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Countdown to the 2016 WNBA Draft: No. 3 South Carolina’s Tiffany Mitchell

March 6 2016: South Carolina Gamecocks guard Tiffany Mitchell (25) makes a angle in the confetti while celebrating the win during the NCAA women's southeastern conference tournament finals between the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, FL. The South Carolina Gamecocks won by a score of 66-52.(Photo by Jared Bludsworth/Icon Sportswire)
Jared Bludsworth/Icon Sportswire

South Carolina senior guard Tiffany Mitchell has been one of the driving forces to build her team up to be a national title contender, so it’s only fitting the leader has some qualities that would make her a prime candidate for the 2016 WNBA Draft.

The Gamecocks of South Carolina have never had problems reaching the tournament in recent years, however, their journey has been historically halted in the second or third round. Last season, the team advanced as far as the Final Four before falling 66-65 to No. 1 seeded Notre Dame. Mitchell played nearly every minute of that game (37 minutes) and managed to post 11 points before the Gamecocks fell short.

The team ended their 2014-2015 season with a 34-3 record.

This season, the Gamecocks are singing a different tune led by Mitchell. The No. 3 team in the country is 31-1, first in the SEC, and they just nabbed their second straight SEC Tournament title.

Mitchell led the team to their 66-52 title game win over Mississippi State alongside sophomore forward A’ja Wilson. The duo each scored 19 points, and Mitchell led in assists with five.

For Mitchell’s senior season, she was second in both points per game at 15 and total steals with 56, and she currently leads the team in minutes played at 30.5 per game and in total assists with 81 for the season.

Outside of playing for Dawn Staley and South Carolina, Mitchell played for the 2015 U.S. Women’s Pan American team to help capture a silver medal.

Prior to her days with South Carolina, Mitchell played for Providence Day during high school. She was ranked No. 46 overall and No. 15 for guards on ESPN’s HoopGurlz class of 2012. During her senior year, Mitchell averaged 19.6 points and seven rebounds. She was the 2011-2012 Gatorade North Carolina Player of the Year and led her team to three straight state championships.

While South Carolina has only lost one game (to UConn) this season, there have been a number of hiccups in the road that Mitchell has helped calm down.

In the team’s Jan. 17 conference matchup against Texas A&M, Mitchell contributed alongside Wilson to pull out a close win. Mitchell’s defense at the end of the game with a steal in the final second sealed South Carolina’s marginal 59-58 win in regulation.

Just a week later, the Gamecocks found themselves in a close game with Mississippi State on Jan. 24. Mitchell led the team with 21 points and played 37 minutes of the game. Seven of those points came in the final five minutes of the game to give the team the final push to stay perfect.

Following their 2016 SEC title, the Gamecocks hold a No. 1 seed heading into the NCAA Tournament. They host Jacksonville in the first round of the tournament on March 18, and Mitchell will look to continue boosting her WNBA Draft stock with a strong showing during a deep run.

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