After South Carolina women's basketball beat Florida this past Sunday, the Gamecocks will look to get their 10th-straight win over the Kentucky Wildcats on Thursday night for their second matchup of the season.
"I like to play teams that have a high [rating percentage index], that's a tournament team. I like to play them twice because they can boost your schedule," head coach Dawn Staley said to Gamecocks Online. "They can make your profile, your resumé, look a lot better than if you play somebody that's not a winning basketball team."
The Gamecocks have some strong players that the team will turn to during this rivalry, including senior guard Alexis Jennings who scored 18 points and 12 rebounds in South Carolina's first game against Kentucky this season. Jennings also leads the Gamecocks with a second double-double during the first game, meaning she scored in the double digits for both points and rebounds.
Staley said that Jennings has been a solid player as her career in college basketball draws to a close.
"She's playing pretty well on both sides of the ball," Staley said to Gamecocks Online. "She's practicing well. A lot of times you see that transition into the games and we're happy. I think she's feeling the end of her career coming to a close so she wants to put her best foot forward."
No. 13 South Carolina secured a 74-70 victory over Kentucky last month and will look to continue its dominance on offense. Last matchup, the Gamecocks had a 10-point lead going into the fourth quarter and Staley said it's important to note that Kentucky is a defensive team.
"I think that is our advantage to play in the paint, pound it in there, to see if they can stop us," Staley said. "They do have some really good guards that put us back on our heels and they can knock down 3-point shots so they can spread you out, they can beat you in a lot of different ways, so we gotta play."
In addition, Staley said that Mikiah Herbert Harrigan is feeling pressure to perform in the upcoming game and has been making a concerted effort to do well in practice.
"You want that, you don't want her to lie down and die," Staley said. "She wants to do something about it and she gets pretty frustrated when she's not able to hit shots like she normally does, but I think there is other areas in the game where she could be productive rebounding and defending."
The Gamecocks are currently one win away from their eighth-straight 20-win season and will face off against Kentucky at Colonial Life Arena at 7 p.m.