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Nov. 21, 2002

It’s a special season opener this Friday night as South Carolina and Clemson have the honor of hosting the inaugural event in the new Carolina Center. Game time is 7:00 p.m. with all general admission tickets $1. The Carolina Center doors will open at 5:30 p.m.

South Carolina and Clemson basketball games are always red-letter days on calendars for Palmetto State residents but the two schools have never opened up a regular season with the annual contest. The Gamecocks enjoy a strong opening night record as USC is 20-8 in regular season openers and 6-2 in home openers.

In November exhibition action, South Carolina defeated opponents, Athletes in Action and Stockholm Human Rights. Clemson did not play a preseason game.

Naismith Award Nominee Jocelyn Penn enters the game on a tear as the All-SEC forward averaged 40 points, six rebounds and five steals in the Gamecocks’ preseason games. Senior Petra Ujhelyi added a double-double performance Sunday against Stockholm as the 6-4 native of Budapest, Hungary scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Junior point guard Cristina Ciocan continued her assault on the USC career assists records as she passed 13 in the November 8th contest in addition to her 31 points) and seven on Sunday. Guard Kelly Morrone suffered a broken nose during a late October practice and missed the first exhibition. The junior from Syracuse, New York , returned to action in Sunday’s exhibition win over Stockholm Human Rights.

The South Carolina women’s basketball attendance record of 12, 168 was set on Thursday, January 17th against the Tennessee Lady Volunteers.

The pride of South Carolina, the Carolina Center will host big-time sporting and entertainment events, in addition to USC basketball. The arena features 41 suites, four entertainment suites, and the Frank McGuire Club, a full-service hospitality room that will have a capacity of 300. The state-of-the-art facility also features plush seating for 18,000 fans, a technologically advanced sound system, a four-sided video scoreboard and a one-of-a-kind selection of unique concession food.