By Rixon Lane
With a 71-66 victory over 6th-ranked Tennessee last night, South Carolina's women's basketball team remained unbeaten in conference play and ran its overall record to 26-1.
The Gamecocks have averaged 12,347 fans at Colonial Life Arena so far this season and put over 17,000 people in the seats for a game against Kentucky last month.
However, they have yet to achieve the magical number of 18,000 fans at a game, the capacity of the CLA. South Carolina's Senior Night is Thursday and here are just a few reasons why a sellout must happen.
- This is, without a doubt, the best team in program history. The Gamecocks became the first team ever to hold the #1 ranking and did so for over two months.
- A win over Mississippi State on Thursday would give the Gamecocks 15 SEC wins. No team in program history has ever done that.
- Tip-off is set for 7:00, meaning the game will be over by 9:00. Parents won't have to keep kids up late and students won't have to wor-- I'm totally kidding, the students won't care about being up too late.
- This is the first team to beat Tennessee in Columbia since 1980. The Gamecocks also snapped Tennessee's 20-game SEC winning streak.
- This senior class (Olivia Gaines, Aleighsa Welch, and Elem Ibiam) won at least 25 games in each of its four seasons. South Carolina only had THREE 25-win seasons in history prior to their arrival.
- This is the first time in program history that South Carolina has won at least 12 conference games in back-to-back seasons.
- South Carolina has had over 10,000 fans at each of its last seven home games and ten of 13 on the year. A sellout has been in reach all season and Thursday is the final opportunity to hit the mark.
- Mississippi State is ranked in the top-20 and a very good basketball team. South Carolina is 5-1 this season against ranked opponents.
- A win over the Bulldogs would give South Carolina its school-record 32nd consecutive win at home.
- It's probably the last chance this year to see Aleighsa Welch (one of the best rebounders in program history), A'ja Wilson (named SEC Freshman of the Week a record-tying five times), and Tiffany Mitchell (on the watch list, along with Wilson, for the John R. Wooden Award, given to the best player in the country) play against quality competition.
Bought your ticket yet?