BOONE, N.C. – Appalachian State University women’s basketball has reached an agreement on a three-game series with 2017 national champion and perennial powerhouse South Carolina, announced on Monday.
The Mountaineers and Gamecocks will face off in Columbia next season on Dec. 5, 2018, with the second game in the series taking place in Boone during the 2019-20 campaign. The third and final matchup will go back to South Carolina’s home floor in 2020-21. Dates for the last two games have yet to be determined.
“We couldn’t be more excited to announce a three-game series with South Carolina,” head coach Angel Elderkin said. “Coach (Dawn) Staley and her staff has built USC into one of the elite programs in the country. This will be a great test early in the schedule for our team. Our goal is to have a tough non-conference schedule that will prepare us for the Sun Belt. To face South Carolina on the road in their environment will certainly be a challenge that we embrace.”
Since head coach Angel Elderkin’s arrival in 2014-15, the Mountaineers haven’t shied away from scheduling some of the top programs in the country. Since Elderkin’s first season at the helm, the Mountaineers have faced Power Five schools such as North Carolina (3x), Georgia Tech (2x), Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee and Wake Forest.
App hosted its first Power Five program since the 2006-07 season when GT visited the High Country for the Mountaineers’ season opener on Nov. 10, 2017.
The matchup will undoubtedly give the Mountaineers an early test as they face one of the elite programs in the nation. Since 2012-13, the Gamecocks have advanced to a pair of NCAA Tournament Sweet 16’s, one Elite Eight, a Final Four and two National Championship appearances, including their 67-55 victory over Mississippi State in the 2017 National Title game. Last season, South Carolina posted a 29-7 mark and fell to eventual NCAA Tournament runner-up, UConn, in the Elite Eight.
Appalachian and USC will play each other for the first time since the First Round of the WNIT in 2011. The Mountaineers are 4-12 all-time against the Gamecocks.
App State returns a loaded squad that was the least experienced in the league, as it was the only team in the conference not to start a junior or senior. All 10 letterwinners including its leading scorers in Pre Stanley and Tierra Wilson and All-Sun Belt Third Team selection, Bayley Plummer, return. Madi Story, who was Preseason All-First Team Sun Belt, will return following a torn ACL. UCF transfer Ashley Polacek is eligible after sitting out due to NCAA transfer rules.