South Carolina loaded for repeat women’s college basketball title run

South Carolina women’s basketball is coming off its best season in history. The Gamecocks were ranked No. 1 in the country wire-to-wire and capped a 36-2 campaign with the program’s second NCAA national championship.

The pressure to defend the title is high and with four of five starters returning and several exciting new pieces, there are increased expectations and pressure. South Carolina was an overwhelming choice at No. 1 in the USA TODAY Sports preseason poll.

Repeating in women’s college basketball hasn’t been easy. No team has won back-to-back national championships since Connecticut’s four-year streak from 2013-2016, and the last non-Connecticut team to win consecutive titles was Tennessee in 2007 and 2008.

Optimism for this season’s possibilities starts with senior forward Aliyah Boston. She is not just the top returner for South Carolina: She’s the top returner in women’s college basketball. Boston, the consensus national player of the year last season, already holds 21 program records, including two career records after just three seasons.

Last season, she averaged a double-double with 16.8 points and 12.5 rebounds per game, plus 2.4 blocks. Her stats were even better during the Final Four run, where she averaged 17 points and 17 rebounds. She led the SEC in rebounds per game and in field goal percentage shooting 54.2%.

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