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Nov. 29, 2004

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South Carolina continues a tough stretch of its schedule as it hosts Charlotte at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Colonial Center. Tuesday’s game marks the second in a span of three games in six days for the Gamecocks, who beat Jacksonville, 79-54 Saturday, then come back to host Clemson this coming Friday at 7 p.m.

The game will be broadcast live on 1320 AM Columbia, with Andy Demetra handling play-by-play and Robin Muller providing analysis. For listeners outside of Columbia, the live broadcast will also be aired worldwide via the internet on the official web site of South Carolina athletics,

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.

To access the internet broadcast, go to, then click the “Audio/Video” link at the top of the screen. Follow the prompts from there to select the game you want to listen to.

Susan Walvius is in her eighth year at the helm of the South Carolina women’s basketball program and her 15th year overall as a head coach. Prior to USC, she coached at Virginia Commonwealth and West Virginia. The 2002 SEC Coach of the Year led the Gamecocks to consecutive top-20 national finishes and NCAA tournament appearances in 2002 and 2003. Her 2002 squad advanced to the Elite Eight. Katie Meier is in her fourth year as head coach at Charlotte, where she has compiled a 41-22 overall record. She led the 49ers to the WNIT last year after earning an NCAA berth the year before.

South Carolina assistant Ed Baldwin was Meier’s predecessor at Charlotte, as he served as head coach for 13 years prior to Meier’s arrival, becoming the winningest coach in Charlotte history with a 175-191 career mark. Freshman guard Whitney Hoey is the lone Palmetto State native on the Charlotte roster, as she comes from Cowpens, S.C., where she prepped at Broome County HS.

Sophomore guard Lea Fabbri is probable after sustaining a mild high ankle sprain on her right leg in the second half of the Gamecocks’ win over Jacksonville last Saturday.

Following Tuesday’s game against Charlotte, the Gamecocks return home to face Clemson at 7 p.m. Friday at the Colonial Center. All tickets for that game cost only one dollar. Dollar night has been a huge hit with the fans in recent years, with 8,118 fans in attendance for last year’s dollar night game against Tennessee and a record 17,712 in attendance for the last dollar night game against Clemson in 2002.

• Mark South Carolina’s ninth consecutive win over Charlotte. The last time the Gamecocks lost to the 49ers was a 73-60 decision in 1995. In fact the average margin of victory for Carolina in the last eight meetings between the two teams is 14.3 points. • Improve the Gamecocks’ record to 15-4 all-time against the 49ers. • Improve Carolina’s record to 9-1 against Charlotte in games played in Columbia, with the lone loss a 69-52 defeat in 1992. • Improve the Gamecocks’ record to 108-25 against teams from Conference USA. • Be the first blemish on the 49ers’ record, as the team enters Tuesday with a perfect 4-0 mark, with wins over North Carolina A&T, Wichita State, Davidson and Western Kentucky. The average margin of victory for the 49ers entering Tuesday is a resounding +20.5 points per game.

• Move the Gamecocks to 14-5 all-time against the 49ers. • Snap an eight-game South Carolina winning streak over Charlotte that dates back to a 73-60 Charlotte win in 1995. • Move Charlotte to a perfect 5-0 on the year, with previous wins coming over North Carolina A&T, Wichita State, Davidson and Western Kentucky.

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 60 turnovers (20.0 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 three games, reaching double-figures every game and averaging a team-best 14.3 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 an impressive 20.0 offensive rebounds per game, with Johnson grabbing 4.3 offensive boards per contest. Freshman Lakesha Tolliver has not put up eye-popping numbers, but her contribution to the team has been clear through the first three games. She is averaging 5.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, with a team-best eight blocks.

South Carolina addressed one of its problems last game, with every player on the roster scoring against Jacksonville. That kind of effort is something the Gamecocks need to continue, as Lauren Simms averages 14.3 points per game, but no other player averages more than 7.5 points per game. Free throw shooting has been a bit of an adventure for the Gamecocks through the first three games, as the team is shooting .633 from the line. Some of South Carolina’s best offensive players have not produced in the early going, as Olga Gritsaeva (4.0 points per game on .300 shooting from three-point range), Lea Fabbri (3.0 points per game on .222 shooting from the field) and Iva Sliskovic (5.0 points per game with only 10 field goal attempts) all need to produce more for the team to start winning consistently. ┢┢