Nov. 30, 2004
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina sophomore guard and Spring Valley HS graduate Lauren Simms turned in the best scoring performance of her career Tuesday against Charlotte, but it was the 49ers who came out with a 78-72 victory. Simms finished with 29 points, surpassing her previous career-best output of 22 points scored against Tennessee last year.
With the win, Charlotte remained perfect at 5-0 on the year, while South Carolina dipped to 1-3.
Charlotte controlled the first-half action, going into the locker room with a 47-37 lead at halftime. The lead swelled to as many as 13 points in the second half. However, the Gamecocks mounted a furious rally behind Simms, cutting the lead down to four at 60-56 midway through the second half. However, the 49ers were able to answer with an 11-4 run of their own to open the lead back up to 71-60 with 5:54 remaining. The Gamecocks rallied again, cutting the lead to 74-70 with under a minute remaining. However, a Pam Brown score coupled with a Monica League free throw opened the lead back up to 77-70 with 25 seconds left to put the game out of reach.
The game was played at a fast pace, with both teams getting up and down the floor. Turnovers were an issue for USC in the first half, as the Gamecocks turned the ball over 11 times in the first 20 minutes, allowing Charlotte to cash in with easy baskets and establish a lead. In fact, Carolina turnovers and Charlotte offensive rebounds led to 49ers attempting 13 more shots than USC in the first half.
South Carolina found success shooting the ball from three-point range in the first half, knocking down five of eight attempts. That success did not continue into the second half, as the Gamecocks finished the game by knocking down 5-of-16 from three-point range.
The Gamecocks return to action at 7 p.m. Friday when they host Clemson at the Colonial Center. Admission for all fans is one dollar. Dollar night has been a huge hit with USC fans in recent years, with 8,118 fans in attendance against Tennessee last year and a record 17,712 on hand against Clemson two years ago.
Game Notes — South Carolina entered TuesdayÂ¡Â¦s game with a 14-0 record in non-conference games played in the Colonial Center. Going back to the days in the Carolina Coliseum, USC had won 24 consecutive non-conference games. The last Gamecock loss in a non-conference home game came in 2000, when North Carolina State claimed a 55-48 win at the Carolina Coliseum.
— Lakesha Tolliver set a new career high with five blocked shots, a mark that also established a new Colonial Center record, surpassing the four blocks made last game by teammate Melanie Johnson.
— Melanie Johnson established new career highs with 11 points and 11 rebounds Tuesday. Her effort marked the first double-double for any Gamecock player this year and was the first since Iva Sliskovic scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds against Alabama on Feb. 12, 2004.
— Tuesday’s game snapped an eight-game winning streak for South Carolina over Charlotte, with the last 49ers win over the Gamecocks coming in 1995.
— South Carolina used its fourth different starting lineup in as many games, as Stacy Booker, Lauren Simms, Iva Sliskovic, Lakesha Tolliver and Olga Gritsaeva started in Tuesday’s game.
— Lauren Simms set a new career high with 29 points. The sophomore captain and local product from Spring Valley HS has scored in double figures every game this year.
— Lea Fabbri established a career high in assists before halftime. Entering the game, Fabbri’s career high assist total was three. She finished with five.
— For the second consecutive game, Shannel Harris set a new career high in points. She scored six points Tuesday.
— South Carolina drained five three-pointers in the first half Tuesday, matching their season-best total for any game this year.