They’re off to a 14-2 start, which hasn’t happened since 2002-03 and are 3-0 in the SEC for the first time since 2001-02. Now, the Gamecock women are also ranked No. 24 in the newest AP Poll, out today. This is the first time the team has been nationally ranked since 2003.
The ladies are riding an eight-game win streak, with their most recent victory coming last night against Florida. That was Dawn Staley’s first win over the Gators since she began coaching at USC in 2008. The past few seasons have had a few bumps (the transfer of top recruit Kelsey Bone, long losing streaks, finishing below .500, etc.), so the success so far is even more encouraging.
Staley had this to say about the team:
“[Being ranked this week] is a tribute to our program, a tribute to our former players who helped us get to where we are, we’ve been on the other side of this for quite some time, so I welcome it. But I know it won’t define us because we’ve got a lot more left in the season.”
What Staley says is true; the season is far from over. If the ladies can keep up what they’re doing and also keep improving, though, they have a chance at a very special season. As it stands right now, they haven’t lost since December 4th, and have outscored their opponents 526-340 since then. As impressive as the win streak is, perhaps even more so is the margin of victory in a few of the games. USC has routed Furman, South Carolina State, North Carolina, Savannah State, and Alabama. The women have beaten two ranked teams already (UNC and Vandy), and will take on a third, No. 9 Kentucky, on Sunday.
In other news, Aleighsa Welch was recognized as the Freshman of the Week by the SEC for her recent performances. Congrats to Aleighsa and the entire team on their accomplishments so far – keep it up, ladies!