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Jan. 17, 2004

The South Carolina Gamecocks welcome the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks to the Colonial Center Sunday as USC looks to capture its first SEC win of the season. Game time is 2:00 p.m. All children who present their report cards at the Colonial Center box office get in free. Capital One National Mascot of the Year Cocky will pose for photos and sign autographs on the Colonial Center concourse from 1:00 to 1:30 p.m. before the game.

After winning eight of nine games to start the season, South Carolina (8-6, 0-2) has fallen into a five-game slide over the last month and will try to reverse its fortunes at home against Arkansas.

Arkansas enters Sunday’s game after enjoying a rare Thursday night off in the SEC. The Razorbacks (12-3, 1-1) played at home last Sunday where they came from behind to defeat head coach Carol Ross’ Ole Miss Rebels, 67-61. Arkansas opened its 2004 SEC calendar on January 8th with an 83-44 loss at Tennessee.

The SEC’s second-leading offense, the Gamecock scoring attack is led by three players averaging in double figures. Senior Cristina Ciocan leads the team in scoring with an average of 14.9 points per game. Freshman Iva Sliskovic is second at 12.6 while senior Kelly Morrone is third with 12.4 points per contest. Lauren Simms and Olga Gritsaeva are tied for fourth place on the team as they both contribute 9.7 points per outing. Not only is she second in scoring in her freshman year, Sliskovic averages 7.3 rebounds per game to lead the team.

Arkansas is led by senior forward Shameka Christon who averages 21.9 points a game for the Lady ‘Backs and has been the team’s high scorer in 13 of the 15 games this season. When she is not hitting 41.9% of her field goal attempts, Christon pulls down an average of 8.1 rebounds to lead the Arkansas rebounding efforts.

Last season, the two teams split the home-and-away series as both squads captured the game on its home court. On January 12th, USC traveled to Fayetteville and suffered its first conference loss of the season, 67-58. On February 16th, the Gamecocks returned the favor by grabbing an 83-59 victory over the Razorbacks in the SEC-TV game of the week.

South Carolina owns a 4-3 advantage over the Razorbacks in contests held in Columbia but trails 4-12 in the overall series. Arkansas head coach Susie Gardner is in her first season with the Lady Razorbacks after five years at Austin Peay State. Named the OVC Coach of the Year in 2003, Gardner led Austin Peay to three OVC championships. A graduate of Georgia who played under head coach Andy Landers, Gardner went to two Final Fours and was a part of three Southeastern Conference championships at with the Dogs.