March 3, 2004
The South Carolina Gamecocks and the #20/16 Georgia Bulldogs meet Thursday night in the first round of the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament. Game time is 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time and the contest will be televised live on SEC-TV (Fox Sports South).
USC is seeded 12th while Georgia is the 5th seed after finishing in a three-way tie for fourth place. The two teams met in Columbia on Sunday, February 22nd with Georgia earning a 73-50 decision.
South Carolina’s scoring attack is led by its starting line-up with three of the five players contributing double figures. Kelly Morrone leads the way with 12.0 points per contest while Cristina Ciocan is second at 11.9. Iva Sliskovic is third with a per-game-points average of 10.9 and the freshman also leads the team on the backboards with 7.1 boards per game. Freshman Lauren Simms is fourth on the team with a 9.6 points per game average and was named to the All-SEC Freshman Team on Wednesday. The Gamecocks’ fifth starter, Olga Gritsaeva is contributing 8.9 points and 5.9 rebounds a contest but her status for tonight’s game will be a game-day decision after the sophomore suffered a sprained right shoulder Sunday against Vanderbilt.
After becoming South Carolina’s career assists leader on January 28th, Cristina Ciocan is now 12th in the all-time SEC records with 613 distributions. She became the 25th member of the South Carolina 1,000 Point Club with her first basket Sunday against Vanderbilt. Senior Kelly Morrone is 24 points shy of the 1,000 mark.
The Georgia scoring is led by three players in double figures. Christi Thomas’ 13.1 points and Sherill Baker’s 11.2 points per game averages led the way with Janese Hardrick third at 10.4. Thomas leads the team’s efforts on the boards with 8.3 rebounds a contest. Thomas and Hardrick were just named to the All-SEC Team with Christi Thomas earning first team honors and Janese Hardrick named to the second squad.
The winner of Thursday night’s game advances to Friday’s quarterfinals to face the fourth-seeded Florida Gators. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
Georgia leads the series record by a 22-4 advantage. The Bulldogs led the games held in neutral sites by a 2-1 advantage but the two teams have never faced each other in the SEC Tournament. Georgia captured the only 2004 contest back on February 22nd with a 73-50 decision. It was the first game for UGA without dismissed forward Kara Braxton.