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Jan. 11, 2003

Fresh off an exciting 18-point comeback victory in its SEC opener Thursday night against Mississippi State, the 13th-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks make its first conference road trip of the season to Fayetteville Sunday to face No. 10 Arkansas. Game time is 3:00 p.m. ET.

South Carolina (13-1, 1-0) just tipped off a murderous January SEC schedule in which all of the team’s next five opponents participated in the NCAA Tournament last year and three of the five currently ranked. USC holds a 2-1 record against Top 25 teams this season after going 7-2 against ranked teams last year.

On Thursday night’s contest against Mississippi State, USC rallied from 16 points down with 16:43 left in the game to record its third consecutive SEC opening day victory, 83-79. All five starters finished in double figures with two players earning double-doubles. The nation’s leading scorer, Jocelyn Penn, led the way with 24 points while Petra Ujhleyi secured her SEC-high seventh double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 boards. Point guard Cristina Ciocan contributed her third double-assist night of the year with 10 dishes and 14 points.

Senior Jocelyn Penn leads the Gamecock scoring with an average of 27.9 points per game. Penn captured her second SEC Player of the Week honor in a month last Monday after the Naismith candidate set two new USC records last week. On Saturday, Penn recorded 51 points against Stetson to set a new USC record for points scored. Her 51 points also tied the SEC record from 1977 for most points in a game. She holds the only two 50-point games since SW Missouri State’s Jackie Stiles accomplished the feat on March 3, 2001. Penn won her first SEC Player of the Week award less than a month ago (December 9th) after scoring 50 points against Wofford.

Earlier in the week, the Conyers, Georgia-native became South Carolina’s all-time leader in steals with her 299th career theft against South Carolina State. She now ranks 11th alltime among SEC players with 306 steals and is only 44 behind the leader, Niesa Johnson of Alabama (350).

The Gamecocks feature two other players averaging in double figures as Cristina Ciocan is second in scoring with 11.7 points and first in assists with 7.5 per game while Petra Ujehlyi is third in scoring at 11.5 ppg. Ujhelyi leads the USC (and the SEC) in rebounding as the senior pulls down 10 rebounds per game.

Arkansas is led two players who average in double figures; India Lewis (15.4), Shameka Christon (15.3) and Dana Cherry (10.1). Christon paces the Razorback rebounding with 7.6 boards per game.