Feb. 4, 2004
The University of South Carolina Gamecocks look to break into the SEC win column Thursday night as the Ole Miss Rebels make their first appearance at the Colonial Center. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. All South Carolina campers who wear their tee shirt receive a free ticket at the Colonial Center Box Office.
The University of Mississippi Rebels enter Thursday night’s contest with a 13-8 overall mark and a 4-3 record in the SEC. Mississippi is currently in seventh place in the conference while South Carolina is 12th with a 9-10 record and winless in six SEC attempts.
After starting the season with eight wins in nine outings, USC suffered an eight-game losing streak before righting the ship last Wednesday at the College of Charleston, 84-61. On Sunday, the Gamecocks and LSU traded leads five times before the Tigers exploded on a 23-10 run in the final seven minutes to ice the game away, 82-62.
After becoming the school’s career assist leader last week at the College of Charleston, senior Cristina Ciocan continues to build on her record and climb the all-time SEC distribution list. Entering tonight’s game with 600 dishes, Ciocan is currently 12th on the conference career list and only needs 40 more to move into the top 10.
In addition, Ciocan needs only 70 more points to become the 25th member of the South Carolina 1,000 Point Club. Scoring 696 points through her first three years, the senior has now totalled 234 points this season for a total of 930 during her career.
South Carolina’s scoring attack is led by its starting lineup that features four players averaging in double figures. Ciocan leads the way with 13.0 points per contest. Kelly Morrone is second at 12.4 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 11.7 and the freshman also leads the team on the backboards with 7.3 boards per game. Olga Gritsaeva has scored in double digits in her last two contests and is averaging 10.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. The fifth Gamecock starter, freshman Lauren Simms, is fifth in scoring at 9.9 points a contest and has already recorded double-figure point production in eight games this season. Simms and Gritsaeva share the honor of being the only freshmen in the SEC who have started every single game this season.
The Rebels defeated Kentucky, 90-88, in a double-overtime thriller in Oxford Sunday afternoon. The two-overtime game was the second of the season for the Rebels as Ole Miss also defeated Georgia on January 22nd, 90-79, in a contest that also went 10 extra minutes. Mississippi is led by freshman guard Armintie Price who is averaging 14.2 points and 9.8 rebounds a game.
The Rebels are under the leadership of first-year head coach Carol Ross who returned to her alma mater last March after 12 seasons at Florida. Ross’ staff includes associate head coach Peggie Gillom and assistant coach Renee Ladner, who both were teammates of Carol Ross at Ole Miss during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Assistant coach Joyce McGilberry was recruited to Auburn by Ross, then an assistant coach under Joe Ciampi, and served as the co-captain on AU’s 1988-89 SEC championship team that advanced to the NCAA finals.
When looking at the series record, Mississippi leads by a 10-8 mark but South Carolina has won five of the seven games played in Columbia. Since taking over the USC program in April of 1997, head coach Susan Walvius has taken six of the eight games between the two schools with a perfect 3-0 mark at home.