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Nov. 15, 2004

Box Score

Seattle – The South Carolina women’s basketball team (0-2 overall) dropped a 66-63 setback to UNLV Monday night at the WBCA/BTI Classic played at Bank of America Arena in Seattle.

Gamecock junior guard Sarah Burgess had a good look at the rim with under five seconds remaining, but her shot rimmed out to seal the loss.

After leading for the majority of the first half behind a full-court press that was effective all game long, Carolina allowed the Rebels to come back and tie the score 32-32 at the half.

The Gamecocks raced out to a 21-11 lead to start the game, riding the stroke of sophomore captain Lauren Simms, who scored 12 points in the first 4:16. Simms finished with a team-high 21 points. However, USC cooled down as the half went on and was held to only two field goals during the final nine minutes of the half. During that span, the Rebels were able to erase the deficit.

The second half opened with the teams trading baskets for the first 10 minutes, but UNLV put together a 14-6 spurt to take a 58-49 lead with 5:34 remaining.

The Gamecocks rallied to cut the deficit to one at 64-63 after a Burgess steal and layup with 28 seconds remaining, but UNLV was able to seal the win when it got the ball into the hands of guard Sheena Moore, who USC fouled with 10 seconds remaining. Moore, who drained 12-of-13 free throws during the game, calmly stepped to the line to increase the Rebels’ lead to three points and set the stage for Burgess’ final attempt.

Free throws were a key all game long, as UNLV converted on 23-of-29 attempts, while South Carolina was 8-for-8.

“One of the things we stressed was being more aggressive,” South Carolina head coach Susan Walvius said. “We needed to take better advantage of our quickness inside and get to the line more, but that is something that did not happen.”

For the second consecutive game, Simms was the only Carolina player to finish in double figures, as she was just one point shy of matching her career high of 22 points.

“Lauren is going to have more 21 point games. She’s going to be more of a focal point for our offense,” said Walvius. “She certainly is a real bright spot for us.”

Melanie Johnson and Lakesha Tolliver were also bright spots in defeat, as Johnson finished with eight points, six rebounds (five of which were offensive), two blocks and two steals in only 13 minutes of action, while Tolliver had six points, four rebounds, three blocks and three steals in 16 minutes of action

The Gamecocks head home to host an exhibition game against Everyone’s Internet on Friday November 19 that is set to begin at 7:00 p.m.