NASHVILLE, Tenn. — After an eight-day break between games, Vanderbilt is in the midst of playing three games in seven days.
The Commodores (9-10, 0-5) complete the trifecta by hosting No. 1 South Carolina (18-0, 6-0) on Thursday at 6 p.m. CT (SEC Network) at Memorial Gymnasium and traveling to Gainesville to play Florida on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT (SEC Network+).
The meeting with South Carolina is Vanderbilt’s We Back Pat game in honor of legendary Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt. The SEC’s weeklong initiative is focused on bringing awareness and recognition to the Pat Summitt Foundation and its fight against Alzheimer’s disease. Summitt died in 2016 at age 64 after a five-year battle with early-onset Alzheimer’s.
Vanderbilt began the week with a buzzer-beating loss to Arkansas on Monday highlighted by an improbable ending. After Vandy graduate guard Marnelle Garraud banked in a 3-pointer to tie the game with nine seconds remaining, Arkansas guard Makayla Daniels raced up the court and answered with her own banked in 3-pointer to give the Razorbacks the 84-81 win.
Garraud nearly willed Vanderbilt to the victory, scoring 31 points and hitting seven 3-pointers to extend her SEC lead in 3-pointers made to 54. Garraud is averaging 14.0 points and has reached double figures scoring in three straight games and 13 games overall.
Vandy graduate guard Ciaja Harbison ranks second in SEC in scoring with a team-leading average of 19.0. Harbison is tied for third in the SEC in assists (4.9) and is fifth in steals (1.9).
Harbison is averaging 22.5 points over the last four games and has scored at least 20 points in eight of the 16 games she’s played for Vanderbilt.
Sophomore forward Sacha Washington leads the Dores in rebounding (7.6), which ranks sixth in the SEC, and blocked shots (29), which ranks fourth.
South Carolina (18-0, 6-0 SEC)
The defending SEC and national champions will present Vanderbilt with its biggest challenge to date. The Gamecocks have won 24 straight games and have 10 players standing 6-feet or taller, led by reigning National Player of the Year Aliyah Boston.
Boston is averaging 12.5 points and 9.4 rebounds. The senior ranks second in the SEC in rebounding and third in blocked shots (1.9), slightly ahead of teammate Kamilla Cardoso (1.6). Boston is one double-double away from trying the South Carolina career record of 72. She has scored in double figures in 101 of her 119 career games.
Senior guard Zia Cooke is averaging a team-leading 15.3 points per game and has reached double-figures scoring in 10 straight games.
The Gamecocks rank second in the nation in scoring margin (36.1) and fourth in the nation in offensive rebounds per game (17.7).
Vanderbilt leads the all-time series 21-20, including 11-8 at home. South Carolina has won 14 straight in the series, with Vandy’s last win coming in the 2010-11 season.
Vanderbilt leads the all-time series 34-27. The teams are locked at 13-13 in games played in Gainesville. Florida has won six of the last seven meetings. The teams split last season’s two games, with Vanderbilt beating Florida at home and losing to the Gators in the SEC Tournament.
KK Deans entered the week averaging a team-leading 14.8 points per game for Florida, and ranked second behind Garraud in the SEC in 3-pointers made with 45. Guard Nina Rickards entered averaging 13.7 points.
Tickets: Students will continue to receive free admission to all home basketball games. In addition, single-game sales, mini-plans and group ticket options are available. To view the promotional schedule, click here.