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Jan. 15, 2003

The #14/13 South Carolina Gamecocks look to get back on the winning side Thursday night as the team makes its second road trip of the season to play the #17/16 Vanderbilt Commodores. Game time is 8:00 p.m. Eastern time.

South Carolina is in the midst of 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 2-2 record against Top 25 teams this season after going 7-2 against ranked teams last year.

On Sunday, USC dropped its first conference game of the season at Arkansas, 68-57. Up by one point, 53-52, against 10th-ranked Arkansas with 5:00 left to play, South Carolina would only score five more points in the game while committing five fouls and three turnovers. Two Gamecocks reached double figures with Jocelyn Penn earning her sixth double-double of the season (19 points, 13 rebounds) and Koretha Johnson scoring a career-high 15 points.

Senior Jocelyn Penn leads the nation, the SEC and the Gamecocks in scoring with an average of 27.3 points per game. Penn captured her second SEC Player of the Week honor in a month on January 6th after the Naismith candidate set two new USC records. On January 4, Penn recorded 51 points against Stetson to set a new USC record for points scored. Her 51 points also tied the SEC record for most points in a game. She holds the only two 50-point games in the NCAA 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.

On December 31st, the Conyers, Georgia-native became South Carolina’s all-time leader in steals with her 299th career theft against South Carolina State. She is now tied for eighth alltime among SEC players with 309 steals and is only 41 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 11.5 points and first in assists with 7.3 per game while Petra Ujehlyi is third in scoring at 11.1 ppg. Ujhelyi leads the USC (and the SEC) in rebounding as the senior pulls down 9.5 rebounds per game.

Vanderbilt is led three players who average in double figures; Chantelle Anderson (17.6 ppg), Jenni Benningfield (15.4 ppg) and Ashley McElhiney (10.9 ppg). Benningfield leads the Commodores in rebounding with an average of 8.5 boards per game.