chapter on having an injury-plagued season."
South Carolina (20-5, 9-3) will face No. 20 Georgia at 7 p.m. on Thursday in Athens. The game can be seen online on SEC Network+.