The Daily Gamecock

Duke's Mayo Bowl win, more: What you missed in Gamecock sports over break

Fans hold up a South Carolina flag at the Duke's Mayo Bowl. The bowl game was a highlight for the Gamecocks over winter break.
Fans hold up a South Carolina flag at the Duke's Mayo Bowl. The bowl game was a highlight for the Gamecocks over winter break.

Gamecock athletics had a busy month while students returned home for winter break. It may not have snowed in Columbia, but Mayo came down in Charlotte, basketball continued to rain buckets and other athletes made a splash in their sports.


Both the South Carolina men’s and women’s basketball teams concluded the out-of-conference portion of their schedules and began SEC play. 

The women’s team played seven games over break. The team went 6-1, notching five top-25 wins, including an 18-point comeback against No. 2 Stanford.

It was a near-perfect winter break for the Gamecocks. However, its first loss of the season came in the SEC opener at Missouri. Head coach Dawn Staley said she sees the loss as a learning experience. 

“They listen to you the most in losses,” Staley said. “I told our players the stat sheet looked very similar to games in which we won, and because we won you tend to not look at the things you didn’t do well. We got to shoot the ball better, we got to play with better pace.”

Both junior forward Aliyah Boston and junior guard Zia Cooke passed the 1,000 career point mark in a win over Maryland on December 12th.

The men’s basketball team went 4-2 over break, including a 66-65 nail-biting victory over Florida State in the inaugural No Room for Racism Classic. The team lost its first game against a top-25 opponent this season with an 81-66 loss against No. 9 Auburn.

“League basketball is different,” men’s basketball coach Frank Martin said after the Auburn game. “They were better prepared than we were to handle that moment. But still, it’s disappointing.”

South Carolina, just like most programs in the country, suffered the effects of rising COVID-19 cases. 

Each team had one game postponed — the men's team's game against South Carolina State was postponed, and the women's team's game against Ole Miss was postponed. Staley's team later found a replacement matchup against Mississippi State for the same day. 

The men’s team also had key players miss games due to COVID-19 protocols.


The South Carolina football team had a very successful winter break: The team started the break by sending shockwaves through the national media by getting former Oklahoma quarterback and preseason Heisman favorite, Spencer Rattler, to transfer to South Carolina. The team also received a commitment from Rattler’s teammate, tight-end Austin Stogner. 

“(Stogner’s) dad reached out and Austin visited South Carolina (and) ended up communicating to Spencer how amazing a place this is, and how we have all the resources you need here to win championships and be successful at the highest level,” Beamer said on “The Paul Finebaum Show” shortly after the pair's commitment. 

South Carolina also secured the program's 10th bowl victory — and first since 2017 — with a 38-21 win in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl. Junior wide receiver Dakereon Joyner was named MVP after taking snaps at quarterback. He went 9/9 for 160 yards and scored one touchdown. He also rushed for 64 yards on 10 attempts. 

“It means everything to me, man, right now like I was saying — it still feels like a dream,” Joyner said. “If you ever got something out there that you want to get or that you ever dreamed of, keep going, never give up — adversity is going to come, but it’s how you overcome it.”

Senior kicker Parker White became the school's all-time leader in points during the Mayo Bowl, passing the previous record of 359 points held by Elliot Fry.

Head coach Shane Beamer kept his promise and took a mayonnaise bath to cap off a successful first season that defied many preseason expectations and ended with a 7-6 record. 

Swim and Dive 

The Gamecock made some noise in the pool when Diver Brooke Schultz earned the opportunity to compete in the FINA World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan in May. 

She secured her spot by placing second in the women's one-meter dive at the USA Diving Winter Nationals in December. 

Women's Soccer

Another Gamecock is headed to the pros: Former women’s soccer player Ryan Gareis was selected sixth in the fourth round of the NWSL draft by the Houston Dash.

“We didn’t actually think she would be anywhere near for us to get her,” James Clarkson, Dash head coach, said. “We think she will fit in with how we play and how we want to play, she adds depth and we’re excited to have her join the team.”  


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