Jan. 30, 2004
The University of South Carolina women’s basketball team gets back to the SEC schedule Sunday with a 3:00 p.m. (ET) road game against the 15th-ranked LSU Tigers. On Wednesday night, USC broke out of its eight-game losing streak with an 84-61 victory at the College of Charleston.
Senior Cristina Ciocan became the school’s career leader in assists Wednesday with her 596th distribution, surpassing Mindy Ballou’s record of 595 assists from 1983-1986. Ciocan accomplished the feat in 106 contests as opposed to Ballou’s 115 games played. She is now 12th on the SEC all-time list and needs 42 more to break into the conference’s top ten.
South Carolina’s scoring attack is led by the starting lineup with all five players averaging in double figures. Ciocan leads the way with 13.2 points per contest. Kelly Morrone is second at 12.5 and has knocked down at least three three-pointers in 31 games during her career. Iva Sliskovic is third with a per game points average of 11.9 and the freshman also leads the team on the backboards with 7.4 boards per game. After suffering from a stress fracture during the months of December and January, Olga Gritsaeva is back in double digits with her 10.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Freshman Lauren Simms is fifth in scoring with 10.1 points a contest. Simms and Gritsaeva share the honor of being rare freshmen who have started the entire season for South Carolina.
After enjoying a week off, LSU returns to the court Sunday with a 16-3 record and a 4-1 mark in the SEC. The Tigers were enjoying a 15-game winning streak until last Sunday’s upset loss at the hands of Georgia, 80-74. Last year’s SEC Freshman of the Year, Seimone Augustus is leading the Tigers in scoring with an average of 17.7 points per game. Doneeka Hodges, whose 1,289 points rank her 12th on the list of LSU’s all-time scorers, is second at 15.4 while point guard Temeka Johnson is third at 12.1 points per game. Augustus also paces the Tiger efforts on the boards with 6.3 rebounds a contest. Augustus is third in the SEC in scoring while Hodges is ranked seventh. Johnson leads the SEC in assists with 7.74 per game USC’s Cristina Ciocan is second at 7.41.
South Carolina has weathered a long drought against LSU with the last win over the Tigers coming in the first round of the SEC Tournament in head coach Susan Walvius’ first season (February 26, 1998). LSU leads the overall series by a 12-3 advantage. In games held in the Maravich Center, the Tigers hold a 6-1 lead with the lone USC win coming on January 2, 1993.