Feb. 18, 2004
The University of South Carolina Gamecock women’s basketball team travels to Starkville, Mississippi, Thursday night to battle the Mississippi State Bulldogs in the Humphrey Coliseum. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. Central Time (8:00 p.m. Eastern Time). Fans can follow all the action on WISW Radio (1320 am) with Andy Demetra and Robin Muller providing the commentary.
South Carolina enters the game with a 10-13 mark and is 1-9 in the conference. Last Thursday, the Gamecocks defeated Alabama, 77-51, at home in the Colonial Center for the team’s first conference win of the season.
On Sunday, South Carolina let a four-point halftime lead at Auburn evaporate in the final 20 minutes as the 14th-ranked Tigers came from behind to defeat the Gamecocks, 69-58. Two USC players scored in double figures as Kelly Morrone led the team with 18 points while Cristina Ciocan contributed 12. Morrone sank five of her six three-point field goals in the first half before Auburn made a defensive adjustment to prohibit her from getting a clean shot away.
South Carolina’s scoring attack is led by its starting lineup with three of the five players contributing double figures. Cristina Ciocan leads the way with 12.9 points per contest while Morrone is second at 12.7. Iva Sliskovic is third with a per-game-points average of 11.3 and the freshman also leads the team on the backboards with 7.0 boards per game. The other two USC starters are within tenths-of-a-point of the double-figure window as Olga Gritsaeva is contributing 9.7 points per contest with Lauren Simms fifth on the team in scoring at 9.5. After becoming South Carolina’s career assists leader on January 28th, Cristina Ciocan is now 12th in the all-time SEC records with 608 distributions. She only needs 20 more points to reach the 1,000-point plateau while Kelly Morrone is 58 points shy of the 1,000 mark.
The Mississippi State Bulldogs enter tonight’s game with an 11-12 record overall and a 5-5 mark in the SEC. MSU has won six of its last eight basketball games and will try to extend that streak at home tonight against the Gamecocks.
On Sunday afternoon, Mississippi State captured a 54-41 road win at Kentucky. Guard Tiania Burns led the Bulldogs with 22 points while Mamie McKinney pulled down 10 boards. Tan White leads the Bulldogs with 18.5 points and 5.9 boards a contest while Tiania Burns is second in scoring with 15.2 points a game.
Mississippi State leads South Carolina in the all-time series by a 9-6 mark. The Gamecocks are 1-6 in contests played in Starkville as the team snagged its only win in the Humphrey Coliseum on January 6, 2002.
Last season, USC defeated the Bulldogs, 83-79, in Columbia last January in the 2003 SEC opener. MSU turned the tables on the Gamecocks in the second round of the SEC Tournament when the Bulldogs captured a 79-75 victory to advance into the semi-finals.