Dawn Staley (Randy Sartin - USA TODAY Sports Images)
Columbia, SC --- USC women's basketball coach Dawn Staley announced her team's 29-game schedule for the 2012-2013 season.
Staley is entering her fifth season and is coming off her most productive year since coming to Columbia, leading her program to the NCAA Sweet 16.
The upcoming schedule has 16 regular-season home games and 10 games against teams that participated in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Seven of those NCAA Tournament teams come to Colonial Life Arena, including six from the SEC.
"This is a schedule we know will be exciting for our fans and will challenge our team throughout the season," Staley said.
"With 10 NCAA Tournament teams from last year coming to Colonial Life Arena, there will be a high level of basketball for our fans to enjoy, and we'll need their help to continue last year's success this season."
South Carolina opens the season with 13 non-conference games, including eight at Colonial Life Arena and three as part of the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.
The home slate features visits from archrival Clemson (Sun., Nov. 18) and NCAA Final Four participant Stanford (Wed., Dec. 19).
The Gamecocks will also welcome back one of their own as alumnus Karen Middleton brings her Western Carolina Catamounts to Columbia (Sat., Dec. 29).
The 2012-13 season marks a new phase in the SEC with the addition of Missouri and Texas A&M expanding the league to 14 teams. The league schedule remains 16 games and is set up as a single round robin with one permanent opponent and two random opponents against whom a team will play home-and-home.
The Gamecocks' permanent opponent is Kentucky, and this season's random opponents are Florida and Mississippi State.
South Carolina's SEC schedule kicks off with NCAA Elite Eight finisher Tennessee coming to Columbia (Thu., Jan. 3).
The tournament includes all 16 teams with the championship game slated for Sun., Mar. 10.