Women’s pregame: Injury shakes up roster

Point guard in flux after Sessions was injured against UNC

dcloninger@thestate.comDecember 19, 2013 

South Carolina's Khadijah Sessions has a shot blocked by North Carolina's Stephanie Mavunga in the CresCom Bank Carolinas Challenge at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013. North Carolina won 74 to 66.

JANET BLACKMON MORGAN — The (Myrtle Beach) Sun News

  • Gamecocks vs. Eagles

    WHO: Winthrop (6-2) vs. South Carolina (9-1)

    WHEN: Noon Friday

    WHERE: Colonial Life Arena

    TV: None

    Winthrop’s probable starters: G Dequesha McClanahan 5-8 Sr. (21.4, 8.0 rpg); G Samiya Wright 5-8 Jr. (10.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg); G/F Erica Williams 5-10 Fr. (14.0 ppg, 7.4 rpg); G/F Taylor Calvert 5-11 Jr. (4.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg); F/C Schaquilla Nunn 6-3 So. (14.5 ppg, 12.1 rpg)

    South Carolina’s probable starters: G Asia Dozier 6-0 So. (7.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg); G Tiffany Mitchell 5-9 So. (15.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg); G Tina Roy 5-11 RSo. (4.3 ppg, 2.5 rpg); F Aleighsa Welch 6-0 Jr. (14.9 ppg, 7.9 rpg); C Elem Ibiam 6-4 Jr. (11.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg)

    Next game: USC hosts S.C. State at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Dawn Staley joked that South Carolina’s best plan to approach an ankle injury to point guard Khadijah Sessions was to “pray.”

She headed to church Thursday morning and might not leave until Friday’s noon tipoff.

Sessions sprained her left ankle during Wednesday’s 74-66 loss to No. 14 North Carolina and is out for at least the next two games, Staley said Thursday. She will be re-evaluated after the Christmas break.

Staley didn’t yet have an answer for who would replace Sessions at the point, waiting for Thursday’s practice to see what the best options were. Even then, she didn’t have a definite answer.

“Committee,” Staley said. “I’m not going to say who because we’ve got to probably have a shootaround. I told our team, I don’t know yet, because we have so many different people that give us different things. And we don’t want to give Winthrop any hints on how to scout for whatever player.”

On Wednesday, she mentioned that redshirt freshman Tiffany Davis, sophomore Tiffany Mitchell or sophomore Asia Dozier could be candidates. Mitchell and Dozier already start at the two and three. Other guards who could see increased playing time due to the switch are redshirt sophomore Tina Roy and junior Olivia Gaines. Or if USC wants to play three bigs, it could start Alaina Coates alongside Elem Ibiam and Aleighsa Welch in the post, with Mitchell and Dozier helming the guard spots.

Sessions had started every game at point guard and averaged 8.2 points. She may return soon, but if she does, she’ll be watching how she celebrates a good play.

Sessions tweaked the ankle during the UNC game but was running it off. She hurt herself by chest-bumping with Welch at mid-court after the Gamecocks cut the deficit to two points. She landed wrong on the ankle and sprained it.

Staley said. “I think we have to be more conscious of stuff like that,” Staley said.

USC will play its first game without Sessions on Friday when Winthrop (6-2) visits. The Eagles, ranked No. 23 in the Collegeinsider.com Mid-Major poll, will try to mimic UNC’s attack against USC.

The Tar Heels made a lot of early jump shots and then began pounding the lane against USC, working second-chance points and answering every time they were challenged. The Gamecocks trimmed a 13-point deficit to two several times on Wednesday, but every time they did, UNC drove right to the rim.

“I think that was the dagger for us,” Welch said. “Every time we got right there, they came up with timely shots. A lot of that comes to us getting defensive stops. That goes on us, and that’s just one thing that we’re going to have to work on.”

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