The Daily Gamecock

South Carolina women's basketball set for inaugural Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament

<p>Members of the Women's basketball team jump out of their seats and cheer their teammates on during their match against Clemson on Nov. 17. The top-ranked team will compete in the 12-game, 3-day Battle 4 Atlantis tournament with their first round beginning on Saturday.&nbsp;</p>

Members of the Women's basketball team jump out of their seats and cheer their teammates on during their match against Clemson on Nov. 17. The top-ranked team will compete in the 12-game, 3-day Battle 4 Atlantis tournament with their first round beginning on Saturday. 

The top-ranked South Carolina women's basketball team will begin play in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis against Buffalo Saturday night.

The 12-game, three-day tournament will feature four teams ranked in the top-25 from the latest AP poll: No. 1 South Carolina, No. 2 UConn, No. 9 Oregon and No. 23 South Florida. 

"I'm just excited for the good teams we're going to be able to play against this tournament," junior forward Laeticia Amihere said at Friday's press conference. 

South Carolina (3-0) is coming off a second-half offensive explosion against Clemson en route to a 76-45 win Wednesday night. 

Coming off the bench, Amihere played a solid game on both sides of the basketball, scoring 10 points and blocking two shots. 

With playing time being shared between the post players, Amihere assessed how the group has performed so far.

"I think we're being really aggressive — working the high-low — just me learning how to play with Kamilla (Cardoso)," Amihere said. "But, I think we just need to continue pounding into the post players — just working hard ... and trying to get those touches at the rim and making sure we're taking our time when we get there as well."

Mentioning the team had yet to practice since arriving in the Bahamas, head coach Dawn Staley said there will be an emphasis on less turnovers, being ready for pressure from opponents, and being ready to guard. 

"Buffalo's going to put us back on our heels to make sure we contain the ball and keep it out of the paint. They're aggressive," Staley said at Friday's press conference. "Making sure our defense is disciplined and in a position of keeping people in front of us."

Heading into Saturday's matchup, it will have been 11 days since Buffalo (1-0) last played, as the team defeated Canisius 102-42 on Nov. 9. 

Despite the time off, fourth-year head coach Felisha Legette-Jack insisted the Bulls will not be backing down, regardless of the opponent. 

"We're not underdogs anymore, we've been here way too long to be an underdog," Legette-Jack said, according to The Spectrum.

In 2018, the Gamecocks defeated Buffalo 79-63 in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament.

Summer Hemphill, a redshirt fifth-year forward, was a sophomore on the Bulls at the time and hasn't forgotten the impact the game has had on the program. 

"That Sweet 16 game, it was a good game, for sure," Hemphill said, according to WIVB.com. "Just the fact that we were able to compete and get to that stage shows what this basketball program has built and how we are able to compete with the top teams in the nation."

There is a possibility that South Carolina could play three games in three days, but with the similar experiences of playing in the SEC Tournament, Staley said she knows her team can handle it.

"The styles of play are probably a little bit different than we'll see in the SEC, but certainly the competitiveness, the need to focus on each individual game presents itself just like an SEC tournament," Staley said.

The Gamecocks will tip-off against Buffalo on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.  


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