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Dec. 30, 2002

The 16th-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks look to close out 2002 on a positive note Tuesday as USC hosts South Carolina State in a special New Year’s Eve contest in the Carolina Center. Game time is 4:00 p.m.

Entering the game with a 10-1 record, the Gamecocks come off a strong performance Sunday in an 96-52 victory against Alcorn State. Five USC players scored in double figures Sunday with Jocelyn Penn leading the way with 28 points, eight rebounds and five steals. Sophomore Tonisha Reese contributed a career-high 13 points as the Hopkins, South Carolina native connected on three-of-five three pointers.

Penn still leads the team in scoring with a 27.0 points per game average with Cristina Ciocan second at 12.4 ppg. Petra Ujhelyi paces the team on the boards with 10.2 rebounds per game and is also contributing 10.9 points per game.

Penn surpassed the 1,500-point plateau Sunday against Alcorn State and became only the fourth USC woman to ever score 1,500+ points, grab 500+ rebounds and make 200+ steals. The exclusive group she joins includes Sheila Foster, Shannon Johnson and Martha Parker. Penn also finds herself four steals shy of overtaking Rita Johnson’s career record of 298 steals and becoming USC’s all-time steals leader. She has never been held without a point or a rebound in any of her 98 games played. The Naismith nominee now has 1,520 points, 648 rebounds and 295 steals in her career.

South Carolina State comes into the game at 3-4 and hasn’t played since a December 20th loss to Georgia Southern. Nicole Rhem leads the team with an average of 12.7 points per game while Adeanah Pierce paces the rebounding at 6.0 boards per game.

The two teams share two common opponents; Georgia Southern and Middle Tennessee State. USC defeated both teams while SCSU lost contests against the two schools.

USC leads the series by a 17-9 margin and enjoys a 12-5 advantage at home. The teams last met on December 22, 1999, as the Gamecocks defeated the Bulldogs, 100-55, in the Carolina Coliseum.