Feb. 11, 2004
The University of South Carolina Gamecocks look to even the score Thursday night against the Alabama Crimson Tide after losing in Tuscaloosa on January 11th on the opening day of the 2004 SEC season. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. Thursday night has been declared “Can the Crimson Tide Night as all fans who make a canned food donation to the Harvest Hope Food Banks, located at the Colonial Center entrance, will get in for $2.00.
USC enters the game with a 9-12 mark and is 0-8 in the conference. The Crimson Tide are 11-11 and 3-6 in the SEC. Alabama is in 10th place in the SEC standings while USC is ranked 12th.
On Sunday, South Carolina lost to then-number-one Tennessee in Knoxville, 72-58. After ending the first half down by only eight points, 38-30, South Carolina started off the second half on a 12-2 run to tie the score at 42-all with 16:50 remaining to play. Triggered by LaTonya Davis’ three consecutive steals that led to three straight baskets, Tennessee took over the game with a 16-0 run and captured a 72-58 victory. Senior Cristina Ciocan and freshman Lauren Simms paced the USC scoring with 13 points apiece.
After becoming South Carolina’s career assists leader on January 28th, Ciocan is now 12th in the all-time SEC records with 602 distributions. She only needs 44 more points to reach the 1,000-point plateau. After connecting on seven of 12 three-pointers against Ole Miss, Kelly Morrone is 87 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 four players averaging in double figures. Ciocan leads the way with 13.0 points per contest while Morrone is second at 12.5. Iva Sliskovic is third with a per game points average of 11.1 and the freshman also leads the team on the backboards with 7.0 boards per game. Fellow freshman Lauren Simms is fourth on the team in scoring at 10.1 points per game and has recorded double-digit point production in 10 games this year. Simms and Gritsaeva share the honor of being the only freshmen in the SEC who have started every single game this season. Olga Gritsaeva is fifth in scoring and just one-tenth of a point away from being the fifth starter in double-figures with a 9.9 points per game average.
The Alabama Crimson Tide defeated Vanderbilt at home Sunday, 81-68, for its third conference win of the season. In addition to the win over Vandy and South Carolina, the Crimson Tide also defeated Ole Miss at home in January. Alabama is led by two players who average in double figures; Monique Bivins at 14.0 and Navonda Moore at 10.9. Dee Merriweather leads the team’s rebounding with 7.2 boards per game.
Alabama leads the all-time series record by a 13-6 margin. Prior to the January 11th USC loss in Tuscaloosa, South Carolina had captured the last three games between the two schools. In games held in Columbia, Alabama leads by a five to three games margin.