Cloninger Soundoff: Mitchell has become USC’s go-to scorer

Posted by DAVID CLONINGER on December 20, 2013 

South Carolina guard Tiffany Mitchell (25) gets her teammates approval after hitting a three point shot while being fouled during the South Carolina-Winthrop basketball game Friday afternoon at the Colonial Life Arena.

TIM DOMINICK — Tim Dominick/tdominick@thestate.

It’s time to reflect on just how good Tiffany Mitchell is, and can be.

It’s not just that she leads the team in scoring, and hasn’t scored less than 15 points in any of her past five games. It’s that she’s becoming one of the only pieces that South Carolina was missing last year – a go-to scorer.

What triggered the Gamecocks’ rise two seasons ago is that they won a lot of close games due to guard La’Keisha Sutton, a fearless competitor who wanted and demanded the ball when USC had to have a basket. While USC replaced Sutton with a lot of talent, it was missing some of the heart that Sutton had in abundance; despite that, the Gamecocks only lost eight games all year.

Mitchell has all of it. She can score, she hates to lose and she can take some of the pressure off Aleighsa Welch, who is also that go-to scorer but will be schemed against as the schedule heats up. Welch likes to go inside and may find that difficult against some of the SEC’s towers – Mitchell can hit from anywhere and provides a wonderful other option.

Talking to her high-school coach a few weeks ago, he said that Mitchell was the missing link to USC’s hopes for an SEC title. Under-rated last season despite starting all but three games, Mitchell has really taken over the team.

Winthrop coach Kevin Cook put it best. “Young lady No. 25, Mitchell, made us pay,” he said.

Many other coaches may soon be saying that.

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