November 9, 2020 

South Carolina, Gonzaga lead Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic field

Gamecocks, Zags joined by Oklahoma and host South Dakota in the four-team, three-day tournament over Thanksgiving weekend

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South Carolina’s LeLe Grissett shoots in a game against South Dakota on Dec. 22, 2019 in Columbia, S.C. (Photo: South Carolina Women’s Basketball via Twitter)

Scheduling non-conference games has been a challenge across the board this offseason, but considering how the newly-added women’s Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic field turned out, four teams are going to be especially happy with a significant portion of their non-conference experience.

South Carolina, Gonzaga, South Dakota and Oklahoma are slated to compete in the tournament, announced Friday, which will take place Nov. 28-30 at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D. All but Oklahoma finished in the top 20 of last season’s final national polls.

“We are very excited to be part of this field,” Gonzaga head coach Lisa Fortier said. “We always try to schedule a high-level tournament early in the season to give us an assessment of what our strengths are, and where we need to improve. This will be a great opportunity for our team.”

The Bulldogs, who claimed the West Coast Conference regular-season title a season ago, finished ranked No. 13 in the country despite losing in the conference tournament semifinal. They return WCC Player of the Year Jill Townsend as well as two more senior starters.

South Carolina, meanwhile, won its fifth SEC tournament title in six seasons in 2019-20, and figured to be a contender for the national championship before the NCAA Tournament was canceled. But the Gamecocks are picking up right where they left off, led by 2019-20 consensus National Freshman of the Year Aliyah Boston and ranks No. 1 in ESPN’s latest Way-Too-Early Top 25. (Gonzaga comes in at No. 22.)

“We’re excited to be involved in the Women’s Crossover Classic this season and travel to Sioux Falls, which is known as a great city for basketball,” South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley said. “… After working through a preseason that has looked really different than previous years, these three games will be great to determine where we are as a team early in the season.”

South Dakota can attest to Staley’s initial claim, having completed an undefeated Summit League season with a conference tournament title in Sioux Falls in March. It finished No. 17 in the AP Poll and a conference-record No. 11 in the Coaches Poll, and was picked to top the Summit once again this season.

One of the Coyotes’ two losses last season (against 30 wins, its second-best total since joining Division I) came at South Carolina.

“This tournament allows our team to take on some of the most elite competition in the country! Plus, we are able to do this while staying in the great state of South Dakota!” Coyotes head coach Dawn Plitzuweit said. “We feel very fortunate to have this opportunity and we will certainly learn a great deal from this experience.”

Oklahoma finished ninth in the Big 12 last season, but returns the country’s top 3-point shooter in Taylor Robertson. The Sooners look to make some more noise this season in a still Baylor-heavy conference.

“The field features high-level competition and we’re eager for the opportunity,” said head coach Sherri Coale.

Combined, the four participating programs boast 41 NCAA Tournament appearances, including 24 Sweet Sixteens, five Final Fours and South Carolina’s 2017 national championship.

The complete schedule is as follows (all times CT), with games broadcast on FloHoops:

November 28

  • 2:30 p.m. South Carolina vs. South Dakota

  • 5 p.m. Oklahoma vs. Gonzaga

November 29

  • 2:30 p.m. Oklahoma vs. South Carolina

  • 5 p.m. Gonzaga vs. South Dakota

November 30

  • 2:30 p.m. South Carolina vs. Gonzaga

  • 5 p.m. South Dakota vs. Oklahoma

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