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Feb. 12, 2003

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Suffering its first loss ever at the Carolina Center on January 19th at the hands of the Georgia Lady Bulldogs, the 15th-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks look to return the favor Thursday night on Georgia’s home court, Stegeman Coliseum. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m.

The #14 Georgia Lady Bulldogs are undefeated at home this season with nine consecutive victories and have won 10 of the last 11 games, including six SEC games. The Bulldogs lead the SEC in blocked shots and are second in scoring, free throw percentage and steals. Last season, USC swept the two-game series with UGA with victories in Columbia and Athens.

South Carolina enters the game with a 17-5 record and a 5-4 mark in the SEC. Last week, USC defeated Alabama, 49-46, in Tuscaloosa (Sunday) and missed a three-point attempt against #4 LSU that would have sent the game into overtime last Thursday night (69-66).

Thursday night’s game pits two preseason Naismith candidates on opposing sides for the second time this season; Jocelyn Penn and Kara Braxton. In the first game on January 19th, Penn scored 23 points, pulled down four rebounds, made four steals and passed two assists while Braxton recorded 12 points, seven boards, two steals and one block.

USC’s Jocelyn Penn is tied for fourth in the country with an average of 24.8 points per game and leads the SEC and the Gamecocks in scoring. The senior from Conyers, Georgia, has already broken two USC school records, with a third Gamecock record (points in a season) within her radar. Penn has already tied one SEC record (points in a game) and is also closing in on another as she is only 22 steals away from breaking Niesa Johnson’s SEC record of 350 career steals. On Sunday, Penn broke into the Top 10 USC all-time rebounding category with her 737th board. Penn is in fifth place on the all-time Gamecock scoring list with 1,769 points with 23 points separating her from moving into the fourth spot (Schonna Banner – 1,791 points).

UGA’s sophomore Kara Braxton also leads her Georgia team in scoring with an average of 15.8 points per game. The sophomore is second on the team in rebounding (6.9) and blocked shots (2.1). Junior Christi Thomas is second in scoring (15.6) and is first in the SEC in blocks (2.15).

South Carolina junior Cristina Ciocan is second on the team in scoring at 11.9 points per contest and is second in the SEC with 6.64 assists per game. Ciocan has now recorded four double-figure assist games this season and a total of eight in her career. Senior Petra Ujhelyi paces the SEC and team’s rebounding efforts with 9.3 boards per contest and is third in scoring (11.0 ppg). Last Thursday, Ujheyli recorded her eighth double-double of the season with her 24 points and 10 boards versus LSU. On Sunday, Ujhelyi tied her career high of 15 rebounds at Alabama. Ujhelyi and Penn are tied with Vanderbilt’s Jenni Benningfield for the conference lead in double-double performances this season (8).