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Nov. 7, 2002

The South Carolina women’s basketball team opens the 2002-03 exhibition schedule Friday night with a 7:00 p.m. contest against Athletes in Action. The Gamecocks will host two exhibition games in the Carolina Coliseum before opening up the regular season in the new Carolina Center on November 22nd.

With Friday night’s game against the Gamecocks, the Athletes in Action squad is exactly halfway through its 16-game exhibition schedule with 16 games in 20 days. As of Thursday, AIA holds a 2-4 exhibition record with victories over Murray State and Wright State and barely lost at Vanderbilt last Friday night, 79-73.

With three starters and four more letterwinners from last year’s Elite Eight team returning, the South Carolina Gamecocks enter the 2002-2003 season seeking a return trip to the NCAA Tournament to accomplish unfinished goals. After redshirting last season, senior Jocelyn Penn reestablished herself as one of the best players in the SEC as she was named to the 2002 All-SEC Coaches’ First Team and led USC in scoring, rebounding and steals. Now starting her senior year, Petra Ujhelyi has the opportunity to become one of the most dominant Gamecock post players ever as she is poised to exceed the 1,000-point total. The return of Kelly Morrone and Jocelyn Penn to the team last season has been called one of the keys to South Carolina’s success. Typically the first player brought in off the bench, Morrone’s play at point guard steadies the Gamecock offense while her vocal leadership energizes the team. Junior Cristina Ciocan led the SEC most of the season in assists and captured the SEC Player of the Week honor after passing 14 assists against Vanderbilt against only one turnover.

South Carolina adds three new players to the mix this season and will expect immediate returns from the newcomers. The 1998 South Carolina Player of the Year Koretha Johnson is a transfer from Howard Junior College and led her Myrtle Beach High School team to the state title in 1997. Katarzyna (Kasia) Roszak transferred from highly-regarded Gulf Coast Community College where she led the team and the conference in rebounding and helped Gulf Coast win back-to-back Florida Panhandle Conference titles. The State of Ohio Co-Player of the Year, Sarah Burgess is a very competitive player who will give USC another three-point shooting threat.

The South Carolina Gamecocks open the season with the very first game ever in the Carolina Center on Friday, November 22nd against instate rival, Clemson. South Carolina’s 27-game schedule features 16 home contests and matches the Gamecocks against 13 teams who advanced into postseason play last year, including 11 NCAA Tournament participants. USC opens the 2003 SEC season January 9th when the Mississippi State Bulldogs visit the Carolina Center.

South Carolina returns to the court next Sunday, November 17th with the last exhibition game of the season against Stockhom. Tipoff is set for 2:00 p.m at the Carolina Coliseum