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Nov. 8, 2002

The South Carolina women’s basketball team defeated Athletes in Action 94-61 in their first exhibition game of the season.

The Gamecocks were led by junior Cristina Ciocan and senior Jocelyn Penn. Penn led the Gamecocks with 40 points while Ciocan tallied 31. The tandem went a combined 29 of 40 from the floor.

“Cristina and Jocelyn are one of the best combo’s in the country,” stated USC Head Coach Susan Walvius. “This game was one of Jocelyn’s usual numbers. I liked how they contributed but I feel we need to involve Petra Ujhelyi more in the offense.”

The game saw plenty of scoring runs by both teams. Early in the game, USC used a 19-2 run to go up 27-10 with 10:57 remaining but AIA would not give up. The Athletes in Action closed the gap by halftime to trail the Gamecocks 41-36.

In the second half, the Gamecocks outscored AIA 53-25. The Gamecocks went on a 26-7 run over a 9 minutes stretch to extend the lead to 33. The tandem of Penn and Ciocan scored 42 of the Gamecocks 53 points in the last half.

The Gamecocks were out rebounded in the first half 24-11 but came back in the second half to hold a 19-17 edge.

“I’m worried about the rebounding,” said Walvius. “I feel like the rebounding situation is just the fundamental of blocking out. Tonight we were watching the shot more than going to the basket and blocking out our opponent.

“Tonight’s game wasn’t pretty but this is what you can expect in the first exhibition game of the season. I feel like we played our players in the second half like we are planning to play them in the second halves this season. Our newcomers need to improve on defense but our players who are returning from last year’s team played really well. The newcomers need to catch up with them. Athletes in Action is a very good basketball team. They lost by only one point to North Carolina where the winning shot was hit at the buzzard and they lost only by six to Vanderbilt.”

The Gamecocks return to the Carolina Coliseum on Sunday, November 17th to play Stockholm in their final exhibition game of the season at 2:00pm.