On Thursday, the #1-ranked South Carolina basketball team will take on the preseason #1 LSU Tigers in Baton Rogue as part of the College GameDay game of the week. The reigning national champions will be looking to avenge a blowout loss to the Gamecocks from the 2022-2023 season, while USC is looking to assert their dominance and prove to the college basketball world that they are the real favorite to bring home the trophy in April.
One sub-plot to watch heading into the game is the health of freshman guard Tessa Johnson. The Gamecocks do not have a full roster, so when Johnson got banged up in the win over the Texas A&M Aggies, MiLaysia Fulwiley became the only guard on Coach Dawn Staley's bench.
However, according to a report from WACH Fox's Matt Dowell, Johnson was practicing with the Gamecocks yesterday leading up to Thursday's game. After rolling her left ankle and wearing a boot in the aftermath of Sunday's game, this comes as a welcome sign that the talented freshman might be able to give it a go against LSU.
On the season, Johnson is shooting over 40% from 3-point land and has four double-digit scoring efforts. In some games, she has been the first guard off of the bench for the Gamecocks (splitting that role with MiLaysia Fulwiley), and she has one start on the year. She also missed three games with a right ankle injury earlier this season.
Nothing definitive has come out about Johnson's status, but she is expected to play pending the pregame walkthrough.
South Carolina basketball has defeated LSU 14 times in a row, but this is the most talented LSU team since that streak began. The winner of this game controls their own destiny in the SEC regular season standings. The Gamecocks opened as 9.5-point favorites in the game.