Nov. 27, 2004
Columbia, S.C. – Everything came together for the South Carolina women’s basketball team as it rolled to a 79-54 victory over Jacksonville Saturday at the Colonial Center.
With the win, the Gamecocks moved to 1-2 overall; while the Dolphins dipped to 1-2 overall.
South Carolina established the tone from the beginning, using its full-court press to force turnover after turnover that resulted in easy basket after easy basket. The Gamecocks took a commanding 49-24 lead into the half, with a good distribution of points from several different players. Dreher HS product Lakesha Tolliver led the way with eight points at the half, most of which came on put-backs. She also set a new career-high rebounding total by halftime with seven. She finished with 10. Ilona Burgrova matched her in the first half with eight points of her own. Stacy Booker added six first-half points.
The win was a team effort in its purest, as every USC player scored, and the players who did not start combined to score 44 points.
Booker paced the Gamecocks with 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the game. Simms and Burgrova joined Booker in double figures, netting 10 points apiece. On the boards, Tolliver finished with a team-high 10 rebounds.
When Jacksonville was able to get shots off, most were contested. The Dolphins converted on only 9-of-28 field goals in the first half. The Gamecocks held Jacksonville to 30.5 percent shooting for the game and registered 10 blocks as a team. Tolliver also paced USC in that category with three.
Carolina shot 47.7 percent from the field and posted 18 assists in tonight’s contest. Tolliver and Lea Fabbri led the Gamecocks with four apiece.
Game Notes ,,h Saturday’s win marked the Gamecocks’ fourth consecutive win in a home opener. ,,h Saturday’s win snapped an eight-game losing streak that extended back into last season. ,,h Saturday’s win improved the Gamecocks’ record to 17-0 all-time against teams from the Atlantic Sun Conference. ,,h The Gamecocks blocked 10 shots Saturday. USC’s single-game season-high last year was six against Seton Hall. ,,h Lauren Simms finished with 10 points. She has scored in double-figures every game this year. ,,h USC knocked down three three-point attempts in the contest. The Gamecocks have now drained a three in 92 straight games, dating back to November of 2001. ,,h The Gamecocks finished with 79 points as a team. This is the team’s highest output since scoring 77 against Alabama on Feb. 12, 2004. ,,h The 52 rebounds by Carolina is the most by a team in the Colonial Center for a women’s basketball game.
Key Career Highs Achieved ,,h Shannel Harris set a new career high with five points. ,,h Lauren Simms set a new career high with eight rebounds. ,,h Melanie Johnson set a new career high with nine points. ,,h Ilona Burgrova set a new career high with 10 points ,,h Lakesha Tolliver set new career highs with nine points and 10 rebounds.
The Gamecocks return to action at 7 p.m. Tuesday when they host Charlotte at the Colonial Center. Current USC assistant coach Ed Baldwin served as the 49ers’ head coach for 13 years. The game will be aired live on WISW 1320 AM with Andy Demetra handling play-by-play and Robin Muller providing analysis. The live broadcast can be accessed worldwide via the internet at www.uscsports.com.
Postgame Quotes Head coach Susan Walvius
Opening comments Probably the best first half that I’ve seen our team play in a long time. I’m real excited to see that and we saw our running game. I’m real proud of our team with balanced scoring and balanced minutes. I’m really pleased with our overall effort. I want us to be known as a really good rebounding team and those kind of teams win games.
On her team’s balanced scoring effort:
I know they are capable of that. I like our size. It will be something hard for teams to match up with. I look for us to do well rebounding. Our team is very young and we need people to step up. Stacy Booker stepped up. You saw the potential for Melanie Johnson and she doesn’t do anything fast. She will continue to learn and will continue to improve. I’m real pleased with the overall team effort.
Rebounding is a key emphasis. I think we can still improve. Its real early in the season so we have a lot of time to improve. We need to play two halves and keep being a strong team like we have in the first half.
On her team’s press:
It was effective as well. The press has been good. It can always get better and we have done a good job in our recovery and I look for that to continue but we need to improve.
I just wanted to get the opportunity to play. It felt great to be back out there.
I’m back 100%. I’m well capable of playing like that and I just want to help out my teammates.
On the team’s balanced scoring: It was real good and balanced scoring. Everyone contributed and that’s the way you got to play game in and game out. If you are open you have to take the shot and hopefully it will be back.