Lady Gamecocks earn first trip to NCAAs since 2003

South Carolina earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003 and will face Eastern Michigan on Saturday, March 17 at the West Lafayette, Ind., site, hosted by Purdue University. Purdue and South Dakota State will square off in the other game at the site with the winners meeting on Monday, March 19.

The matchup will be the first in the series between the Gamecocks and Mid-American Conference champion Eagles. EMU posted a 23-8 record in 2012 and earned the program’s first MAC tournament title since the 2004 season.

The Gamecocks have played Purdue twice, going 0-2 against the Boilermakers. The two teams have most recently played in the 2005-06 season with Purdue claiming a 56-48 win at the Junkanoo Jam in Freeport, Bahamas. South Carolina and South Dakota State have never met on the basketball court.

Fans can request tickets online at www.GamecocksOnline.com/Tickets, by phone through the South Carolina Athletics Ticket Office at 803-777-4274 or in person at the South Carolina Athletics Ticket Office at Colonial Life Arena. The deadline for requests is 5 p.m. (ET) Wed., March 14, and requests will be prioritized with Gamecock Club members and women’s basketball season ticket holders receiving first priority. All tickets requested through the South Carolina Athletics Ticket Office must be picked up on site at the will call window by the Gamecock Club or women’s basketball season ticket account holder. Please contact the South Carolina Athletics Ticket Office for more information.

This will be the ninth NCAA Tournament appearance for South Carolina, which has built an 8-8 record in the event. The 2001-02 Gamecocks reached the tournament’s Elite Eight, the deepest into the event than any South Carolina basketball team has progressed.

This season, South Carolina is 23-9 entering the NCAA Tournament, including 10 SEC regular-season wins, which tied the school record originally set in 2001-02. The Gamecocks advanced to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament for the first time in program history, and school-record three players earned All-SEC honors. Among its signature wins this season, South Carolina defeated five nationally ranked opponents, including three top-20 foes.

The Gamecocks posted their first ever win over Tennessee in Knoxville and swept Vanderbilt for the first time in school history, handing the Commodores their only home loss of the season. The Gamecocks are fourth in the nation in scoring defense (50.5 ppg), allowing more than 55 points just 10 times in 32 contests this season.

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