Media release provided Tuesday by University of South Carolina Athletics.
COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina women's basketball earned the No. 1 spot in the 2020-21 Associated Press Preseason Poll for the first time in program history, the organization announced today. The Gamecocks' previous best preseason rank was No. 2 entering both the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. It marks the fifth time in the last seven seasons that South Carolina earned a top-five preseason ranking.
Head coach Dawn Staley has a veteran squad for the 2020-21 season and is now No. 1 in the AP Poll for the 11th-straight week after closing last season in that position. This season's team features three returning starters from last season's SEC Regular-Season and Tournament Champion. Nearly 70 percent of that team's scoring and more than 65 percent of its rebounding is back for 2020-21.
The three returning starters are from 2019's No. 1 signing class are back after starting every game of their inaugural college season. Forward Aliyah Boston dominated the postseason awards as the program's first National Freshman of the Year and the Lisa Leslie Center of the Year. Sophomores Brea Beal and Zia Cooke also impressed in their debuts, and Laeticia Amihere has impressed in the preseason in her full recovery from an injury that slowed her development last season. Juniors Destanni Henderson and Victaria Saxton are eager to make their mark on the program after coming off the bench behind a pair of WNBA top-10 draft picks last season. Senior LeLe Grissett is back after nearly doubling her scoring output from her sophomore year, looking to make another big leap in her final season in Garnet and Black.
The Gamecocks are slated to open the 2020-21 season on Wed., Nov. 25, at Colonial Life Arena against College Charleston. Non-conference tipoff times and the SEC schedule will be announced soon.