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March 3, 2006

STARKVILLE, Miss. — The 24th-ranked South Carolina women’s tennis team opened SEC play Friday with a 6-1 win over No. 75 Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss. The Gamecocks moved to 7-2 on the year overall with the victory, while the Bulldogs fell to 2-6.

The Gamecocks dominated in doubles play, sweeping all three positions. First to win was the duo of Laura Ganzer and Megan McGavock at two by an 8-1 tally over Martina Banikova and Elna de Villiers. Miranda Gutierrez and Danielle Wiggins clinched the point for USC with an 8-2 victory against Renee Joseph and Daniela Juskova. The freshmen tandem of Gira Schofield and Natasa Vuckovic ousted Polina Kokoulina and Anastasia Kugakolova 8-2.

McGavock recorded the first win in singles for USC, downing Kokoulina in straight sets at the No. 5 slot 6-1, 6-1. Ganzer posted a 6-3, 6-3 decision over Juskova at three singles, and Vuckovic provided the clincher with a 6-4, 6-4 triumph at two singles against Joseph.

Other winners for the Garnet and Black included Wiggins, who dropped Banikova 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 at No. 3 singles, and junior Christyn Lucas, a 6-3, 6-2 winner over de Villiers at the No. 6 hole. It was Lucas’ first match of the 2005-06 season, as she has been hampered by injuries after posting back-to-back 20-win seasons as a freshman and sophomore.

Schofield, ranked 46th nationally, suffered a 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 setback at the top position versus Kugakolova.

South Carolina continues SEC competition in the Magnolia State when it faces No. 32 Mississippi in Oxford on Sunday at 2 p.m. EST.

#24 South Carolina (7-2, 1-0 SEC) def. #75 Mississippi State (2-6, 0-1 SEC)

1. Anastasia Kugakolova, MSU, def. #46 Gira Schofield, USC, 6-1, 3-6, 6-1
2. Natasa Vuckovic, USC, def. Renee Joseph, MSU, 6-4, 6-4
3. Danielle Wiggins, USC, def. Martina Banikova, MSU, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3
4. Laura Ganzer, USC, def. Daniela Juskova, MSU, 6-3, 6-3
5. Megan McGavock, USC, def. Polina Kokoulina, MSU, 6-1, 6-1
6. Christyn Lucas, USC, def. Elna de Villiers, MSU, 6-3, 6-2

Order of finish: 5, 4, 2, 3, 1, 6

1. Schofield/Vuckovic, USC, def. Kokoulina/Kugakolova, MSU, 8-2
2. Ganzer/McGavock, USC, def. Banikova/de Villiers, MSU, 8-1
3. Gutierrez/Wiggins, USC, def. Joseph/Juskova, MSU, 8-2

Order of finish: 2, 3, 1