Ten South Carolina players sit during national anthem before opener

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Ten players for No. 1 South Carolina remained seated during the national anthem before their season-opening 119-38 win over College of Charleston on Wednesday.

Only junior forward Elysa Wesolek stood during the anthem. Coach Dawn Staley and her staff also stood.

The team tweeted a statement saying many of them did not stand "to shine a light on the need for racial equality, social justice and ending systemic racism in our country."

The statement acknowledged that the players understood that not everyone would agree with what they did, "but we ask that everyone respect our right" to make their own choices, it said.

There was no reaction from the small crowd at Colonial Life Arena after the anthem. Only 3,500 people were permitted inside the 18,000-seat arena.

The win was the Gamecocks' best-ever showing under Staley, accomplished last year in a 112-32 victory over SC Upstate. Victaria Saxton had 19 points and 12 rebounds and Zia Cooke scored 18 points in South Carolina's 10th straight win in the series.