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Nov. 22, 2002

The South Carolina women’s basketball team opened up the Carolina Center in style with a 72-58 win over in-state rival Clemson. The win for the Gamecocks was the first against the Tigers since 1994.

Carolina opened up the game with a 21-6 lead over the first 8:44. Carolina’s came out with a sharp performance in the first half as they shot an impressive 45% from the floor. The defense in the first half also came up with a good performance as they forced Clemson to shoot 33% from the field and forced 13 turnovers in the first half. The overall performance by Carolina gave them a 36-24 edge going into halftime.

In the second half Clemson would battle back to cut the deficit to seven with 13:14 left. The Gamecocks responded quickly by going on a 13-2 run over the next 3 minutes and 20 seconds. The relentless Tigers would charge back but they would not get any closer than nine points with 6:01 remaining. The Gamecocks would prevail over the final six minutes to capture the 14 point win in front of 17,712, the largest ever crowd to witness a basketball game in the state of South Carolina.

South Carolina was led by Jocelyn Penn and Cristina Ciocan who both recorded 23 points. Penn’s 23 points moved her into 16th place all time in USC history. Freshman Sarah Burgess, in her first game ever as a Gamecock, tallied 9 on three treys. Kelly Morrone added 10 while Petra Ujheyli chipped in 4, and Koretha Johnson added 3.

“Clemson is a really good team. We wanted the chance to open against Clemson to give the fans a good chance to see a very good basketball game in the first ever game at the new arena,” said USC Head Coach Susan Walvius. “We’re excited to get this win for us and our fans. They were fantastic and really pulled us through. We wanted to come out and play well. We focused on the process and what we need to be a successful team. Our postseason experience last year helped us tonight. We were able to handle the pressure. I can’t imagine a scenario better than this.”

The Gamecocks will host the College of Charleston on Sunday at 5:30pm.