Nov. 22, 2004
South Carolina hosts Jacksonville at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Colonial Center.
Season Tickets Now Available
Season tickets for South Carolina women’s basketball are now available for only $40, making Gamecock women’s hoops one of the best values in town. Playing in the nation’s most difficult conference (three SEC teams are ranked 1-2-3 in this week’s polls), plus an intriguing non-conference slate that includes home games against Clemson, N.C. State and Charlotte make for an exciting season of women’s basketball.
Sophomore forward Iva Sliskovic has been cleared to play after sitting out last week’s exhibition game against Everyone’s Internet with a concussion.
The Gamecocks are 6-1 all-time in season openers under Susan Walvius, with the lone defeat a 69-58 setback at the hands of Indiana on Nov. 22, 2000. South Carolina claimed an 82-66 win over Appalachian State in last year’s home opener.
What’s Going Well
The amount of work South Carolina put in during the preseason on its full-court press has been apparent through the first two games, as the Gamecocks have forced the opposition into committing 43 turnovers (21.5 per game).
Sophomore captain and Spring Valley graduate Lauren Simms came into the season with high expectations after earning Freshman All-SEC recognition last year. She has not disappointed through the first two games, averaging a team-best 16.5 points per game.
Offensive rebounding has been a key factor for the Gamecocks, who have been led by Barnwell’s Melanie Johnson. As a team, Carolina is averaging 18.5 offensive rebounds per game, with Johnson grabbing 5.5 offensive boards per contest.
What Needs Some Work
South Carolina is off to an 0-2 start this year, due largely in part to the lack of production throughout the roster. In fact, when Lauren Simms’ 16.5 points per game are removed from the equation, the next three leading scorers on the team combine to average 15.5 points per game between them.
For as many offensive rebounds as the Gamecocks are grabbing this year, they are giving up even more, as USC’s first two opponents combined to average 19.5 offensive rebounds per game. In fact, the 39 combined offensive rebounds grabbed by Washington and UNLV in Carolina’s first two games are more than the two opponents were able to haul in on the defensive glass (36).
Some of South Carolina’s best offensive players have not produced in the early going, as Olga Gritsaeva (2.5 points per game on .250 shooting from three-point range), Lea Fabbri (3.5 points per game on 0-for-4 shooting from three-point range) and Iva Sliskovic (4.0 points per game with only five field goal attempts) all need to produce more for the team to start winning consistently.
Jacksonville is off to a 1-1 start, claiming a 61-52 win over Birmingham Southern in its last game. The Dolphins started the season with a 61-46 loss at Samford. Jacksonville has made up for bad shooting from the field (.322) and from three-point range (.273) with good offensive rebounding (16.0 per game) and good team free-throw shooting (.741).
Senior forward Yolisha Jackson came into the season with high expectations as the team’s two-time reigning MVP. She averages 15.0 points and 5.0 rebounds to go with her 2.5 steals per game through two games this year. She is accompanied by Rebecca Montz, who scored 17 points in the Dolphins’ win over Birmingham Southern and has drained 5-of-7 attempts from beyond the arc this year.