Feb. 7, 2004
The University of South Carolina Gamecocks look to break into the SEC win column Sunday in the unfriendly confines of Thompson-Boling Arena as USC travels to face the #1 Tennessee Lady Volunteers. Game time is set for 4:30 p.m.
The Gamecocks enter the game with a 9-11 record and an 0-7 mark in the SEC. Tennessee is 18-2 and undefeated in league play at 7-0. The Lady Vols sit in first place in the SEC standings while USC is 12th.
On Thursday night, South Carolina fell to Mississippi, 71-65. The Gamecocks rallied from 23 down in the first half to only a two-point deficit. USC had the chance to tie the game in the final minute but the Rebels held on for the win. Seniors Kelly Morrone and Cristina Ciocan led the team with 22 and 13 points, respectively. After becoming South Carolina’s career assists leader on January 28th, Ciocan is now 12th in the all-time SEC records with 601 distributions. She only needs 57 more points to reach the 1,000-point plateau. After connecting on seven of 12 three-pointers against Ole Miss, Morrone is 92 points shy of the 1,000 mark and has knocked down three or more three-point baskets in 32 games during her career.
South Carolina’s scoring attack is led by its starting lineup with all five averaging in double figures. Ciocan leads the way with 13.0 points per contest while Morrone is second at 12.9. Iva Sliskovic is third with a per game points average of 11.2 and the freshman also leads the team on the backboards with 7.1 boards per game. Olga Gritsaeva has scored in double digits in two of the last three contests and is averaging 10.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. The fifth Gamecock starter, freshman Lauren Simms, is fifth in scoring at 10 points a contest and has already recorded double-figure point production in nine 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 top-ranked Lady Vols faced UConn Thursday night in a nationally-televised contest but lost to the #4/3 Huskies at home, 81-67. Sophomore Shanna Zolman led the team with 14 points while Shyra Ely grabbed 14 boards in the loss. On the season, Ely averages 14.3 points while Zolman is second at 12.2. Ely also paces the team’s rebounding efforts at 8.1 boards a game.
For the first time since the Gamecocks joined the SEC in 1991, the two teams are on a home-and-away roation this season. On January 15th, the Lady Vols visited Columbia and left the capital city with an 86-58 victory over USC.
Tennessee enjoys a 30-1 lead in the 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.