Dec. 18, 2002
Columbia, S.C. – The University of South Carolina (8-0, 0-0) began Wednesday’s game on a 24-5 run on the strength of Kelly Morrone’s four 3-pointers in the opening minutes as the Gamecocks defeated Louisiana-Lafayette (2-5, 0-0) 70-41 in the Carolina Center. This is the seventh win for the team by a double-digit margin.
Defense was the name of the game in the first half as Carolina held the Cajuns to 9.1 percent on 2 of 22 shooting from the field. Both of those field goals were 3-pointers. The Gamecocks also forced 17 turnovers as Louisiana-Lafayette was able to muster only 11 points in the first half. Morrone provided the first half offensive spark making four out of five 3-pointers in the half. She ended the game with 15 points after seeing limited time in the second half.
Senior Jocelyn Penn, SEC Player of the Week and National Player of the Year candidate, led all scorers with 25 points on 11-17 shooting from the field. She also contributed six rebounds to the winning cause. Cristina Ciocan provided her part of the offense, dishing 13 assists on the night and adding nine points and four rebounds of her own.
The Gamecock defense stifled the Cajuns all game, as only one player was able to break double figures in scoring. “Coming in, we respected Louisiana-Lafayette. The players had to learn ten different sets that UL-L runs in one day and I think they did that very well. We did very well defensively in the first half, but the second half should have been more aggressive,” said Head Coach Susan Walvius of her team’s performance. Carolina forced 24 turnovers for the game and only allowed 25.5 percent shooting. Penn had seven steals for the game, leading the team, which had a total of 13 in the contest.
“We opened with Clemson and have played Oregon and Boston College, both ranked in the Top-25. The schedule has gotten us ready for the SEC. We have tried to take something from every game to help us prepare for conference play. We are ready for a good challenge in playing North Carolina,” Coach Walvius added.
South Carolina is next in action this Friday, Dec. 20 at Myrtle Beach in the annual SEC-ACC Challenge. The Gamecocks are paired against 13th-ranked North Carolina. Tip-off is scheduled for 9:00 p.m.