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Feb. 26, 2003

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It’s “Senior Night” and for Linda H?glund, Jocelyn Penn and Petra Ujhelyi, Thursday night’s contest against Kentucky marks their last game ever in the Carolina Center. Game time is 7:00 p.m. and all adults purchasing a regular ticket will receive their children’s tickets for free.

Through the 15 regular season games so far at the new home for Gamecock basketball, the three seniors have helped lead the team to a 13-2 home record and the team will look to close the home finale on a positive note.

South Carolina and Kentucky both come into the game on two-game winning streaks. USC enters tonight’s game after an exciting last second home victory over Auburn Sunday, 65-64 and last Sunday’s win over #13 Arkansas. Kentucky defeated Alabama on the road in double overtime, 73-71, Sunday, to record their second straight SEC victory.

Both teams need a win to Thursday night to better their SEC Tournament seeding. The Gamecocks are currently in sixth place with a 7-5 mark but only one game out of fourth. Mississippi State and Vanderbilt are tied for fourth place with 8-4 records. With two Gamecock wins and a loss by MSU and Vanderbilt, there would be a three-way tie for fourth place with USC owning tie-breaker advantages over both squads. Kentucky is ninth in the SEC at 4-8 but could move up to seventh or eighth with two wins and losses by Arkansas and Auburn.

The Gamecocks have three players averaging in double figures with Naismith candidate Jocelyn Penn leading the way with an average of 24.5 points per contest. Penn is second in the SEC and fifth in the country in scoring, after leading both for the first half of the season. Junior Cristina Ciocan is second on the team at 12.7 points per game and leads the team in assists. Ciocan is only 20 dishes away from breaking her season high of 185 assists last year as a sophomore, which was the third highest total in USC history. The Gamecock record for assists during a season is 219, which was set by Mindy Ballou in the 1983-84 season.Senior Petra Ujhelyi is third on the team in scoring at 11.3 points per game and leads the team, and the SEC, in rebounding at 9.5 boards per game.

The Wildcats are led by four players in double figures; Rita Adams (14.2), Sara Potts (12.2), SeSe Helm (10.6) and Jenny Pfeiffer (10.3). Helm paces the ‘Cats rebounding efforts with 6.6 boards per game.

South Carolina (19-6, 7-5) defeated the Wildcats (11-13, 4-8) at Lexington, 49-46, on Feburary 2nd in the first of the two annual meetings. Last year, USC swept Kentucky in the home-and-away series for the first time in school history.