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Dec. 17, 2003

Game Notes in PDF Format
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South Carolina returns home Thursday night for the first time in three weeks to face the Ragin’ Cajuns of Louisiana-Lafayette. Tip-off time is 7:00 p.m. at the Colonial Center. All fans who bring a new, unwrapped toy for the Toys for Tots Toys Drive receive $2 tickets at the Colonial Center box office.

USC is 7-1 on the season and is riding a seven-winning streak after dropping the season opener at Clemson in overtime. This is the last home game of the 2003 calendar year for USC as the team will not return home to the Colonial Center until the Thursday, January 15th SEC contest against Tennessee.

This is third meeting in three years for the two schools with South Carolina capturing the last two in Columbia. South Carolina and LA-Lafayette will both participate in the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach over the weekend as the Ragin’ Cajuns will play Coastal Carolina at noon on Saturday with the Gamecock-North Carolina contest to follow at 3:00 p.m.

The Gamecock scoring is led by four players in double figures; Cristina Ciocan at 18.4, Kelly Morrone’s 15.0, Iva Sliskovic with 14.5 and Olga Gritsaeva at 13.5. Gritsaeva paces the team’s rebounding efforts with 9.3 boards per contest. South Carolina has used the same starting lineup in the first eight games with two freshmen, Iva Sliskovic and Lauren Simms, contributing heavily to the seven-game winning streak. Sliskovic has recorded three double-doubles in her first eight games at South Carolina.

The Gamecocks sit atop the SEC’s assists category with a conference-high 24.25 per game. The USC passes are leading to points on the scoreboard as South Carolina paces the SEC in scoring with an average of 88 points per contest. The team averages over eight three-point field goals per contest to lead the SEC. Individually, Sliskovic leads the SEC in field goal percentage after connecting on 72.1% of her field goal opportunites. Ciocan is the SEC leader in assists with 10.57 per game while Kelly Morrone tops the conference with 3.38 three-pointers per game.

Louisiana-Lafayette holds a 3-4 record after heart-breaking road loss at Savannah State Tuesday night, 49-45. Anna Petrakova led the Cajuns with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Ashley Blanche scored 10 points, while Tiffany Washington added eight points and 13 rebounds.

In overtime, the Cajuns committed a turnover on three of their first four possessions. A steal and lay-up by Savannah State’s Jennifer Mathis gave the Tigers a 45-43 lead with 2:44 to play. Following a lay-up by the Tigers’ Tiffany Stephens, Tiffany Washington scored the only basket for the Cajuns in overtime to pull the visitors within 47-45 with 22.2 seconds to play.

After Mathis hit one free throw with 21.1 seconds on the clock, Sharee Glenn missed a game-tying three-pointer. Mathis hit another free throw with 6.3 seconds left to propel Savannah State to a 49-45 lead.The Cajuns could not get off another shot.

The Cajuns shot 25.4 percent, including a dismal 3-of-26 from three-point range. UL Lafayette lost 22 turnovers, five of which came in overtime, as the Cajuns scored just two points in the extra session.

Louisiana-Lafayette is led by center Anna Petrakova was named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week Monday after averaging 26 points and 14 rebounds in the Cajuns’ two contests last week. The 6-3 junior leads the Ragin’ Cajun scoring with 15.9 points and 11.1 rebounds per contest.