The full 2023-24 schedule for South Carolina women’s basketball is set – and it’s a gauntlet.
USC, which topped the NCAA in NET ranking last season, has five non-conference and three SEC opponents listed in ESPN’s way-too-early Top 25 rankings, published in May: LSU (No. 1) UConn (No. 2), Utah (No. 5), Notre Dame (No. 10), Ole Miss (No. 11), Tennessee (No. 12), Maryland (No. 17), and UNC (No. 19). South Carolina is listed as No. 8.
The SEC schedule was released Sept. 6, and as of Tuesday the dates for all 13 non-conference matchups are known.
The Gamecocks open with their historic Parisian battle with Notre Dame on Nov. 6. UConn and Maryland headline their home slate, while Utah will be their biggest road tests.
South Carolina will play at UNC on Nov. 30 for their first regular season meeting since 2013 as part of the ACC-SEC Challenge. Then comes a battle with Utah on Dec. 10 in the Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Showcase in Uncasville, Connecticut. The Utes just finished their best season in program history, winning the Pac-12 championship and advancing to the NCAA Sweet 16.
South Carolina will welcome Clemson at home on Nov. 16 and travel to South Dakota State Nov. 20. Then Mississippi Valley State comes to Columbia on Nov. 24. Later the Gamecocks face Duke, where new assistant coach Winston Gandy coached last, on Dec. 3. Morgan State will be at Colonial Life Arena on Dec. 6. A Fred Chmiel reunion game is also in store, as South Carolina heads to Bowling Green Dec. 19 to take on the former Gamecocks assistant. Presbyterian will come to town on Dec. 16. East Carolina, home to 2019 South Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year Danae McNeal, will host USC on Dec. 30. Presbyterian
Here are the top three story lines from the newly finalized slate of non-conference games:
Making history in Paris
Nov. 6 at Halle Georges Carpentier Arena in Paris
The Gamecocks are going global.
South Carolina and Notre Dame begin their seasons with a game in Paris on Nov. 6. It will be the first NCAA regular season game ever played in the capital of France.
“We can’t not do it,” Staley said at SEC spring meetings of how the game came together. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime trip for us both educationally and athletically. I think it’s great. It’s gonna be great for our fans. It’s gonna be great for our team. It’s gonna be great for women’s basketball.”
The event is sure to serve as a watershed moment for the sport. But it’s made even more significant by having Staley and Notre Dame’s Niele Ivey as the faces – two of the most prolific Black female head coaches in the game. South Carolina’s participation in the matchup also signals another grand investment by the athletic department into its women’s basketball program.
Personnel changes for and against UConn
Feb. 11 at Colonial Life Arena
The Huskies and Gamecocks have played every year since the 2014-2015 season, including two additional postseason matchups as well. The last time South Carolina played UConn, the Gamecocks won 81-77 in Connecticut.
That Huskies squad was without Paige Bueckers, though, who missed the entire 2022-23 season with a torn ACL. She announced earlier this month that she had been medically cleared to return to competition.
Staley will also be dealing with a different roster situation from recent years after the departure of her beloved “Freshies” class. By then she will most likely have figured out how to mesh veterans like forward Kamilla Cardoso and guard Raven Johnson with new additions like Oregon transfer Te-Hina Paopao and former five-star MiLaysia Fulwiley.
It means more against Maryland
Nov. 12 at Colonial Life Arena.
South Carolina’s home opener against the Terrapins will carry a lot of nostalgic weight for new and old faces alike.
The Gamecocks will retire Tiffany Mitchell’s No. 25 jersey before the tip. She is just the fourth USC women’s basketball player to have her jersey retired and the first under coach Dawn Staley. Mitchell was a member of the school’s first Final Four team in 2015 and twice named SEC Player of the Year.
New assistant coach Winston Gandy attended Maryland for college, earning a bachelor’s degree in economics there and serving as a practice squad player for the women’s program all four years. He also got his first coaching job there, starting as director of recruiting development under Brenda Frese upon graduation.
Outside those bittersweet storylines, there’s the on-court history between South Carolina and the Terrapins. The Gamecocks ended Maryland’s 2022-23 season with a 86-75 win in the NCAA Elite Eight. The squads split their previous meetings in Columbia.
South Carolina women’s basketball 2023-24 full schedule
Nov. 6 vs Notre Dame (Paris)
Nov. 12 vs Maryland
Nov. 16 vs Clemson
Nov. 20, South Dakota State
Nov. 24, Mississippi Valley State
Nov. 30 at UNC
Dec. 3 at Duke
Dec. 6, Morgan State
Dec. 10 vs Utah (Uncasville, Ct.)
Dec. 16 vs Presbyterian
Dec. 19 at Bowling Green
Dec. 30 at East Carolina
Jan. 4 at Florida
Jan. 7 vs. Mississippi State
Jan. 11 at Missouri
Jan. 15 vs. Kentucky
Jan. 21 at Texas A&M
Jan. 25 at LSU
Jan. 28 vs. Vanderbilt
Feb. 1 at Auburn
Feb. 4 vs. Ole Miss
Feb. 8 vs. Missouri
Feb. 11 vs UConn (ESPN)
Feb. 15 at Tennessee
Feb. 18 vs. Georgia
Feb. 22 vs. Alabama
Feb. 25 at Kentucky
Feb. 29 at Arkansas
Mar. 3 vs. Tennessee