South Carolina Basketball: 3 thumbs up, 3 thumbs down from blowout over East Carolina

South Carolina basketball moved to 12-0 with a road win over East Carolina on Saturday.
South Carolina basketball guard Raven Johnson
South Carolina basketball guard Raven Johnson / Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina Basketball vs. East Carolina
Thumbs Down 1: Free Throws, Again

After two months of a certain statistic becoming a trend, it is usually indicative of who a team is, and so far in the 2023-2024 season, the Gamecocks are a poor free throw shooting team. South Carolina is shooting under 64% from the charity stripe this season, and they were even worse than that against ECU. Dawn Staley's team did a really nice job of getting to the line (34 attempts), but they only made 18, meaning they shot 52.9% from the line.

Many South Carolina basketball fans have been saying all season that free throw shooting could hurt the Gamecocks in SEC play, and they are correct. Shooting so poorly on shots that are supposed to provide a team with free points could be enough to turn a close victory over a good SEC opponent into a frustrating loss.

South Carolina Basketball vs. East Carolina
Thumbs Down 2: Shooting Inefficiency

The Gamecocks were not horribly inefficient on Saturday, but they didn't shoot that well. Knocking down under 41% of their shots is not a very good number for Carolina. They cleaned up a lot of those misses with offensive rebounds (a very good 17 on 36 missed shots), but USC has to shoot a little better. Just one starter (Bree Hall at 2-3) shot better than 50%, and major contributors Chloe Kitts and Tessa Johnson combined to go 1-10 from the field.

USC shot 5-20 to start the game, and that inefficiency clouds the game's overall numbers. Slow starts like that don't hurt much against East Carolina, but they could against LSU.

The Gamecocks' shot selection was a bit suspect on Saturday, as well. The Gamecocks took a lot of tough midrange shots, and they only made 5 shots from behind the perimeter. They were efficient from outside (38.5%), but they only took 13 3-pointers, a number that is too low. Improved shot selection will help the scoring numbers for the garnet and black.

South Carolina Basketball vs. East Carolina
Thumbs Down 3: Fouls

To be fair, fouling 18 times is not the end of the world. It's actually just a bit higher than average for USC. However, the Gamecocks didn't need to foul ECU 18 times. There were several instances of Carolina players being somewhat out of control on defense, crashing into Pirates players for unnecessary fouls. Ashlyn Watkins got into foul trouble again (and eventually fouled out). Watkins, Kamilla Cardoso, and MiLaysia Fulwiley lead the team in fouls on the season, and though the Gamecocks need their aggressive styles of play, they have to rein things in just a bit moving forward.

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