Jan. 14, 2004
Back at home for the first time since December 18th, the South Carolina Gamecocks look forward to a little “Colonial Center Chaos” Thursday night against the fifth-ranked Tennessee Lady Volunteers. The game will tip at 7:00 p.m. All fans can purchase $1 tickets from the USC Ticket Office, through TicketMaster or at the Colonial Center box office.
USC is riding an 11-game winning streak at the Colonial Center and has not lost at home since a February 6, 2003 defeat at the hands of LSU.
After stringing together eighth consecutive victories at the beginning of the season, South Carolina (8-5, 0-1) is in a four-game losing streak with road losses against North Carolina, Seton Hall, Minnesota and Alabama. USC is also in search of its first SEC win of the season after a disappointing loss Sunday to the Crimson Tide.
The SEC’s second-highest scoring attack is led by four Gamecocks averaging in double figures. Seniors Cristina Ciocan and Kelly Morrone lead the team with averages of 15.5 and 13.2 points per game, respectively. Freshman Iva Sliskovic is third at 13.1 with post partner, sophomore Olga Gritsaeva, fourth at 10.1. Sliskovic paces the team’s rebounding efforts with 7.4 boards per game while Gritsaeva is second with 6.8 rebounds. Named as one of the 31 seniors finalists for the Senior CLASS Award Monday, Cristina Ciocan is only 18 assists away becoming the alltime career leader in assists at South Carolina.
Tennessee enters Thursday’s game with an 12-1 mark and a 2-0 record in the SEC. The UT opened the 2004 SEC season with a home victory over Arkansas on Thursday, January 8th (83-44) and last Sunday’s victory at Mississippi State, 61-53. The Lady Vols , winners of their last five contests after a December 28th loss against Texas, 70-60, boast a 6-1 advantage over top 25 teams this season
The Lady Volunteers are led by junior Shyra Ely’s 13.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Sophomore Shanna Zolman is contributing 12.4 points per game to round out the UT players in double figures.
Tennessee enjoys a 29-1 series record against South Carolina with the only Gamecock win coming on January 23, 1980, when USC defeated UT, 56-52, in the Carolina Coliseum.
USC and UT series record differ as USC does not count games played in 1972, 1973, and 1974 when the USC basketball team was a club team and not sanctioned as a South Carolina Athletics Department varsity sport.
Last year, the Gamecocks set the Colonial Center basketball attendance record when 17,712 fans attended the USC-Clemson contest on November 22, 2002. That game also set the attendance record for a basketball game in the state of South Carolina, men or women. On Tennessee’s last visit to Columbia on January 17, 2002, 12,168 fans showed up to cheer on the Gamecocks against the Lady Vols to set a new attendance record in the Carolina Coliseum.